That was in the late 1960s. No, not in the summer, but in the pouring rain of June. My first sighting of Mr Laurie Baker. In Trivandrum.
We were a bunch of school girls huddled together under the awning of a teashop, waiting for the bus to scramble into. One of my schoolmates pointed to a lean figure in the rain, umbrella and all. Do you see that guy there, the white guy? Well, he is Laurie Baker. The reference to the colour more in awe than in disrespect. All of 14 and crass ignorant I asked. So what?
My friend said, you know, he makes weird houses, sort of I mean. They look 'unfinished', no plaster, like a poor man's house. En route to school, she pointed to a house and said, 'There, that is a Laurie Baker house!'
Also see: Laurie Baker: The man we will never forget
It didn't look a regular, squarish house, but a circular one. Two things intrigued me then. Why did he make such houses? And what brought him so far away from home? Through my college and school days, I watched him and his houses that dotted the neighborhood.
Text and photographs: Neerada