Zoned Out at Pepper House

Day 26 (Z) ~ #BlogchatterA2Z

All artwork is done by Seema Misra, Copyright Lonely Canopy.

#BlogchatterA2Z posts:

A , B , C , D , E , F , G , H , I , J , K , L , M , N , O , P , Q , R , S , T , U , V , W , X , Y , Z

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Fort Kochi has transformed itself from a port town into an art hub. Every year the city hosts multiple international music, art, and cinema festivals attracting visitors from all over the world. This transformation has resulted in the renovation of some waterfront ‘godowns’ earlier used to store spices for export.

Fort Kochi and Mattancherry – A Most Colorful History

Fort Kochi has seen Dutch, Portugese, and British settlements, it’s famous for the use of Chinese fishing nets, has a famous Dhobi Khana (run by Tamilians who migrated here to cater to the laundry needs of British soldiers, and is marked by the presence of Memons, Jains, Kashmiris and many other ethnic groups. An entire chunk of history is concentrated in these two tiny towns – Fort Kochi and Mattancherry.

It is the ideal setting for an Amitav Ghosh novel. In fact, its has been accorded a heritage town status. There are many efforts to document the cultural history of the place. With the decline in trade, increased tourism, and dwindling Jewish population – it would need a miracle to preserve even a sliver of the original bustling multi-cultural port town.

A few kilometers from Fort Kochi is Mattancherry. The coast is lined up with old bungalows, some of which are converted into cafes and restaurants. One such cafe that caught our attention was Pepper House. It comprises of two heritage dockside warehouses with a huge courtyard in the center. One side of the building faces the canals. Earlier, this courtyard was used to sort pepper for loading in the docks through a large arched door that opens to the canal.

Pepper House has many aspects – a cafe, a huge library, rooms for art and events, and an in-house store. You can pick up designer clothes, art stuff, and quirky art studio products (such as a set of tiny comic books each inside a match-box) at the store.

The person behind this multi-purpose venue is Isaac Alexander, a local businessman. He has successfully turned the space into an arts and culture hub. We noticed posters of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014 adorning the notice boards. There were several sculptures scattered on the lawn.

Tucked away near the entrance, opposite to the  side that opens into the canal, the cafe has chick wooden benches. It offered a stunning view of the picturesque colonial building. Well maintained mini garden in the courtyard area and the pretty Ajwain plants kept in bottles on each table added to the contemporary vibe.

We had French Press coffee with some delicious oats-based dessert, while enjoying the magical view through the arched gateway, of the waterfront with ships passing through. It provided an ideal photo op for Fort Kochi lovers. The maritime, colonial structure, the artsy ambiance, and the leisurely elegance of having a coffee amidst such historical ramparts – it was a quintessential Kochi experience.

Perked up by the coffee, we set out to explore the building. Predictably, we ended up in the library. This one is famous for books on fine arts, most of which have been donated by artist Bose Krishnamachari. We spent a long time digging through books on cinema.

The place is associated with local artists and art collectives such as Kokaachi (their studio is located a little away in Ernakulum). It is also an integral part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. All these different layers made my afternoon at Pepper House a memorable one. I would love to go back and relive the artsy time I spent there.

z5
Some place nice, to while away some time …
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You will be remembered
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Ships pass by
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Time pauses while I sit and stare
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Things we make and sell
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Coffee always makes everything better
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Good view, good coffee, good books – just leave me here.
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50 thoughts on “Zoned Out at Pepper House

  1. A beautiful ending with amazing art. Congratulations. You have survived the challenge. It was nice travelling with u to places with ur artistic narration and divine art. Keep in touch.

  2. Good view, Good books….. Leave me there too!

    Simply loved all the artwork, esp the book corner.

    And….. count me in for any workshop/youtube tutorial of water colours Seema.

    Loved your A2Z series!

  3. I’ve really loved your AtoZ series Seema. Your artwork is amazing. I’ve been to Fort Kochi before but this post made me revisit it with fresh eyes. Great ending to the challenge!

  4. Wow, so many illustrations to accompany this post! Loved reading this, Seema and feeling sad that we won’t be meeting every day now. I would look forward to reading your posts and admiring your waterworks! Keep writing and mesmerizing me.

  5. With coffee in one hand and a book in another, amidst the beautiful landscape with hues of artwork scattered, what else would the eyes would crave for? I’ll miss the mesmerising artwork with lively description of far away places.
    How I wish against wish this could not be the ending!
    Congratulations for successful completion of the challenge. Glad to get connected with you. Hope to be in touch. Good luck.

  6. We happened to visit a similar place in Pondicherry. I could have just spent rest of my life living in simplicity, buried under books. That’s a beautiful ending to the challenge, Seema. Bravo! I always enjoyed reading your experiences and your artwork is spellbinding. Keep at it! I look forward to seeing more from you. Congratulations.
    -Surbhi

  7. Dream-like. This place ticks all the boxes Seema. Your art work adds to the dreamy haze I find myself in right now.
    You’re inspiring me to pick up a paint brush–if I do, I’ll keep you posted.
    Thank you for unraveling old world charm day by day through your posts–a much needed tonic for someone like me who thinks she was born in the wrong century;)
    Congratulations on a fantastic A to Z.
    You’re on my blog roll–so I’m sure I’ll see you around.
    Z is for Zaroorat and Zahrah

    1. I was starting work on my eBook, and this comment gives me so much encouragement.

      If this blog inspires you to paint – I would be the happiest person.

      Thanks so much for being there throughout the blogging April journey. I have followed your blog, so will keep coming back for your stories. Do come back here for trips down history.

      Happy blogging.

  8. The buzz and ambience in Fort Kochi is just unbelievable and I loved walking down the colorful streets at Matancherry too. The Dutch palace murals had blown me away and I am yet to write my posts on this travel – maybe your divine post is the inspiration for it 🙂
    Gorgeous Artwork Seema !!

  9. I keep on visiting again and again on my blog for your illustrations, tried to paint a few though I am a big zero in that. And write up is very nice. I have also mentioned about your blog in my A2Z reflection post, will tag you on Twitter.

    1. Thanks, Ishani. Don’t undersell yourself – you are a talented writer. And there’s no such thing as good art – its all about enjoying the process 🙂

      I’m so glad you stopped by.

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