Dakshinachitra 20th Anniversary Celebration, January, 2017
Mrs. Deborah Thiagarajan handed over a memento to me. It was a great reunion of all the people who have contributed in one way or the other in making Dakshinachitra what it is today.
I shifted to Chennai to do Dakshinachitra and my career went parallel with Dakshinachitra. In 1996, I used to come everyday to Dakshinachitra in the morning along with Sharma (retired project manager from L & T, who passed away a few years ago). My son Kevin Kuriakose (3 years old) used to be with me. Perhaps the initial exposure with the old buildings might have made him to take architecture as a career later. Even when the museum was opened on 14th December, 2016, there were hardly any visitors. I used to take the occasional visitors around the campus.
But the next door amusement park "MGM Dizzeeworld" which also opened more or less at the same time had lots of people. They were so overcrowded so that the cars visiting MGM were parked in our roads. At that time, the general public was not much interested in heritage, but over the 20 years, things have changed. There are more than 2000 visitors on many days now. When a workshop on vernacular architecture for students were announced, there were only two applications from the whole of South India. Nowadays, we have to close the admission to architectural workshops because of over subscription.
For me, it was a pleasurable learning experience.
I knew Debbie from 1984 onwards, when I started doing research on the secular architecture of Kerala for Madras Craft Foundation.
I would like to thank Debbie Thiagarajan, Sharma, Vishalam Ramanathan, Vepathangudi Ramachandrarao Devika, Gita Vasudevan, Gita Ram, Vishalakshi Ramaswamy, Maureen Murari, the various craftsmen and engineers and architects who worked with me in making this journey possible.