All posts by Ancy Abraham

Worked as Magazine and Educational Books Editor, Developed industrial websites, brochures and profiles. Writes about lifestyle topics related to health, food, shopping, etc. Presently writing for lifestyletodaynews.com. Many other life-changing projects are in the pipeline, keep reading, Enjoy!

If Jesus Christ were a blogger

Have you ever seen any picture of Jesus Christ in writing posture? No, you won’t. Because he never wrote anything. But the largest number of books, in the world, is written about the works of Jesus and his sayings. He never wrote, yet some of his stories and parables are used even today for motivational talks. The phrases he coined have become part and parcel of many languages.

Why Jesus Christ never wrote is because he was always surrounded by thousands of people and out of them many were writers. They made note of all the works and sayings of Christ. It is said that hundreds of books were written by eyewitnesses who followed Jesus. Out of that, in the Bible, there are four books about the works of Jesus written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Matthew and John were among the twelve disciples of Jesus. Luke, a physician, followed Jesus everywhere. And Mark wrote the eyewitness account as told by the favourite disciple of Jesus, Peter.

Every writer’s dream is that their work continues to live for ages. The words of Jesus reverberates even today.

Bloggers can learn a few lessons about how to blog from the way Jesus communicated and connected with the multitude.

He is a storyteller

Jesus uses many stories and parables to make the multitude understand the messages that he gives them. He tells them the story of the Good Samaritan, to teach the people that they must love their enemies. He tells the story of the master who gives talents to his three servants. Whereby he explains that the people must utilize all the resources that God has given them. These stories are nowadays used for motivational training.

He uses the right platforms for his sermons

At the time of Jesus Ministry, there were no sound systems. His audience belonged to every class of the society from beggars to Royalties. His listeners followed him in multitudes, to listen to his teachings. So he chose his platforms where his sound could be heard to the thousands that followed him.

It might sound exaggerating, but it is a fact that five to seven thousand people including women and children followed him everywhere. There are two stories in the Bible, of miracles, where he feeds five and seven thousand people who came to listen to him.

It is said about the famous sermon on the mount that, “Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down………….and He began to teach them,……….”(St Matthew 5:2,3). Those who have visited Israel say that the mountain has a good echo system. Whatever Jesus said reverberated on the mountains and reached the multitudes sitting far away from him.

Another time he sat on a boat and talked to the people standing beside of the Lake. “Jesus got into the boat belonging to Simon and asked him to put out a little from shore. And sitting down, He taught the people from the boat.” (St. Luke 5:3) Again, here the water of the lake reverberates what Jesus says.

On other occasions, he spoke at the synagogues.  Every time his teachings touched the hearts of multitudes of listeners.

He had multitude of followers

A dream of every blogger is to have thousands of followers on facebook, twitter,  google plus and Instagram. Jesus was followed by thousands wherever he went.

He spoke with authority

You can speak or write with authority when you have mastery over the subject. At the age of twelve, Jesus was asking questions to the teachers and priests in the temple. And they were marvelled at his understanding of the scriptures. When his parents came searching for him in the temple he told them that he was in his father’s (heavenly father) home.

He always spoke with authority sometimes to the discomfort of the authorities and the religious heads. But whatever he said he had open supporters like his disciples and secret supporter like Joseph of Arimathea.

His words created ripple effects

He never wrote a  word. And whatever he said was written long after the ministry of Jesus Christ on Earth. Whatever he said was spread by word of mouth.

In the multitude of listeners, there were spies making a note of every word he said. There were teachers and religious heads waiting for a chance to trap him with questions. He had a good mixture of listeners and critiques around him.

From the public, he got instant reactions for whatever he did or said. The public was always aware of his itinerary.  One day Jesus decided to enter the temple of Jerusalem. When the people came to know they spread his path with their robes, held palm leaves in their hand and shouted Hosanna.

When Jesus entered the temple he saw it was turned into a marketplace. He drove all the merchants out with a chord used to driving out animals, saying “It is written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’, But, you have made it a den of robbers!”

He said and did things what often others thought, but they never dared to express. Readers expect the bloggers, they follow, to write things that the reader often thinks but is unable to express. He expects the blogger to express  ideas with boldness, clarity and authority.

