'There was a Big Bed in the center room of the large Anglo British style house in the city of Rawalpindi where I spent nine years of my childhood.
('Now that reads like the beginning of a story...great so far)
Everyone called it 'Barra Palang' Palang means bed in the Urdu language and 'barra means 'big' so it was, but no one called the 'room' a bedroom' I am not sure of the reason but I think because it was right in the center of the house. It had five doors in its four walls.One door opened into what was known as 'the lamba kamra'. Now 'lamba' means 'long and 'kamra' is 'room'
The story is becoming interesting as I am thinking about it.
Credit goes to this new Saga otherwise perhaps this unique 'barra palang' story would have remained untold and the 'palang' gone 'extinct...
The room was quite big too and so the bed fitted in nicely.I don't remember any carpet on the floor perhaps there was, I think, what we call a'darri' a small woven multi colored covering for the floor most popularly made in the city of Gujrat on our side of the Punjab Province. By our side I mean the Pakistani part of the Punjab province, the other side is known as East Punjab and is in India though some members of a different community claim it as their land. Well, we all claim lands and other objects all over the world but that should be another story.
'why this 'barra palang' was brought to this house initially was probably due to the following reasons a) joint family system prevailed, b) dire shortage of beds, c) fear of sleeping alone and d) a common, by necessity, sharing of sleeping spaces, (a time of large families)
This 'Barra Palang' had a wooden frame with cloth- strip-weaving done across the length and breadth to make the base to lie on.This special rough four inch wide and half inch thick cloth was called 'nawaar'.When it would get dirty and dusty it would be unwound washed and weaved up between the frame again.This was a full day work load and full of physical effort.Such work kept many family members busy and active, but this was 'no jumping ground for the kids' as they do on the'foam mattresses of today'.
The size was slightly more than six feet in length and breadth, I am not sure but in simple words it was 'spacious'.
It was a 'story haven' as Aunty Nilofar (my father's sister) would be the central figure and as many as six kids would be on the bed with her, listening to her continuous stories songs jokes and poetry, many quotes from our Poet of the East Dr Allama Iqbal.
Sweet loving and lifetime memories linger and bring much laughter joy and enjoyable recounts of the happy family childhood days.