KOCHI: Back in 2018, when floods ravaged the state, Chendamangalam in North Paravoor, Ernakulam, was one of the worst-hit. Nikhil Gopi M and his family could only stand and watch as the water consumed their home. After salvaging whatever they could, the family moved in with their relatives. On August 16 that year, the water rose and inundated the first floor of their one-storey house. One of the livestock died while the rest were saved. The compound wall of the house fell and it took them a week to clean it up.
Three years later, Nikhil has remodelled the compound wall. He knew he had to construct it differently so it can withstand flooding. And so, his house now sports a compound wall that is unique on all fronts. No brick and mortar was used, instead, it was built by filling metal in iron mesh, which has a locking mechanism that allows it to be removed when the need arises. “When we thought of reconstructing a compound wall, the focus was on setting up something that could resist the flooding,” says Nikhil, who works as a mortgage finance associate at Infopark.
He adds that these types of walls are common abroad, but as décor. “They use different materials for it. I wanted to construct something that suits our locality and one that can allow water to seep in without causing flooding,” says Nikhil. Many are visiting his house now to see the two-month-old compound wall.
The 25m long wall is made of iron mesh filled with .75 inch broken metal pieces and is 4ft tall. A strong foundation will resist any future pressure and there are pillars to support the metal wall.
“When the water level rises, the wall can be removed to avoid flooding. I can refill the iron mesh with any other material. There is enough gap for the water to seep through,” says Nikhil. At Nikhil’s home, the gate is made out of scrap too. “I have used sprockets of two-wheelers that I collected from workshops. Nikhil has now received orders to design walls and gates for people.
As Kerala faced another flood, Nikhil was relieved this year. “If there is a flood scenario this year, I will get to test the strength of the wall. I hope I wouldn’t have to,” quips Nikhil.