A grinding stone used to grind spices and grain, known as a "jatha".

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The home of my ancestors

...Ramesh Chatoor remembers the place he was born

By SANDHYA SANTOO sandhya.santoo@trinidadexpress.com

A TIME traveler from a century ago ago, would probably not recognise Trinidad, given the amount of development that has happened since then.

However, if you slow down and look closely enough, you can still find spots that remained a time capsule of our past. One such place is the Mud House located at Siparia Old Road, Avocat (near Fyzabad) which has withstood the test of time.

Built in the 1850s by Indian indentured labourer who worked on the
coffee and cocoa plantations, the Mud House is in the care of Ramesh Chatoor who over the years would clean and leepay (plaster with a mixture of mud and cow dung) the walls and floor every two months.

The roof was made of carat leaves (a type of palm tree). Eventually the roof was replaced with galvanised roofing sheets which is also extremely old. Chatoor now 77, the grandson and a descendant of Kangal, the original owner of the Mud house, recently suffered a stroke rendering him unable to continue to upkeep the house. He lived in the house with his siblings and parents before moving to a home nearby.

And it is to this Mud House that Chatoor hopes to return, and where he wants to die. This house of his childhood comprise two storeys, and housed fifteen people. As Chatoor explained, the first floor
was used to store food in jars and pots and the children would sleep there at night.

A narrow ladder led to the second floor which was used for couples and storage of their produce. The meals were prepared on a chulha (fireside) outside the house. The Chatoor family were Hindus and regularly preformed pooja (Hindu prayers) outside the house which
remains intact today. The inside walls had thaka (shelves) used for storage of food items, jewelry and other possessions.

Chatoor said that his grandfather came from India and after the five years of Indentureship was over chose to remain and cultivate the land. Along with other Immigrants who worked for Kangal they lived on the verandah and slept on pals (brown sugar bags) until they relocated elsewhere.

NOTE- Indian Arrival Day will be celebrated this Friday, May 30.
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