THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Imagine the master architect Laurie Baker running after a hen, wanting to break its neck by holding it under his armpit, so that his wife Elizabeth could make a chicken curry for her guest! When Geetha Narayanan, a common friend of the Bakers’, recollected the incident at the Bakers’ commemoration held at Karimadom colony on Friday, the audience could not but break into laughter.
In the 20 minutes that she spent in front of the mike, Geetha took the audience through the evergreen sense of humour of the Master Architect. Remembering how Baker nicknamed places and persons when he could not pronounce or remember the actual word. And that is how a certain John Ding became Ding Dong for him, Geetha says.
She recollected how her daughter had gone to the Bakers’ house during his last days to witness the aged man taking to a new-found pastime.
‘’She was told that Baker’s hobby was to count the number of Ambassador cars that passed by through the window of his room. After coming back from his house, my daughter had said that, that might be the last time she was seeing him and it eventually turned out to be true,” Geetha said.
Geetha remembered how she had requested Baker to build her a house. ‘’He asked me how much I had got and I said around ` 30,000. He was happy. Ah! then let’s start, he had said,” Geetha recollected. A dancer that she was, Geetha got a home which had a stage, a space for orchestra and a place where people could be seated.
She also recollected how when Elizabeth Baker fell ill and she had gone to visit her. ‘’We sat holding hands for a long time without speaking. And then she said, we have come a long way, isn’t it? And I said yes. What was left to speak,” Geetha winded up her memories on Laurie and Elizabeth Baker.
P B Sajan, joint director of COSTFORD, said that it was actually Laurie Baker’s birthday and since the two were inseparable and since there was no remembering one without the other, they opted to organise a collective commemoration of the Bakers.
And Karimadom, being the last slum he designed for renovation, was the best place to hold it.