We set off to visit our extended family in Kottayam. The houses are either on the banks of the river and streams or in the middle of rubber plantations. These are not the traditional houses in Kerala; they have evolved with the times, but still retain some of the old world charm.
The houses situated on the banks of the river have an entrance leading from the waterbody to the house; as the preferred means of transportation in the yesteryear’s was a canoe like boat (vallam), before the pucca roads reached the doorsteps. Now there is a second entrance facing the road.
It is an adventure reaching the homes set in the middle of the rubber plantations. The long drives to these homes are exhilarating and picturesque. The private road leading to the house below is lined with young mahogany trees, planted to prevent the soil erosion during the rains.
The relatively new houses are closer to the main town. The house below has a vertical garden in the front, a new format now being used extensively especially in the balconies of apartments and work very well with space constraints.
Kerala is well-known for its non-resident population and most of these houses are occupied by ageing parents. The homes have a resident cat which eats the leftover bones, provide amusement and once in a while, may chase a mouse. These cats are not pets, rather they adopt a house to stay in.