Paint your homes with Royale Atmos to purify indoor air from hazardous Formaldehyde

During a seminar, about Cancer in the modern world, an eminent oncologist said that smoke from the chimney caused more cancer than from cigarette smoking. His views were based on a study conducted in China in which it was found that non-smoking women had more cancer than men who smoked.

Indoor air may be more polluted than outdoor air

Sometimes there are things indoors which are more health hazardous than in the outer environment.

Another interesting factor, during the seminar, was when a woman asked the doctor if she was right is keeping the windows of her home closed for years. Since the traffic pollution is increasing she feared that air in her home will get polluted leading to health problems.

Doctor asked her to open all the windows so that fresh air circulates in the home. Keeping the windows closed won’t prevent hazardous elements coming inside the house. There are many other reasons for getting health problems.

One of the reasons for indoor air pollution is Formaldehyde which can even cause cancer.

Sources of Formaldehyde

There are more than two dozen sources of Formaldehyde at homes. Some of the indoor sources of Formaldehyde are:

  • Air fresheners
  • Essential oils
  • Cleaning products containing terpenes
  • Paper towels
  • Cigarettes and e-cigarettes
  • Combustion byproducts from water heaters and stoves
  • Vehicle exhaust
  • Clothes treated with formaldehyde
  • Polyester, cotton blend, or permanent press bedsheets.

Why paint with Royale Atmos?

Royale Atmos reminds me of the seminar because the paint is said to reduce the level of formaldehyde inside the homes. The pain is a solution to reduce indoor pollution.

How does Royale Atmos clean the air?

Royale Atmos paint breaks down the harmful Formaldehyde into harmless molecules and thus purifies the air. This is an entirely new concept in India. We haven’t known about the presence or the harmful nature of formaldehyde in our indoor environment.

Qualities of Royale Atmos

Reduces Formaldehyde by 85%

In surveys, Formaldehyde has been found to be one of the reasons for Cancer. Hence the paint will as a defender of the health of family members from the harmful effects of Formaldehyde. Royale Atmos reduces Formaldehyde by 85%.

Purifies the indoor air #CleanAirBeautifulHomes

Royale Atmos is not just the fighter against Formaldehyde, it is much more than that. It purifies the indoor air.

Environment-friendly product

It is an environment-friendly product, hence there is no fear about using the paint in this age of fragile environmental conditions.

Tested and proven product

The paint has been tested at the state-of-the-art labs of the Asian Paints.  Royale Atmos was also painted and tested in the houses of consumers in order to ensure that the product delivers the utmost result to the users.

In a way, I feel that this tested and approved paint will help to purify the air indoors. Whereby preventing the nonsmokers from suffering from diseases that happen because of no fault of theirs.

Is Medication for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) child necessary? (ADHD Part -I)

Do you know ADHD occurs in about 5% to 7% children? If a child behaves a little different from others, then teachers recommend them to be taken to the psychiatric counsellors. The counsellor might diagonise the disorder as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

There are many concerns among parents: Whether we should take the child for a counselling section? If the counsellor says that the child has to take medicine, then do we really have to follow the advice? Is Medication for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) child necessary? Will there be any side-effects of the medication? Will the child be branded as mentally unfit, if he goes for the counselling sections?

I had a discussion with Dr. Varghese Punnoose, an MD in Psychiarty regarding ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and its medication. He discussed every aspect of the disorder from the symptoms to the medication and the misunderstandings. Dr. Punnoose is specilaised in Child Psychiatry.  He is currently  Professor and Head of Department at Government Medical College, Kottayam, Kerala. 

Read on to know more about Medication for children with ADHD………..

When do you prescribe medicine for children with ADHD?

In moderate to severe ADHD, we give the option of medication to the parents. Medications are not prescribed on the first day that the child comes to us. The medication is suggested only after two or three sitting. After a complete assessment, if the child needs medication, the parents have to take the decision. The child is a minor by legal terms and they cannot take a decision on their own. And we do not force our decision. We give a recommendation of medication as an evidence-based scientific option. Medications available in India are mainly two types – Methylphenidate, a stimulant group of medication and Atomoxetine.

What are the concerns parents have regarding the medications?

Many a times parents are apprehensive about the medicines that the doctor prescribes for hyperactivity. They are doubtful that the medicines are sedatives which will damage the child’s brain or make him dull and sleepy. Or the child may develop some addiction or dependence on medication.

These are much-distorted facts which are being propagated partly from ignorance and partly from some vested interest.

These are much-distorted facts which are being propagated partly from ignorance and partly from some vested interest. These medicines are specifically developed by scientific authorities with evidence for their efficacy as well as safety. They are used all over the world. Methylphenidate is available in the last thirty/forty years. Atomoxetine is available for the past 10-15 years.

Is there any benefit of the medication?

They will not cure ADHD, but they will correct some of the symptoms of ADHD. 70% of the children will improve attention span. The child will be able to hold attention for a long time.  They can bring down hyperactivity not by sedating but by bringing down the extra overactivity. The brain gets a better control of motor activity.

Most of the side effects are not serious, that is why these medicines are approved for paediatric treatment.

There is no sedation or tranquillizing. The brain gets more ability to control the impulses. So the attention span improves that translates to improvement in academic functions. Hyperactivity and impulsivity in reduced. That translates to improvement in behaviour. 60%-70% children get benefitted from medication.

Will the medications cause any side effects?

Of course, they produce side-effects. But no major side effects like brain damage or addiction. Most of the side effects are not serious, that is why they are approved for paediatric treatment.

Government is very strict about approving medicines for paediatric cases. These two molecules have passed all the tests, and they are time-tested.

Loss of sleep

Medication for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) childThe possible adverse effects that we come across are if we give methylphenidate as a night time dose. The medicine will interfere with sleep. Usually, they are given as daytime dose – one in the morning or one in the afternoon.

Loss of appetite

Medication for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) childThe second problem is that they may produce loss of appetite and weight loss. In some children, it may produce anorexia, loss of appetite. But again it is for a limited period. After a few weeks, they will get out of it.

Growth retardation

Medication for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) childThere were apprehensions that use of Methylphenidate could result in growth retardation. But long-term follow-up studies have not demonstrated any significant growth retardation in children on Methylphenidate. However, height monitoring is recommended.

What is the consequence if the medication is withdrawn?

If at all the parents are worried, then there is no problem in withdrawing the medicines or discontinuing the treatment. Very rarely some children may develop liver dysfunction or some other issues for which the children are carefully monitored. But practically we do not come across such issues.

How long to continue medication?

There is no clear-cut answer because we cannot prescribe the medicines are not like a course of antibiotics for the infection. This is a system dysfunction which varies from child to child.

Initially, the children are monitored weekly, then monthly, then once in three months, once in six months. And if the attention span in improving and ADHD score is coming down and the child is able to manage without medication, then the child may not require medication.

If you discontinue, the only thing is that some advantage that you would get from the medication.

In most of the cases, children are diagnosed with ADHD when they are in fourth standard, fifth standard or sixth standard. And they may continue medication up to ninth, tenth or eleventh also. That varies from person to person. There is no worsening.

Sometimes parents are apprehensive that if they stop the medication then thinks will become worse. Nothing like that happens. Only thing is that some advantage that you would get from the medication will not be there if you discontinue.

Why there are some apprehensions regarding the medications?

There are apprehensions about methylphenidate, the stimulant group of medications. Methylphenidate can be abused by adults that is why there is a lot of restriction on prescription. Only a qualified psychiatrist can prescribe this medication. Because of the restriction, parents are worried that this is a very dangerous component. The abuse potential in the paediatric case is nil. This has been used for the past three or four decades.

Atomoxetine does not have such restriction for the prescription. Deciding which medication to give for the child is a clinical decision. There are conditions where we prefer methylphenidate and there are conditions where we prefer atomoxetine.

Is it compulsory to take Medication for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) child?

We always tell the parents that medication is not the only thing; it is part of the whole package. The main emphasis is on educating the parents and teachers and encouraging the child. All are involved to improve the behaviour of the child. In moderate to severe cases medications are used so as to take away the biochemical block. If the medication is taken then the behavioural therapy becomes more effective. But if the parents are unwilling then they are not forced to take medications.

What about suicidal behaviour due to Medication?

Suicidal behaviour is not related to ADHD. Impulsive behaviour may lead on to impulsive self-injurious behaviour. However, there are no such reports in India. Whenever there is such reporting it will be put to stringent examination by authorities like The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), of the United States of America. And if at all there is the slightest suspicion of such kind of a problem they will immediately order to suspend/ban the product.

If at all there is the slightest suspicion of such kind of a problem authorities like FDI will immediately order to suspend/ban the product.

The first common cause of death in adolescence is accidents, the second is suicide. For an adolescent to commit suicide there can be a large number of factors.  If the child was on a medication when he committed suicide then that has to put for scientific scrutiny. None of the studies so far have shown such results, if in case there were any issues stringent measures would be taken. So far no instructions have come. In India, approval is there only for atomoxetine and Methylphenidate.

How long will the medicine remain the system after the medication is withdrawn?

It will be there in the blood for maximum two days. It is not going to be permanently deposited in the system.

Should medication continue in adulthood?

Almost 60 percent of the symptoms may continue. Whether medication is to be continued in adulthood is a very controversial topic. In our centre, we do not generally encourage medication for the adult. We leave it as an option for children and adolescents.

Why controversies regarding ADHD?

Controversies happen because of overdiagnosis of ADHD. From certain reviews, I find that overdiagnosis is done in certain provinces in the United States. From there the movement has come that children are being medicated unnecessarily. The overdiagnosis issue is not an issue in India. Here the issue in underdiagnosis.

Why there are advocacies against medications for ADHD?

There should be some advocacy to protect the right of the citizen. Children need protection. Advocacy is good because there will be checks and balances. The opposite result happens when deserving children, who should get the advantage of medication, are denied medication because of the stir.

Medication for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) childDr. Varghese Punnoose specilaised in Child Psychiatry. He is an MBBS and MD in Psychiatry from Government Medical College. He is currently  Professor and Head of Department at Government Medical College, Kottayam, Kerala.

He authored a book ‘Manorogangal’, in malayalam, about Pshycatric disorders. There is one chapter on ADHD also. 

READ MORE…

What is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)? (ADHD Part -II)

How ADHD is diagnosed?(ADHD Part -III)

What is the behavioural approach used in ADHD? (ADHD Part -IV)

This blind journalist guides those who can see with his wealth of knowledge

Swaminathan Rajappan Pillai, may be congenitally blind, but the moment he begins the conversation with his favorite word to break the ice – “Hello”, we will marvel at his depth of knowledge and brood at our own inner darkness. He is a post graduate from the prestigious London School of Economics and he is MA (History) gold medalist from Kerala University.  He is the winner of cash awards, medals, certificates, books and trophies from voluntary organizations and trade unions for getting first class in all public examinations.

He has traveled to more than two dozen countries and wherever he went people wrote about him in newspapers and magazines. What attracts people to him is his positive attitude to life, and his amazing usage of other faculties to compensate of for the one disability that he has. He achieved every dream like others – he is well educated, married, has a daughter, and has a lot of friends.  He is a blind journalist, which is a rarity in India. And above all, he is a motivator and counselor for friends, students, and colleagues.

We worked together in an Institute, where we worked as IELTS instructors. He is lovingly called as Swami Sir by everyone and his classes were always crowded. We were assigned the task to prepare possible questions and answers for the speaking and writing module of IELTS exam, which was to be published as a book. I used to create the possible questions and Swami Sir gave the answers. No matter what question I created from topics under the Sun, he immediately churned out answers from his wealth of knowledge stored in his mind. Swami sir does not carry any gadgets. Whatever knowledge he shares is extempore. The book that he helped in essaying, ten years back, sells even today like hot cake.

He has extraordinary insight about human abilities and fallacies. So he could help many people solve their family issues. He recommended the CEO of our institute to assign me with the editing task of the IELTS book. Neither I nor the CEO was aware of my book editing abilities. I am indebted to Swami Sir for being the beacon in my writing and editing career.

Here is an interview with Swami Sir who has guided many, those who can see, for a better future in their career and family life.

What do you do nowadays?

