According to Wikipedia, a loft can be an upper storey or attic in a building, directly under the roof. An upper room or story in a building, mainly in a barn, directly under the roof, used either for storage (as in most private houses), for a specific purpose, e.g. an "organ loft" in a church, or to sleep in (sleeping loft).
But in India, we have an altogether different concept and purpose for the loft. It is more or less used to dump unwanted, discarded things rather than for living or sleeping as the definition goes. When ever a family moves to a house or apartment, first thing they look for is number of lofts. There was a time when every house used to have a separate room called store room with several shelves to accommodate all the unwanted things like packing boxes, trunks, broken furniture and beddings. Now the concept of a store room has vanished however big the house may be. Study room, computer room or treadmill space for health freaks has taken over this space. So where do we keep the not so useful items? Naturally lofts comes handy to our rescue.
In majority of the houses junks like broken plastic bucket, wooden logs, rickety iron chair, gardening or repair tools are stored on lofts with intent that they may come handy some other time. With the shortage of space, gardening is ruled out and those garden tools remain antique. Box containing rusted nails, screw, nut bolts, electrical wires, outdated switches and even fused bulbs finds a place on the lofts. I know many senior citizens who have accumulated many trash items like old marriage cards, bills, notices, hand bills etc and never allow any one even to touch them. That ‘some day’ to make use of those items,never comes. Either people forget things kept on the loft or purchase new items without bothering to search the loft. These junks are removed only when the house is under demolition or getting sold to some one!
The other advantage of loft is that they are never cleared or cleaned. Mosquitoes, rats, cockroaches, spiders and lizards enjoy the ambiance at the loft and make their permanent settlement there. I remember, in olden times all the houses in town (Northern India) used to be white washed during Deepavali festival but with the spiraling cost of labour and materials, this practice has taken a back seat. So, there is no way for the loft to get a face lift! Modern gurus and specialists emphasize that old unused items in house emit ‘negative energy’ therefore all such items should be reviewed periodically to be cleared and disposed of to enable the positive energy to flow inside the house and make people feel good. What ever it be, next time when you are dusting your house, just peep inside the loft also.