Away from the city's hustle and bustle, Laxmi Ammal (90) and Kasturi Sivaraman (72) have created a sanctuary, offering people the opportunity to savor and appreciate life's simple pleasures.
Summer vacations often evoke nostalgia—memories of time spent at your grandma’s home, relishing homemade food and playing outdoor games, far removed from the fast-paced, deadline-chasing city life. Enter Pico, a homestay in Tamil Nadu, just two hours from Chennai, managed by the dynamic mother-daughter duo—Laxmi Ammal, 89, and Kasturi Sivaraman, 71—in Rettanai. Here, they promise not only captivating stories but also the delight of farm-fresh food.
The genesis of Pico emerged during the Covid era when people sought solace in tranquil, green spaces. Recognizing this need, the Ammal family envisioned a homestay providing just that. Sivaraman’s son, Kiruba Shankar, played a pivotal role, gradually expanding their farm from two to 13 acres and revitalizing the landscape with flourishing crops. Contrary to assumptions, Shankar's mother and grandmother enthusiastically embraced the opportunity, driven by their long-held desire to build and manage something of their own.
Creating awareness posed an initial challenge. Despite the beauty of their 13-acre farm, nestled in lush greenery, it remained unknown. Fortunately, the initial guests who discovered Pico shared their experiences on Instagram, with a couple of reels amassing an impressive 5 million views. The desire to witness a 90-year-old grandma's business succeed spurred enthusiastic sharing within their network, leading to organic growth purely through word of mouth.
Laxmi and Kasturi embody the belief that age should never hinder the pursuit of dreams. Since their venture's inception in 2021, they have graciously hosted over 200 guests, sharing farm-fresh food and the essence of village life. Ammal expresses, “It gives me immense happiness and satisfaction when people get to experience local village life,” acknowledging that, despite the physical demands, their energy is replenished when they see people happy.
When asked about the role the men in their lives played in facilitating their dream, Lakshmi Aaji's son-in-law, Sivaraman (73), assists with logistics, recognizing that the farmstay business is the vision of the two ladies—his mother-in-law and wife. He prefers to stay behind the scenes, supporting both ladies in their endeavors. Lakshmi Aaji's grandson, Kiruba Shankar (49), contributes to the farmstay's success through digital marketing.
The homestay, spanning 13 acres surrounded by orchards and paddy fields, stands as a testament to familial love and unity. From Shankar and his father designing the house to local masons contributing to construction, and Laxmi and Kasturi managing daily operations, every aspect radiates the love and simplicity of home.
In conversation with Shankar, Laxmi Aaji, and Kasturi Aaji, this is the tale of dreams lived, nurtured, and shared at Pico, presented by Kuhu.
Author: Kuhu Srivastava
Pico Farmstay: Click here to book it!
Instagram: Follow their journey here