I am an academic and freelance journalist. I teach English to students of IELTS, TOEFL, PET, GRE, GMAT, SAT and general English at Centre for American Studies, Vazhuthacaud Trivandrum. I sent articles to various publications such as Daily News and Analysis in Delhi. Moreover, I broadcast on some American radio stations.
British and Indian media organizations have accepted and published all my articles with no change of even one word. Interviewing the then British Education Secretary David Blunkett for my first-ever radio program is a remarkable achievement in my journalistic career. My listeners of BBS RADIO, which is an online radio station based in California like my talk shows very much.

Many girls who had been with me during school and college days were very fond of me.

Tell us something about your childhood and education?

I am the eldest of my parents’ four children. I have a brother and two sisters. All of us are now married and settled.
I began my schooling at the age of eight because my parents were unaware of the existence of special schools for the blind in India. I joined a newly opened blind school at Varkala on July 15, 1968. I was the smallest child. I have never looked back since then. Even now, most blind children study at separate residential schools until they are ready for high school in India. I did that. The blind school at Varkala had no government recognition at that time. So, my parents moved me to a government blind school at Kottayam and I did my primary school there.
I had my high school and early university education up to my BA degree respectively at T.D. High School and S.D. College at Alleppey, which is my hometown. I had my first Master’s degree at the Kerala University Campus at Karyavattam Trivandrum. The rest of my education was in London after working in Lakshadweep as a college lecturer for nearly nine years.

Tell us something about your wife and daughter?

My wife Sunitha is a qualified medical doctor. We have only one daughter and her name is Devi. She is now studying medicine in Russia. She is going to be a fourth-year student.

blind journalist
Swami Sir at his niecies wedding

Where did you meet your wife?

I met my wife at the Alleppey Bus Stand on May 10, 1988. She is a native of Quilon. At that time, she was studying medicine at Alleppey Medical College. We were introduced by some common friends. Gradually, our friendship grew to romance and we got married on September 30, 1991.

Which all countries have you been so far?

I began my overseas journeys with England where I went to do my higher studies at the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science. I have been to 29 countries so far such as the UK, the US, Germany, France, Poland, Holland, Switzerland, the Middle-East, the West Indies, Russia etc.

Which country is the friendliest to people with different abilities?

Britain and the United States are very much friendly to people with special needs. Asia and Africa are far from friendly. In the Middle-East, they are not in the limelight of society.

Proclamation by ministers and officers are not scarce but many people with disability have a tough life in India.

What is the situation of differently abled people in India?

It is far from friendly in India. Proclamation by ministers and officers are not scarce but many people with disability have a tough life in India. With little or no assistance from the government and a society heedless of the plight of disabled people, their lot is cast in a world of darkness and solitude. They drag out their sterile existence in silent agony. For example, visually impaired people need scribes to appear for various public examinations including university examinations. Government remuneration for such scribes is very poor. People are unwilling to perform this role for such meager wages. Besides, there are several other restrictions such as the scribe should be a less qualified person than the examinee.

What all gadgets assist you in your activities?

In the past Braille was the only available tool for blind people. These days, computers and access technology have improved their lives significantly. I use computers and mobile phones. Android and Apple phones and similar devices are really good. I use them in my life. In the past, a very informed and knowledgeable blind individual could be at least a couple of years behind his/her sighted counterparts even in Britain and the United States. Now that online facilities are accessible thanks to modern technology, it is possible for us to work together comfortably.

I use my other faculties, i.e. my hands and ears. I am a keen observer of everything that happens around me.

Unlike other people with special needs you are a jolly person, you live your life to the fullest. You used to tell us about women in your life in schools, colleges, and family; can you share some of the stories here?

I do believe that men and women are complementary. To like gentlemen is what good women like. I have profound pleasure and pride in being a gentleman. For that reason, I have had several women in my life as friends, colleagues, advisers, well wishers,  and counselors. Many girls who had been with me during school and college days were very fond of me. I had similar feelings towards them as well. With some, the passion was inexplicably deep. However, as a person with a disability, I was unable to give them any promise until I was standing on my own feet. Some of them have not forgotten it.

People around you marvel at some of your extraordinary abilities, which even a normal human being does not possess – your roti and sabzi gets over together, for a normal person either the roti or the sabzi will be left in the end; you can touch and immediately say the model of the bike; and you know every denomination of currency, no one can fool you. What is the secret your success?

I use my other faculties, i.e. my hands and ears. I am a keen observer of everything that happens around me.

