On the blurb:
‘Whatever came over me? Agreeing to move to the other side of the world was mad enough but to build a house slap bang against one of the widest, wildest oceans in the world?’
And so begins a journey of hope and anxiety as the author and her husband, the phlegmatic Mr M, set off to build their beachside home in Kerala. The obstacles are many and mostly unexpected, like neighbours waving cutlasses over the wall, venomous snakes and mercenary union men at the gate, not to mention a large and complicated piece of legislation called the Coastal Regulation Zone.
Obstacles, however, are meant to be overcome and so they are, with some quick thinking and a few helpful friends, an honest cop and an equally straight-talking scientist, and Excel sheets pulled up on demand to outwit corrupt builders. All of which make for a great story, filled with laughter and despair, and sharp yet good-humoured insights into the Malayali way of life.
Coming to the story, it begins with a couple who have come back to live in India and are on a lookout of a house they'd want to buy and make their own space. The story has been written in an autobiographical manner and revolves around the Misras - the author and her husband, and their house in Kerala.
Back to India from London, the couple decide to settle in Trivandrum, the author's hometown. The house they fall in love with and want to buy comes with a lot of baggage and issues. The story goes back and forth in time and a lot of if from the past, the present if when the house is being bought and remodelled as per their requirements. From resistance coming from local goons against buying the house, to rules and regulations regarding construction they were to undertake to remodel the house - the story takes you through life in Kerala in a very beautiful manner.
A short, breezy and entertaining read this book is something I'd happily refer to someone as a sunny, winter afternoon read.