Friday, August 16, 2013

Project Shantaram : Week 1

It was my grandfather's idea to build a home that's self sustainable and quaint. My father bought the land and built the initial house. What the rest of my grandfather's sons made out of it was a concrete and chaos nightmare that eventually collapsed into ruins after my grandmother expired. It has been literally abandoned and dilapidated for years now since nobody wants to spend on its repairs. 
I'm rebuilding this house into the place it was meant to be - a thoroughly self sustainable home that's in tune with nature.

When people are running further and further away to use man made materials and appliances for a better life, this project is an effort to show that actually using the best of whats at your own roots is what can work best - with a little assistance from science and modernity. Replacing concrete and iron and tiling with simpler materials, and solving problems like heat, water and food by re-designing eco available resources - this is just a small project to demonstrate in action what is truly and practically possible.

Location: Asurde, Chiplun, Ratnagiri - Maharastra - India.

This is my rough sketch of the proposed plan - the existing structure will be remodelled to consist of only 8 main concrete and iron pillars - rest everything will be cloth, wood, canvas, tarapaulin, wood, mud and rock - and other readily available materials.

This is what the lawn area looks like right now.

The mud was so soggy, the tempo we used to carry the materials over to the house on the first day, got stuck in the doorway for 3 hours. We had to truck it out of there.

Diego seemed confused with so much green around. He turned into a goat for a few days, chomping on grass and strolling around the greens for hours. He still prefers the indoors though. Funny dog.

That's the back yard. A total mess and a waste of space. The septic tank is outdated and lost beneath vegetation right now. Need to convert it into a bio-gas plant.

Some of the teak trees planted in the backyard have survived. Shall be useful soon.

The rail road tracks have finally been fenced. Lots of animals from the village were lost to the Konkan railway due to its open tracks.

The front view. The moss and plant covered roof tiles are rotten and soggy. The timber is collapsing. And the stupidly constructed doors have clearly not withstood the test of time.

Well, everything begins with a little cleaning up. Time to get down and dirty. After a basic clean up, we could assess the place better and see what needs to be repaired part by part. Got to make it partially liveable first.

Had to smoke the house and roof to rid it of insects and creepy crawlies hiding in it on day 1. Killed a scorpion and had a horde of creepie crawlies run out. Though smoking the house is a daily act now due to the enormous mosquitoes and insects in the area.

Used an old flower pot to light a fire with the wet wood - was quite a task as no dry wood was available. but once it got going, the wet wood made perfectly bulbous amounts of smoke.

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