Sunday, July 17


It  is a privilege to travel to ones roots. I did it recently as I joint the celebrations of  ‘a Centenary Recollection 1911 – 2011’ of my  Great Grandfather’s family. It is mindboggling to comprehend the path that Great Grandfather’s family has journeyed across a century and to know how and where we have reached here today.  

As we celebrated the occasion, we decided  to conclave at the house that Great Grandfather  built. House is in a small quiet  hamlet called Cherukole  at Mavelikara in Kerala.  This grand home  was restored, renovated, and opened for all of us to spend some memorable moments.

This house was built on the concept of ‘Nalukettu’ (an ancient Kerala architecture where living  spaces were enriched with four-walled openings at the heart of the house). This style of building permitted all the elements of nature to trickle right into the core of daily living. Environment is absolutely fabulous in these homes.  Often, grass, pebbles, water, sunshine,  and lots of sky enriched the ground of the ‘Nalukettu’.

“I say that if men lived like men indeed, their houses would be temples – temples which we should hardly dare to injure, and in which it would make us holy to be permitted to live; and there must be a strange unthankfulness for all that          homes have given and parents taught, a strange consciousness that we have been unfaithful to our fathers’ honor, or that our own lives are not such as would make our dwelling sacred to our children, when each man would fain build to himself, and build for the little revolution of his own life only” 

(Quoted from the essay, 

‘The Lamp of Memory’ by John Ruskin)

Like every traditional family home, this home too has her wooden cellar.  My sister wanted to be photographed in the cellar. So we crept into the cellar and hurriedly clicked a shot.  

Every family has a family-crust.  It is important to cherish the values that have been natured in a family by crystalizing them together in a family-crust.
       Here too, the family-crust embodies what the family has stood for in the last 100 years : The dove represents peace, the Cross tells about the Christian heritage that the family share, the book symbolizes the importance that every family member gives to education and the letter ‘J’ is the initial of the for Great Grandfather’s name: ‘Jacob’.
In the foreground is a wooden-padded water wheel . This is an original ‘retired’ padded waterwheel. These padded waterwheels rotated for centuries and irrigated the paddy fields in Kerala. Water was lifted (pushed) from lower levels to higher levels by peddling these wheels manually day-in and  day-out. In the background is the wooden cellar.

One of the most amazing objects which was noticed in the house was the detailed accounts journal that my Great Grandfather maintained eighty years ago! He was a strict medical doctor with impeccable humane values.  He worked with the British and he kept all his records in straight order. He even wrote his WILL, sealed it safely, and mentioned about its whereabouts in his journal.  I have got lots to learn from my great ancestor.

Today, it is the fourth generation of my ancestor who are walking around and playing around this home! 
When it was time  to walk away, I found it very difficult 
to scribble my feelings on this small wall 
(which was retained as a part of the original structure).