Monday 30 December 2013

Review 2012 – 2013

1 year passed … 
… since Sylviander House Art Museum & Homestay was inaugurated on 21.December 2012. 

We had a touching ritual, Amaji and our grandniece Annakutti joined us to enlighten the candles after my short speech about this very special date 21.12.2012.

This very special date was calculated once by the Mayas. Hardly somebody here in Kerala knew about, while in Europe  was eagerly discussed for years. The majority, which didn‘t know much about the backround, misunderstood the meaning and believed this was the end of the world. However the minority, which had studied some knowledge, understood this date as an end of a huge cosmic cycle and so the beginning of a new cycle of around 60 million years. This start of a new time cycle as a chance for a major change of human consciousness was topic of my welcome speech. 

Afterwards we had lunch in our kitchen with Amaji, our nephew Vinu, our grandniece Annakutty, Susamma, Alexander, the rikshaw driver Aji, Suresh Babu and Sethu Das, friendsoftibet founder and wellbeing campaigner. 

In the following time a lot of visitors came from far away and from the neighborhood, most surprisingly were the many interested children. 

Till today they appreciate this space visiting us again and again after school to see the paintings or playing piano and drum or dance with me … 

Some come to see our house and the garden too. When they see the pond with the biotope and the 2 nearly extincted old Kerala trees ‘Kashampuli‘, they say: »Beautiful!« – that makes us very happy. 

This was our first Lotus in the pond on the last day of the year 2012, which was a great gift to us. 

To complete the house during the months since September 2012 quite some works had to be done. Before our container from Germany arrived, we made the floor in the museum, a flexible wooden floor for dancing. 
How to do? Nobody here has ever made. We used the leftovers from a rubber sandal factory and on it wooden sheets. How to put them together, Alexander knew from the theatre, where he worked for 12 years in Munich. 

Then a well had to be built. 

For us it was very interesting to watch, how it is done. 
I‘ve seen the first time … 

… and a rainwater tank too …

… also I‘ve seen the first time …

The land behind the biotope was to clean for our little agriculture plans. It was painful to collect the waste, neighbors had thrown for many years over the wall – not only rubbish as old shoes, broken bottles, toys, CDs, old cloths; even energy saving lamps, bulbs, tubes and batteries too … 

In the beginning of October 2012 our container from Germany arrived in Cochin harbour. It took 7 hours (!) for Alexander in the custom to get it cleared – some boxes looked like a mess. 

It was quite strange to watch the helpers carrying our german household stuff along the path to the Sylviander House. To lift my old piano from the pickup into the museum made them really sweating. 

And after heavy rain the wall of the neighbor collapsed in the middle of the night with a big bumm. We jumped off the bed to see in the torch light the damage, also on the freshly painted wall of our house. 
And my little plantations along the wall were all gone … 

But betwen all these troubling works, still I took my precious hour to sit in the rising sun on the morning tea veranda and read the newspaper or write the keralite dramas around the construction works – one day hopefully these memories will become a novel … 

The night into the new year 2013 we celebrated with our german guests loudly in the indian style – but with brazilian music on the dancefloor in the museum and later while drinking indian beer on the veranda … :-)

And what a joy next morning being welcomed by such a beauty in our pond … 

… and with another gift the new year surprised us. A squirril baby fell down on the veranda in the 1st floor. The squirril family with 2 babies, we saw later, lived under our roof.  

In January 2013 we started the 1.Children Class, which goes on monthly since then – the children love it. We too! 
We talk about the soul of nature, of water, of our body, we dance, sing, meditate, draw and lough … 

In the end of this 1.Children Class, Dorothea, one of our german guests, played guitar and sang a song about water. 

This is one of the best places in the house to sit in a cooling breeze and philosophy about life … or just to watch sunset. 

And this became Alexander‘s favorite place, wether he draws or does just nothing: sit and watch – and think …
The tibetan prayer garland – once blessed by the Dalai Lama and now part of our entrance – was a present of friend Sethu Das ( 

And much to early, already in January, the cashew nut mangos ripened – we didn't mind, too delicious for shakes! 
Which looks as one cashew nut tree are in real two. Of course, at first confusing to see fruits in 2 colors: red and yellow. The red one is very rare. 

And every morning a beautiful Lotus in the pond welcomed the first sunlight and our eyes, then two blossomed …

In February the small pond infront of the Sylviander House had to be cleaned. 4 men worked the whole day to get the water out and then the mud, which is a fine fertilizer for our plants. 

While this work 1 big and 4 small turtoises were found. 

Of course we had no thought of making curry as some Indians do, but brought them safely to the big pond in the garden.

And the children of the neighborhood were curiously observing the whole process, how to clean a pond …

Even a pond is cleaned, once in a while it is necessary to take out the waterplants, which grow faster than anything else. 
If the surface is completely covered with it, the Lotus stops blossoming. 

One day, we had to cut an old tree, which was breaking the wall of a neighbor. 

We apologized for what we were going to do and said goodby full of pain … 

Once, while removing weed, I discovered the little flowers so close to the ground. I ran in the house to get my camera and started with my series »biota« each time fascinated about this microcosm we normally don‘t recognize. 

This is absolutely my favorite … 

Can you imagine, such a beauty of diversity we blindly pluck?  

When all my vegetable plants started to blossom, as our first ‘Kovaka‘ flower, I took pictures of them too … 

Our first tomato flowers … 

… peppermint, which tastes so refreshing in salades.

Our first capsicom blossomed and tiny fruits became visible.

