I was in India recently and did some travelling in the south. We spent a lot of time in the car, crossing the Western Ghats twice, on different routes. I was surprised by the beauty of the tea plantations, like vast green quilts covering the hills. And I loved the bustle of Kochi, famous for its ancient system of Chinese fishing nets, although, sadly, I never saw anyone actually catch a fish.
So not many chairs to report on. And yet … You can hardly see the chair in the main picture but I like its resilience and sense of purpose – totally suited to helping the sitter enjoy a breakfast of ghee dosa, vada, and chutney. In fact, the chair well represented the ethic of this particular hotel, up in the mountains near Munnar. It wasn’t frilly or fancy but was busy and efficient with friendly staff – a good sign!
I took the second photo (different location) because I found the chairs so utterly repulsive! They were uncomfortable as well. I suppose the idea was to make use of tree stumps (probably trees they’d chopped down to build the hotel), but the way they are joined on to ‘normal’ chair parts and then varnished with gloss is totally unsympathetic to the setting. They are too big, too heavy, and very impractical.
I much preferred the ‘chairs’ I found in a museum in Stockholm, back in 2014. They don’t look terribly comfortable either, but I love the way the chair follows the form of the wood. They are natural and movable and unique. I imagine they were crafted with care and affection, in a spirit of discovery.
Lastly some chair fabric found in a hotel where we stopped for lunch on the road. The chairs were pretty smart, too, in a modern style of pale wood with a light wash over them. But I didn’t take a photo of the actual chairs, probably so as not to embarrass my offspring. The pattern, colour, and texture of the fabric are unusual for India.
By the way, in this restaurant I made another of my Indian food-ordering errors. Everyone else had curry and biryani but I felt like something simple and non-spicy so I ordered a veggie burger with fries. I was utterly disappointed to get a few fries and a bread bun with salad poking out – but nothing else! The restaurant manager did concede that as a chicken burger is a chicken patty, then a veggie burger should be a vegetable patty. The others shared their lunch with me once they’d stopped laughing.