The Telegraph
Sunday , November 11 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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A global feel

What do you think a chess champion’s house should look like? Well, obviously it has to spill over with awards, citations and photographs shot at tournaments the world over. Right?

Not so if you are stepping into Arjuna awardee and hugely feted chess player, Tania Sachdev’s south Delhi home.

The mandatory chess set is right there — occupying prime place in Tania’s bedroom — while the house exudes quiet sophistication. Italian marble flooring, art collected by the family from across the globe, silk drapes, some ethnic Indian touches meshed with a modern look make the house bright and welcoming. Of course a small corner is dedicated to photographs of Tania being felicitated and medals she’s picked up over the years.

Tania confesses to a soft spot for figurines and art pieces and these fill the four-bedroom apartment in her Hauz Khas Enclave home. The family occupies the second floor as they sold the ground floor and have rented the first floor. With her elder sister married and older brother settled in Singapore, Tania lives with her parents, grandmother and (not to forget), Tofu, a giant, black Labrador.

“My parents and I are art lovers and we usually pick up art on our overseas travels,” says Tania. The champion is usually on the move five to six times a year depending on the chess tournaments she’s playing.

You enter through the spacious living area. To the right are the kitchen and the dining room. Tania and her parents’ bedrooms are also tucked away to the right of the living room while a small guest bedroom faces the kitchen.

The living room reflects the aesthetic sensibilities of Tania’s parents — her mother, Anju and father, Pammi Sachdev, who deals in modular furniture for corporate houses.

As you make yourself comfortable on the muted couch, which is brightened with silk cushions in vibrant pink and emerald green, you are confronted by a Satish Gupta painting. On another wall is Tania’s favourite painting which depicts a woman — her gown kissing the floor — lying half asleep on a couch. “This painting must be some 20 to 23 years old,” says Tania. “I’ve grown up seeing it,” she says.

On another wall is a canvas that Anju bought in Florence, Italy. “It’s a painting done by Salvatore, a local artist. We just loved the colours,” she says. Anju runs an NGO called Ishwar, which provides non-formal education to underprivileged children and vocational training to underprivileged girls. She also owns a small fashion boutique.

The dining table is spectacularly innovative. A traditional Rajasthani–style door from Jodhpur — complete with a kunda or bolt — has been topped with glass, fixed on a wooden frame and converted into a table for eight.The chairs have been given crimson upholstery.

Anju recalls: “We spotted this door in an antique warehouse in Jodhpur. We had it polished, fitted over a teak base and finished with a glass tabletop.”

The apartment’s high point is the lounge. The Sachdevs have bypassed marble flooring and given this room a wooden floor and ceiling instead. A comfortable L-shaped, brick-red settee enhances its appeal.

Says Anju: “The idea was to create a space where the family could watch television or just sit around. Since Tania and I travel abroad frequently, we pick up curios from every corner of the world for this area.”

A small bar is set to the right of the lounge’s entrance and an unusual clock hangs from the ceiling by its side. The timepiece — Tania bought it in Biel, Switzerland — looks like a miniature car tyre with a dial resembling a car’s speedometer and hands like the meter’s needles.

Completing the picture are colourful, traditional masks that Tania picked up from Pompeii in Italy and her prized possessions, a pair of paintings that she bought in a small village in Spain.

With winter at hand, the family is delighted that they can use their terrace once again. A gazebo — where they can relax on lazy winter mornings — is surrounded by lots of green plants.

“The terrace is where we hold everything from birthday parties to New Year bashes,” says Anju. “We just love our house and every corner holds unforgettable memories and occupies a special place in our hearts!” she adds.