Kathalakandi kadhaigal starts….
Its been a year now since we moved to the piece of land that chose us to live on her… She has been a great nurturer to us every moment. WE had hunted for a piece of land to call home for more than 2 years and then she found us, yes what a joyful connection the Universe had planned for us.
The land had a 1 bedroom house on it in a not so good condition, a proof of wrong application of bookish knowledge with no thoughts to practical consequences 🙂 It was old building with flat roof with no proper drainage, leading to soaking wet walls and roof. Last one year my husband and I have learnt and spent a lot of money and time in fixing this house. We tried our best to make it livable and kid-friendly. There is a saying in Tamizh ” Veetai katti paaru, kalyanatha panni paaru nu”, I would probably add to it ” Ottai veetai ottu pottu paaru “:)
First time we entered the house, the kitchen made me puke, literally it was moldy and smelly. I cursed the education system which was churning out with quite a lot of engineers every year with no practical knowledge or life skill ( this list includes me too :)). This area which has heavy rainfall during monsoons needs a roof with proper drainage.
Heavy rainfall + Flat roof with pathetic drainage + wet moldy walls -> Scraping the walls and painting them, raising poles on the roof to install a Kerala style roof
When we moved into it with initial repairs, we still had our dreams of building a eco-friendly adobe house to call our home sometimes later. With every sunrise and every season we had new challenges and problems or call it learning opportunities, with every fix the house taught us important lessons.
The first floor now needed walls to be put asap to avoid further damage from rains -> panels fixed to act as walls (with windows and doors)
The balcony in the first floor needed rails to make it safe -> rails installed
Termites boring through wooden door frames -> injected neem oil periodically
Ants building ant hills within walls and electric sockets ->Rewired the whole house with electrical connections not inside but outside the wall to prevent short circuits. Concealed circuits were a bad idea.
SW monsoons still made the SW walls of the house damp and mold started -> had to put sloping roof for the ground floor all around the house and concrete around the house to stop water seeping into walls from the ground
Windows had to replaced due to mold issues.
Every challenge was quite draining until we saw it as an opportunity. To make that shift internally is not easy, but when done it makes one feel grateful and source of great learning and experimentation opens up . These experiences taught us how to work within what existed, how to adapt ourselves to the house, how to find something to be grateful even with the challenges and last but not the least that re-using an existing building is FAR more eco-friendly than building a new house.
We will now wait for the next monsoons to see how well our fixes fare. These pictures are old but still wanted to blog them for they are very special 🙂 The house and farm look a lot different now.
We spent the first year focusing on settling down in the house, observing the climate and connecting with our land more deeply. Working as per her guidance believing in the power of Universe. The place we live is called “Kathalakandi” and so the stories that I share from our experiences living here will be “Kathalakandi kadhaigal”… and here begins the sharing of stories and leanings