How are the new Indian currency notes different from the old ones?

They are less wide. They have some identifiable marks. However, Indian coins are more difficult than notes.

What message do you and your wife have people—able-bodied and disabled?

I would like society to become just and egalitarian. Equality before the law, the equal opportunity before the law and equal protection before the law are the cardinal principles of rule of law. These principles must be practiced everywhere so that the man in the street has room for liberty and justice.

Indian diet 50% short of high-quality Protein

After food shortage in India was resolved by the green revolution, nutrition experts in India found that the Indian diet was inadequate in the intake of good quality protein. According to experts, the diet should be balanced including carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Protein is an essential component for every stage of life.

During pregnancy, the vegetarian mother should take milk for high-quality protein. After birth, the requirement of protein is very high in 0-2 age group and Adolescence. In the old age, people consume less food and proportionately the consumption of protein is also reduced. During the old age, the amount of protein should not be lowered.

There is a misconception in India that protein is for body building only. Protein is required in every stage of human life. On the other hand, if you have a protein only diet and do not exercise then the protein will go out of the body with urine. You must have a balanced diet of high-quality protein, carbohydrates and fats.

For instance, you can have idli with sambar, rice with rajma and a glass of milk. All the three meals in a day and the two snack must include a high-quality protein food. Milk, poultry and meat are sources of high-quality protein which is digestible. Vegetables are less digestible compared to the nonvegetarian sources.

Nutrition experts say that cereals are a good source of protein, and the ideal ratio of consumption of cereals and proteins is 60:40. Too much or too little protein is not good for health. During the healing process of some diseases, protein is essential.

To maintain a healthy lifestyle we must follow the right ratio of protein, energy and exercise.high-quality protein

In order to increase the awareness of protein among the Indians and to clarify the misconceptions, Indian DIetetic Association (IDA), Delhi Chapter on 18th July declared 24th-30th July 2017 as ‘The Protein Week’. Dr B Sesikeran, renowned nutritional pathologist said,  “In India, there are many myths around the sources of protein, people are confused about their dietary protein intake and often assume that it is for body builders only, however, protein is a fundamental nutrient across life stages that helps in maintaining good health and active ageing.”

The initiative is supported by Protein Foods Nutrition Development Association of India (PFNDAI). Protein intake impacts every life stage. “Our vegetarian diets are already deficient in protein both in quantity and quality, so we need to supplement with protein which not only fills up the gap but is high quality enough to ensure our cereal and pulse-based protein quality would be elevated,” said Dr J S Pai, Executive Director, PFNDAI.

Speaking at first such initiative in the country, to spread awareness and discuss myths and realities of protein, Ms Anuj Agarwala, Nutritionist, Department of Pediatrics, AIIMS and Former President, IDA Delhi Chapter, said “It is important to begin early and focus on a protein rich diet right from the start, which should be continued through all the life stages of development and growth. Children particularly have high protein demand to propel their growth during growing years, as they grow in spurts. Demands for protein among children is particularly high during preteen and teen phases of growth spurts.”

During The Protein Week, IDA with PFNDAI, will hold educational seminars across the country to spread awareness and discuss myths and realities of protein.

Nadia writes about her experience of interview with Lifestyle Today News

Remember the smiling Nadia Clarke’s interview with Lifestyle Today News two months back. Nadia wrote a blog about her visit to Anchal. She narrates beautifully about how she felt about Being interviewed by me for Lifestyle Today News. You can also watch the video of the interview here. Given below is the quote from her blog.

I was interviewed by a lady and I cannot remember what I said as I panicked when she asked if my Dynavox could say ‘Namaste’ I tried but it could not pronounce the word.  Imagine it, lots of people watching, camera crews, children excited and my Dynavox won’t speak Hindi. How embarrassing!. Even though Sam Spelt it to me in sign language, I then typed it correctly but the lady who was interviewing me for Lifestyle Today  news did not recognise the word when she heard it. I panicked, and was swearing inside my head! I was on the Indian TV news! Argh!!! Luckily Sam saw the panic in my face and helped out, phew!!

