Kariappa House is named after my parents.
My father, a coffee planter and army man from Coorg in South India and my mother Indu, a punjabi frontier woman from North west India, gave us a dream childhood.
Story telling evenings, before television arrived, are imprinted in my memory. Travel, a love for gardening, secular ideals and celebrations at the drop of a hat...these and much more were the fabric of life.
We moved to a different part of the country, to another army cantonment , every couple of years, which gave us children a wonderful experience and love, of the diversity of our country.
Holidays were spent alternately in each grandparents home. In Coorg amongst the coffee and rice plantations, a large joint family lived around a Balle Manne ..the Big House, a ceremonial House where all religious ceremonies and weddings were held. Around this were a maze of individual homes. As kids, we played hide n seek in the lanes, darting into open doorways to hide in a relatives home. Most homes were never locked, we wandered at will, ate at a relatives house and cajoled the older ones to tell us stories...mostly adventures and experiences they had lived through.
Kariappa house evolved through nostalgia. Underlying the design is the remembered fun of discovery, of the latest new house, or lane, archway, of small homes built as families grew, interconnected through arches, narrow lanes. The quirkiness of such meanderings, of discovering a semi hidden passage, a reading nook tucked away, is all part of Kariappa House.
In making Pondicherry our final family home, where my mother spent her last years, we find ourselves ...Kakoli, my sons and I, in a part of India , that is cosmopolitan, as well as steeped in Indian tradition.
Jyoti Cariappa Saikia