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Tourists? They dream at the level of posh cars | by Ahmed Zahid
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Tourists? They dream at the level of posh cars

"Tourists? They dream at the level of posh cars."


"Now not of use anyway."

"Might as well ride the Ocean with it."

(This story contains excerpts from my talk with the wise old man.)


Report from Builders Island. Continued from yesterday.


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These slender, windswept curvaceous beauties are not very well

favoured with the islanders. Not at this age anyway.

Some possible reasons:

1. Difficult to climb and harvest.

2. Dangerous with falling objects.

3. Hinder agricultural plants with unwanted shade.


The coconut tree provides.

The islanders have depended on it long, long before Tom Hanks did Castaway.

From food to fire wood.

From shelter to welfare.

They are also loved by builders.


These slender, windswept curvaceous beauties have served.

Served well, but now they must . . .


Fall prey to the ogling eyes of the bad boat builder.

He loves curves.

He loves sensuous curves to death. The boat builder.

Away he goes to fetch the cruel tree feller.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

After a while . . . Chop. Chop. Chop.

(Tree fells)

Bastards, Right?

Well. Not so right.


For centuries, these islanders have skilfully honed,

shaped and weaved coconut wood into sleek ocean riders.

They become powerful machines under the guidance of these master-craftsmen.

Powerful machines, driven by wind and carved by imagination.

The boat itself does not have a single nail or screw to hold it in place.

Nor does it require any scaled drawing or power tools to take it from start to finish.

Yet the streamlining, proportions, functionality and symmetry has taken

this craft to the level of a work of art.

See Ali:



I protested to the wise old man.

But the tourists? They love these trees. They are part of the island scenery.


"They dream at the level of posh cars."

"Do you make posh cars?" He says, looking quizzly at my camera.

I pondered.

I wondered if he meant what he meant. And finally I said:

No. I know somebody who makes post cards.

He . . he (the pro photgrapher) ran back to house to recharge. His batteries went flat.



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Taken on October 24, 2002