M. T. Vasudevan Nair

M. T. Vasudevan Nair
Naalukettu. The house around the courtyard
New Delhi, OUP, 2008
Translated from Malayalam
by Gita Krishnankutty

kaṟanṯụ buks tṛśūr
[Current Books, Trichur]

Author's note

(ix) “The village of Kudallur is situated [in the Ponnani taluk of Malabar] on the boundary of the Palghat district, between Kuttippuram and Thrithala, on the banks of the river known as the Bharathapuzha.”

“The old naalukettu does not exist anymore. Most parts of the building were demolished and even I have never seen the original building that housed sixty-four people in all, including adults and children. All I /x/ know about it is what my mother and grandmother described to me when I was a child.

Old naalukettus were part of the marumakkathayam or matrilinear system of inheritance that prevailed in Kerala. A central courtyard flanked by wooden pillars, open to the sky, rooms along its sides, a dining hall beyond, the kitchen, a gatehouse, a building called the pathayappura that had a granary downstairs to store the harvested grain, and rooms upstairs, a kayyalappura, or outer building to dry the grain during the rains — a naalukettu belonging to an ordinary family consisted of all these.”