February to March we harvested pumpkin and ‘neykumbalam‘ – this pumpkin normally used for Ayurveda treatment is said to release toxins from the body and slims.

This is not to slim, but just to enjoy: Selfmade chocolate cake! With our guests from Germany – Laura, Karla, Andrea. 

One day in March Sethu Das visited us as usual, when he finds some spare time to enjoy Sylvianderland, while discussing about projects we plan to realize in the Sylviander House. But this day he came with his parents, who wanted to see our house and the exhibition – his father is the famous cartoonist Yesudas from Kochi. 

End of March until middle of June we spent in Germany for my Brandloch-Project in Munich, which I founded 2004. 
The picture shows me performing the bird‘s dance, which I‘ve learnt once in a longhouse in Borneo during a long journey in 1980 – 1981. 

Coming back to Kerala there was a heavy monsoon. 
Some parts of the garden were under water, the ponds overflown, few banana plants drowned … 
Anyway, we enjoy monsoon a lot – a silent time, pleasant cool. We stay in the house doing our work, Alexander paints, I write, or we sit on the veranda watching the rain. 

In August and September rain got less and I could get active again in the garden, where our first Banana flower appeared. 

Then, long time awaited Maracuja (passion fruits) blossomed and ripened next to new blossoms. Selfmade Maracuja-pinapple-mango jam is a taste of paradise. 

Of course it took some time until we could harvest our first bananas … and again some time until we could eat them … 

But the inner part of the stem was ready to be cooked for lunch – the name in malayalam is a complicate word for me

Once in a while during night mices and rats are digging through my vegetable plantation, eating seeds and the roots. 
Sorry, sometimes we had to catch them. One morning we found one of our 2nd generation squirill kids being trapped accidently. 

In beginning of September our tibetan Dr. Dorjee Rapten from Bangalore visited Sylviander House with his staff to give a lecture in our spacious museum to a public audience and also demonstrated a pulse diagnose. 
(see post on the blog: Pictures of the Lecture on “Sowa Rigpa, the Science of Healing“)

In the evening, after everybody left, we had a cold beer in our kitchen with Cosima, a medicine student from Germany, and Sethu Das, who stayed with us over night.

Onam! This kind of a harvest festival is celebrated in all Kerala during 10 days always betwen end of August and middle of September. 
Since we are living here in Chettikad it became a tradition, that I am invited from a small community of villagers nearby of our Sylviander House to convey the prizes to the winner of the many games played during the festival – a lot of fun! 

The 27.September is World Tourism Day. 

I was invited from the tourism department of Alappuzha for the function as a special guest, being honored by the collector of Alappuzha district Padmakumar. 

I also had to give a speech. 
The topic of World Tourism Day 2013 was: 
Tourism and Water – Protecting our common future! 
Great, I thought, Alappuzha is a water town and a main tourist spot in Kerala. So I took the chance to talk about all the problems Alappuzha is facing nowadays: 
waste pollution and noise pollution! 
What is for westerners not to imagine: Alappuzha has no waste management! Everywhere you can see waste at the beach and high in trees big horn speakers – actually banned since many years by the Supreme Court of Delhi. Wether religious institutions or libraries or clubs, for praying or celebrating or speeches high level decibel noise is spread kilometer wide to all area throughout the year …  

But as to see on the picture, nobody of the VIP-guests beside me was listening, but talking and phoning. Only in the audience I could read in some faces the understanding about the seriousness of all these problems I mentioned. 

Some days later Mrinalini Rajgopal visited us, also Cosima had come to spend her last days in Kerala with us before she flew back to Germany. 
Mrinalini is a Rejiki healer and knows a lot about healing plants. Some of them are growing in our garden, which she explained to me. And she gave a lecture in front of our house to interested women of the village. 
(see post on the blog: Lecture of Mrinalini Rajgopal on healing plants in our surroundings)

In the middle of October the dramatherapist and sociologist Ravindra Ranasinha from Sri Lanka stayed in Sylviander House. Also wellbeing campaigners Sethu Das, Suresh Babu and CA. Kallianpur had come with him. 
The time was to short, our talks went on throughout the day to late night – to many interesting topics to discuss.

At evening Ravindra gave a lecture for invited friends in our museum after we watched the sunset from our west veranda. 
(see post on the blog: Creative Living in a World of Conflicts)

Early morning of 23.October Cat Bianca has born 3 cute babies in the paper box under my stitching table. 
After 10 days she shifted with her kittens into Alexanders studio in the 1.floor … 

Highlight in November was Alexander's exhibition 
»3 decades« in Cochin … 

(see post on the blog: 
Some impressions of the opening »3 Decades«
3 Decades (1983 – 2013), Drawings by Alexander Devasia

4.December: Black day for Simba-Meeyoo with a happy end!
Few days before, cat Bianca had left our house with her babies, because of a male cat running around on the veranda in search for her kittens … 
A neighbor, who could catch one of them on his roof, threw it near a pond … there we found our Simba-Meeyoo with a broken leg. Now he is our new family member … 
Full story will come soon!

Planing with Kerstin her Yoga & Ayurveda Workshop in Sylviander House in 2014, February 12. to 20. 
(see post on the blog: Yoga & Frei-Zeit / Yoga & Free-Time) 

Thankful for the precious moments we had in Sylvianderland and for the wonderful guests in our Sylviander House, we are looking forward to another interesting round in 2014 … 

… a HAPPY NEW YEAR to everybody and everything!