The Bakers immersed themselves in the culture and customs of their adopted home, Kerala. They took their involvement to the level of communicating in Malayalam, even at home. However, all the Bakers born and brought up in Kumarakom, did go to England, for schooling and for finding a spouse.
For the Bakers who were a blessing to Kerala in so many ways, the first few years were extremely difficult. Management of the day-to-day affairs of the house required numerous servants – for the domestic and farming activities at the estate. Fresh water for drinking and cooking had to be brought from Olasha, a few miles away, in traditional country boats, as Kumarakom was cut off from neighbouring places. Someone had to travel to Olasha and Kottayam in the boats everyday to collect mail. If an animal had to be taken across, two country boats connected together with a wooden platform was used.
Before the arrival of electricity to the area, oil lamps, a kerosene-powered refrigerator, traditional, hand-operated fans etc were used at the Bakers’ home. Crocodiles and water snakes were common in the backwaters and pythons were a big threat to the poultry. The thatched roof had to be renewed every year. But fighting all odds, the Baker family stayed on in the land they loved for about a hundred years.
|Construction of the House