Journey of a Traditional Kerala House from Kerala to Delhi

A 300-year-old traditional Kerala house, beautifully built with stones and wood was moved,1300 km from Kerala to Delhi. The house that belonged to a traditional agrarian family, was handed over from one generation to another to the youngest son of the family. And so the house finally was inherited by Oommen George, an Architect and Artist who now stays in the US. He had no plans to stay in his ancestral home.

What he wanted to be done with the house…..

When Mr. Oommen tried to sell the house, called Meda, in Mepral, Thirvulla, he realised that everyone was interested in the plot and the wooden antiques in the house which could be sold. None was interested in restoring and staying in the house. There was only one option before him which was to dismantle the house which was in a dilapidated state.

Traditional Kerala House

Who came to his rescue……….

His friend and Famous architect Pradeep Sachdeva came to his rescue at this moment. Well known for his projects like the Delhi Haat and the Garden of five senses. He is also the architect of offices and hotels like Taj.

How could Sachdeva dismantle the building unscathed?

What Sachdeva did next was to get the local traditional carpenter, Narayan Achari who knew about the wood works.  Commonly known as Achari, the Acharis are carpenters and they pass on their tradition from generation to generation. Narayan Achari and his local group of workers worked like professionals to systematically remove all the wood pieces of Meda and to number them and to pack them in groups.

What is unique about the traditional Kerala house?

Traditional Kerala House
Meda in 1900

Fifty years back in Kerala there used to be only a few pucca houses in a village, and the rest will be thatched huts. Hence the entire village had an emotional attachment to the palatial landmarks of their village. The arapura,  is the wooden room which is a granary, and has a granary box (pathayam) and ostensibly built at the entrance of the house with wooden carved door, gold platings and sophisticated locking system. The arapura was the storing place for the rice and other food items.

Why are Keralites emotional about traditional houses?

Every village has some kind of traditional stories related to the tharavad (ancestral home) and to the arapura of the tharavad. In my grandmother’s childhood home, a tradition is followed even now. The preparation for the temple celebration begins from that village ( know as kara) only after the karnavar (head of the family) of the tharavad opens the arapura and gives two bottles of coconut oil to the temple authorities. ‘Meda’, it is said was located above sea level, hence the villagers found shelter here during floods.

Traditional Kerala House

 

 

 

 

 

Role of an Acharis’ in the construction of a traditional Kerala house

The acharis, have got an important place in the Kerala architecture. They hand down their trade secret to the next generation. The role of an Achari is immense in traditional Kerala house construction. In olden days they were the consultant architects, engineers, carpenter and astrologer for any construction project.  Narayan Achari started mastering the skills at a very young age.

Features of a wooden room or Ara………….

Traditional Kerala house rooms of woods are known as Ara and Nira. Nira means panels. The walls, ceilings and the floors are made of wooden panels which are joined without nuts and bolts. The wooden panels are joined like jigsaw puzzles.Traditional Kerala House

Achari’s role in dismantling the house…….

Naryan Achari, dexterously removed the panels and packed them in groups so that when the package reached Gurugram, the panels could be easily unpacked and joined.

Did they use new materials in reconstruction in Gurugram?

Some of the wood was unusable, so Pradeep Sachedeva made a few new panels using similar wood in Gurugram. And only the wooden rooms of upstairs was brought to Delhi. Instead of the stones used for the ground floor walls, bricks were used in gurugram.

How long was the reconstruction……

Achari and his team were brought to Gurugram where the assembling and reconstruction were done within six weeks.

Traditional Kerala House

Traditional Kerala House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What were the additions made to the traditional building?

John Bowman, a British architect created a cast iron spiral steps to the upper floor. Initially, the staircase was of wood. In addition, a bathroom and a kitchen were constructed on the ground floor. In addition, electricity and plumbing were installed.

How is the house after eight years of shifting………..

Mr. Sachdeva says the house seems to belong to the place, and wood will be fine for a long time.

Is the upkeep of the wood structure difficult

He says maintenance of the structure is not difficult and the house is cleaned and kept well maintained.

How economical is it to shift a traditional house?

Mr. Sachdeva says that shifting the house is not a costly affair.

Traditional Kerala House

What is the house being used as in Gurugram?

Meda is being used as a weekend home by Mr. Sachdeva and it is also  used as  a guesthouse.

What do the guests say about the house?

They are absolutely thrilled!!!