Steering a tricky course: is rapid development destroying the Keralan way of life?
I'm lying on my back. It's night and a tropical rain shower is pattering gently on the thatched coconut leaves. Lovely. But there is something else too: a skittering and rustling sound. A creature is moving quickly across the roof. I flick on the torch. Like an antelope on the savanna, oblivious to the approaching lion, the moth stops and - dies in the predator's jaws. In the morning my friend Raj is pleased to hear of giant arachnids in his roofs. He takes me on a tour of the hillsides, scrambling up to the viewpoint from where we can see Kerala stretched out beneath us, a sea of coconut trees with hardly a break. "Don't be misled by the view," Raj warns me. He's not the only one to think so. Even just a decade ago India appeared to be a country with impressive green credentials. Travelling down from Raj's place in the hills towards the coast, the problems are obvious. Poovar is a place that has, as yet, escaped the worst excesses of development. "Where will you go?" He shrugs.