Monday, June 2, 2014

Upholstering furniture through an interpreter

When we first moved to India in mid-2008 and eventually settled near Coonoor, in the Nilgiri mountain district of Tamil Nadu, later that year, we bought an inexpensive set of living-room furniture for our very humble apartment.  Several years and a couple moves later, the couch became very uncomfortable to sit on.  The life had gone out of the seat.

I speak very little Tamil.  My husband grew up speaking Tamil so does most of the communicating for us.  One of his favorite sources of information is our driver, Prabhu.  Each inquiry is an opportunity for Prabhu to deepen his network here in Coonoor, as well as lining his pockets I'm sure.  When Prabhu discovered that we were contemplating re-upholstering our living room furniture, of course he had just the person to do that for us.  The next thing I knew the arrangements had been made, and I was choosing new upholstery fabric.

Before I knew it, the upholsterer, his son-in-law and their sewing machine (pedal action) had taken over our balcony.  I was so mesmerized watching them work so skillfully.  Before I knew it, one chair was already upholstered.  I wanted skirts added, to cover the legs and make it look more dignified.  Before I knew it, I could see RUFFLES rolling out of the sewing machine!  Yikes!  No, no, no!  My idea of skirts on couches and chairs was flat with pleats at the corners, etc.  I looked it up on the internet and showed them.  By that time, it was too late.

The new and the old - amazing transformation

Having lost the battle for the skirt I wanted, I was shown the finished product.

I think they only envisioned the furniture lining the walls, so who needs skirting on the back?  Me.  So, they fixed that.

I think that they magically transformed our old furniture into much more lovely seating.  I have learned to forget the ruffles.  (The skirting on the back of the chairs and couch are flat.)

To make the recycling process complete, here's where the original upholstery ended up.  That's Prabhu.

No comments: