21 August 2016

Under my Bamboo Roof

Big thanks to those who sent best wishes to Max during his recent illness. He is now almost back in perfect health. The below photograph of him crashing out on the roof is because we have returned from a long walk and swim followed by a very large meal. The dog is happy, healthy but exhausted. He sends his best to all out there. 

Gorgeous Max

In the beginning of February I had a nice bamboo cover put on my roof. I have used many bamboo roofers at Tiruvannamalai, but the crew who made my current roof are by far and away the very best Tiruvannamalai has to offer. They work creating bamboo and mandapam structures at; all major Temples (including Arunachaleswarar Kovil), marriage halls, mandapams, restaurants, functions and private homes. 

I have used many different bamboo construction crews in Tiruvannamalai, and through trial and error have now found an excellent craftsman, so am making this posting and including Balaji's mobile phone number. You can reach him at +919486370325.

My roof garden

Balaji, bamboo roofing artisan with strut to add for extra monsoon support

Winds have been very fierce over the last few weeks, and as the monsoon will soon be upon us, asked Balaji to drop by and make a quick addition to my roof. Balaji's family originates from Tiruvannamalai. His father, who is now deceased, was a bamboo roofer and it was by working with him, that Balaji learnt his craft. Since my bamboo roof was constructed in February, it has remained absolutely solid and immovable. Very happy with it. 

Balaji and his brother Bhaskaran

Built in February and looks as good now as then

The roof is one of Max's favourite places

Nice tidy work. Balaji's crew spent a total of 2 days taking down the previous roof and replacing it with this new one

Looking towards the West

Looking towards the East

Additional strut added on for extra monsoon support


Anonymous said...

Max is a beauty and yes he looks very exhausted.

Divya said...

So glad Max is feeling better! Also, I remember all your trials and tribulations over the years with bamboo roof covers that crumble after only a few months. So glad you found someone who does quality, long-lasting work! Does it get very windy at Tiru?

You certainly are a true 'Mums', just look at all those potted leafy plants you nurture and care for! What do you grow - tomatoes, chilis, curry leaves and other eatables?

Meenakshi Ammal said...

Hi Divya:

The fact is, if people have the cash they bring in workers from Chennai and Pondicherry for electrical, plumbing, carpentry and roofing. Because standard of work here in Tiruvannamalai is low. Even though the town is verging on a Metro area, price wise, it still has a village mentality, and village level work. I know of a large local organisation which brings a crew from Pondicherry to do their bamboo roofs every few years.

Yes I have gone through most of the locals and have found them wanting. Even the supposedly good roofers weren't so good. And yes you need a very secure structure, otherwise it will just blow away . . the wind comes rushing down Arunachala and is almost gale force by the time it reaches the houses. All over town in the monsoon season there are bamboo roofs, plastic roofs, aluminium roofs, and snapped off trees and branches lying on the streets.

Through good fortune I have finally connected with an excellent bamboo roofing crew. So superior to anything I had in the past. Had my roof put up in the beginning of February and not even one leaf has blown away. With the wind whistling all around, and the doggies nearly being blown off he roof, my bamboo structure is standing strong and true. Very happy. And also looks super smart.

As to the upstairs plants, have a colony of country rats who regularly visit my roof garden and love to eat certain plants that have plenty of cellulose . . . so had to move many plants downstairs, away from those ratty sharp teeth. In the same way, not safe to have veggies like tomatoes on the roof . . . as it encourages the ratty boys to linger. However I do have a very nice Curry Leaf Sapling that is doing very nicely.

Thanks for the encouraging words about Max . . he is doing much better. But like all Labradors he is a Mr. Greedy and sucks up anything lying around. But he has loads of personality and is such a happy dog, that its impossible to stay cross with him.

Anonymous said...

Did you move? This is a much nicer place with lots of room for the doggies. Enjoy Tiruvannamalai

Meenakshi Ammal said...

Yes I did indeed move. And am now in a more airy place with a wonderful darshan of Arunachala. Doggies are much happier here too . . . which is big plus.

Divya said...

What a pity about the poor workmanship in Tiru though as you said, it is so much more sprawling than a village so one would expect more skillful construction. Was the price of your new roof comparable to the shoddy quality roofs you had in the past?

Totally understand how you do not want to encourage other creatures to come have eatable feasts on your roof. Here, my housemate grows a lot of herbs and some veggies and I see local deer come by almost every day to munch on her lovingly tended plants. (Except for a few which she has cleverly fenced in.)

Meenakshi Ammal said...

To take down the old roof and put up the new one would take 3 days and the roofer quoted a contract price. I told him prepared to pay the same rate but wanted the work done in 2 days . . . so he brought in a bigger crew.

It was more expensive than my earlier roof, but previously the thing fell over in a fierce storm. The wind comes down the side of Arunachala and in monsoon season is gale force . . . roofs and bits of houses flying around . . . just like in the tornado in Wizard of Oz.

Feel its a great investment because the bamboo roof is rock solid, quite impressive in the fiercest winds. My previous roofs made by locals would have come down by now. Its unbelievably windy here in the storm season.

pradeep said...

They call it beautiful people, your musings are always nice to devour. As a passionate follower of Arunchala, never satisfied with my trips there, I am looking for some clues to stay there for more time. At peace, don't know when the permission comes.

Meenakshi Ammal said...

Can understand your wish to wait for permission and blessings before moving permanently to Arunachala.

Don't worry. It will happen for you.

Arunachala Grace and Light
Meenakshi Ammal