basic, ancient home of my in-laws and the other is the modern house of
my brother-in-law. The contrasts couldn't be more pronounced.
The first is a rather basic farming home. Its toilet is outside the
house, the bathroom is accessed near to the family well, with a tin
for a door and a concrete tank for a water storage. There may be
rubber sheets laid to dry which gives off a pungent smell. There is an
abundance of wood and wooden construction. Over the years I have got
used to the smell. If you feel like going in the night, there's no
alternative but to hold on. Or, else, use very innovative methods for
your communion, er, with nature. The facilities are a bit antiquated.
But the house is beautifully situated and looks out to verdant green
fields, expanses of wide rice fields, trees and plants. The courtyard
is shaded by an evergreen jackfruit tree which makes it cool to rest
there even during the hot tropical days.
The other house, one belonging to my brother-in law has attached
bathrooms, modern plumbings, has glazed tiles, is a wonder of modern
construction. It has a courtyard strewn with sand and the show plants
and, flowering trees and conifer trees lend it an exotic air. I feel
most relaxed in this peaceful haven, which I termed as a sort of
heaven. It is situated near a town and all modern accessories of
modern life are available close by. Its recent addition is an
automated teller machine which makes it easy to withdraw money and
spend it. Spendthrift that I am.
Which one do I prefer? Do I like one better.
Both houses are studies in contrasts. One is the old traditional
"Tharavad". The other is the modern home, which is slowly grabbing the
landscape. I don't know which one I prefer. I love both homes. The old
is giving way to the new, the old order is changing, slowly, with the
demise of the old "achayans" and "karanavars" of Kerala.