April 2010-November 2019
Major activity to clear the piece of land devastated by the fire, rescue the trees which can be rescued. We procure trees, shrubs and plants from a Ayurveda-Hospital-Nursery in Kerala which sources key medicinal plants from the forests. We create a medical garden over a patch of about one acre and plant out about 4000 trees on the rest of the land which was affected by the fire, making sure to source indigenous varieties which are out of vogue and which belong to the region.
Harvested fruits and vegetables – avocado, pumpkins, bananas, radish, carrots, greens, etc as well as coffee and pepper.
Our immediate neighbour denudes his entire property of all its trees to start an “avocado-farm”, as he says. The fire set to the heaps creates a a major fire-damage which destroys the bushes in one-third of Base, scares us all terribly and gets averted providentially by turning winds.
We build a tank to store water out of one of the holes dug out for the construction of the first cottage.
Our partners Susanne Granzer and Arno Boehler part ways from Base
Intrusion by neighbours who cut away a big tree
September – December 2017
The ayurvedic medical cum dental camp conducted by Padmini and Ralph earns us the welfare of neighbours we didn’t know as yet. A neighbour who had constantly been fighting with us over the rights to the water from the spring becomes a friend.
Creating a drip-irrigation system to nourish the first major plantation of forest trees and a fruit orchard across 1 acre of land
Preparations made to make a big pond out of one of the holes out of which mud was dug out for the constructions.
Installation of cupboard with a big stock of ayurvedic medicines as a health-support for people visiting Base, the workers and the neighbours.
2013 – 2016
March – December 2016
Parallel to the constructions, paths are made, further trenches are dug out, more lantana patches are removed and fresh trees are planted.
A traditional mud-hut is built for a watchman family.
Biju from Madurai is appointed as a coordinator and overseer of the construction. He takes charge of handling the workers, the material and the finances and coordinates with us.
Friend and well-wisher of Base, Varun Aiyer visits the space and helps with finishing the construction, giving finishing touches and dealing with the workers
March - October 2015
With the help of the local villagers we find a beautiful spring uphill. We build a huge ferro-cement tank of 100,00 litres capacity to store the spring water.
We scout for a team and find Raja, a mason from a nearby town. He builds a cottage, a pilot project. CCD, a major NGO operating out of Madurai helps us by providing their jeep for the workers and for our own use.
We discover a quaint, old tree-shrine under the lantana bushes in the midst of the property.
We also discover a cross raised by the original owners of the property in the bushes not far away in another part of the property.
A forest elephant wanders through Base destroying a few plants only fortunately, but having a good feed of Jack fruits
December 2014 – FEBRUARY 2015
A team of local villagers and tribals devotes time to the removal of the weed lantana, which covers and suffocates most of the trees on the property with. We do all the bureaucratic work involving owning a company, a company bank account and semi-agricultural forest land. And also discover a little bit of Kodaikanal town, which is 12 Km away, and make a few friends.
We live in the room which later becomes the kitchen-dining-space, and become aware of the many animal friends which are curious about us.
Renewal and repair work on the existing cottage.
Lakshmi, a Kangeyam cow, an old breed of Tamilnadu joins Base. She’s pregnant.
It is a long struggle and lots of paper-work to get all the land documents cleared – it being a piece of land close to the jungles. It is far beyond being affordable for us. Arno Boehler and Susanne Granzer from Vienna, Ralph Kaufmann from Germany and Padmini Ranganathan join us financially, we create the company called BASE ART PHILOSOPHY ECOLOGY INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED and buy the piece of land in the name of the company. And spend time between Germany and Kombai in the little cottage on the property.
December 2014 – FEBRUARY 2015
De-weeding patches of lantana to rescue the trees which they are suffocating and to do new tree-plantation.
DISCOVERING THE PROPERTY in Kombai owned by Brigitte Singh, a French designer settled in india, who had bought the land off the villagers a few earlier and given it to her brother Marc Baudin. Marc, a French sailor settled in India lived there as a recluse and planted trees. He wished to sell the property and leave the valley.