KENWOODS Farmhouse – History
37 years ago when Sid & I were engaged & about to be married, Dad Ken took the family out for a drive on New Years Day Jan 1981. Why? To show us some property he had just purchased……. 7.2 acres to be precise. Down the Western Express Highway we went in his souped up jeep (he was a car aficionado). Bore right at the Manor junction and a mud track of a road toward Vikramgadh. Destination? – a sleepy one horse VILLAGE (not town) going by the musical sounding name of Thapadpada. (I believe the original locals surnames here was ‘Thapad’.. the family is all around)
We arrived and were stunned into silence as he proudly showed us the place. Barren, with a few shrubs around and in the middle of nowhere ( we were later told that the landowner Patil cut off all the existing teak trees saying that he was sold ‘ the land’ not the ‘ trees’!)
What was he thinking I muttered under my breath. But his smile was proud and as wide as the grand canyon. So we played along with the “wow, so beautiful” thingie.
The days rolled on, so did the years….single handedly he planted chikoo and mango trees, methodically in rows, more fruit trees, lemon grass and pineapple, built a cute bungalow…then another. A fish pond was added, a greenhouse and a prawn farm, ( now displaced by the pool) even a calf named Lizzy and a few geese too. Was a farmer in his previous life, the family joked. But he ventured on. We visited occasionally, with our little ones in tow. Enjoyed it yes, but kept wondering where all this was going…..
But time is cruel. As he grew older and unable to go on, at his request, the hubby and I stepped in. I didn’t realize I was genetically wired like dad!. So stepped in with a vengeance. With experience in interior designing and landscaping, managed some multitasking (as vice principal of St. Andrew’s College ) with the hubby, we juggled careers and how. It seemed like a lose-lose situation with all the money it soaked up, the only silver lining was that we actually enjoyed the ‘escape’ a lot.
Today, thanks to the untiring team work and my sense of eclectic design trying to reuse, recycle and repurpose, two beautiful bungalows stand as a tribute to my parents. A third one was added by modifying the ‘ original cute house’ and we named it SidDes. Kenwoods is a majestic five bedroom bungalow stands in his honour ( he passed away in Jan 2017) and another cute little cottage ‘Elfreda’ in honour of my feisty 95 year old mom who lives to see the efforts and legacy her husband has left behind and us trying to take things to the next level.
And thanks to dads vision of all things organic and natural, this abode is being shared with you. For Nature lovers and those who are looking for an oxygenated oasis just a couple of hours from the hustle n bustle of a toxic polluted Mumbai. And a chance to experience the real twitter (not on your cell phones for sure) – that of the birds twittering in a cacophony of the most soothing musical sounds in the early hours of the morning – all in beautiful verdant quiet greenery.
The cottages are open for HOMESTAYS now. Treat this as your ‘ home away from home’. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
P.S. – Dad also donated the land just a stones throwaway from us where the beautiful St. Joseph;s Home for the Aged stands tall.