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At the center of Tara House – a wood-framed compound nestled between a tropical wildlife sanctuary and the Arabian Sea – a verdant garden surrounds an azure pond. Tall palm trees above and slender, vertical wooden slats around the house lend the otherwise-demanding Indian sun a misty quality.
But as soothing as this interior garden space is, the heart of the home – or the “belly button”, as it has been described – is below, down a shadowed stairway. There, a stone-lined chamber has been tightly built around a tidally influenced pool. Rings of light dance upon the water courtesy of air holes that puncture the garden above.
With the sound of the ocean beyond and the pulse of the aquifer below, this cavern seems hewn out to serve as a powerful reminder that, like our bodies, our livelihoods are premised upon water. An estimated half of all Indians lack plumbing. […]