A recent family vacation to Kerala had us on board what was an ultra-luxurious houseboat by day and an insect haven at night. While I did not mind the many chirping cicadas, the occasional frog or even the stray lizard or two, my family thought otherwise. So two days later, when we were exploring the pretty Jew Town in Mattancherry, Kochi, they were less than thrilled with my idea of buying this model of the iconic Kerala houseboat or kettuvallam. I was adamant: these houses-on-hulls have navigated the backwaters for centuries, earlier for trade and transport, today for leisure. And when a persuasive shop owner told me that the models are made of coconut tree bark and the roof of palm leaf, I did not even bother to bargain. My family no longer cared—they did not have to sail in this one. From 150.