atul jha

koolhead17

Menu Close

Tag: katch

Retired sailor hobbyist fishermen #faces

Krishna

Krishna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Krishna

Place: Mandvi beach, Gujarat

Occupation: Hobbyist fishermen

Krishna, a stark looking 65 year old was silently surveying the sea when I first caught sight of him at Mandvi Beach. In conversation, he tells me that he has sailed across Africa and the Gulf during his early days in the navy.He intently discusses how effortless it was back in the day to become a sailor where education and literacy never mattered to pursue a career in the navy.

As a man of the sea, he has witnessed the hardships of being a sailor. He actively agrees that technology plays a crucial role in aiding captains to avert disasters at sea by almost accurately warning sailors of uneasy circumstances that they may encounter. He narrates about one of his journeys to Mozambique where the entire crew survived on boiled potatoes for almost five whole days to endure a stormy situation.

I asked him how he spends his retirement, to which he placidly gestures at the beach as a hobbyist fishermen. Through Krishna, I learnt that fishing is illegal unless you have the license issued by the government  for which he pays Rs 300 as licence fee to fish at Mandvi beach.

He tells me he two kids, a daughter who works as a principal in a government college and a son working in Saudi Arabia which makes him content to live his life as a fisherman.

Footnote: This post is part of #faces series i am working on.


Shipmaker who traveled across Africa and Gulf #faces

Isa Ismail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Isa Ismail

Place: Mandvi, Gujarat

Occupation: Ship architect [wooden ship]

In my quest to discover how ships are built at the backwater port of Mandavi, I came across this 60 year old stalwart individual.Isa bhai, as I respectfully call him had a flourishing career in building wooden ships, a trait he instinctively inherited from his forefathers. Mandavi is a small township in Gujarat that was once famous for building wooden ships at its serene beach.

Over a cup of chai on a makeshift wooden ship which was currently under maintenance, Isa bhai shared his story with me. He tells me that today the market for wooden ships is bleak and so survives on  maintenance of existing wooden ships that are brought to him for servicing. The maintenance of a single ship can take more than five or six months to deem fit. They only work for 6 months in a year due to the influence of extravagant weather conditions. With a team of 25 odd carpenters and helpers, Isa bhai is currently working on fixing a wooden ship traveled from Oman that is in a sort of pathetic condition.

I was eager to explore the ship, but Isa bhai disapproved my request advising me to do so at my own peril. It was a good forty minutes spent discovering the ship and understanding the craft that goes into making a wooden ship.

Footnote: This post is part of #faces series i am working on.

 

Meeting a happy farmer #faces

faces3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Deepak Patel

Location: Somewhere outskirts  of kalol, gujarat

Occupation: Farmer/land owner

Deepak Bhai is in his mid 40’s, somewhat short with a well built physique whom I met at a party organised at a farm. He mentioned that during his college days he brazenly asked his parents for a MAC which they flatly denied for obvious reasons and financial constraints was not the primary reason. The main reason being the lack of knowledge of using the same was pretty evident.

After pursuing his graduation, he decided to become a farmer instead of following route like his relatives who pack up and move to the US.Curious,I asked why he did not follow to which he wholeheartedly informed me that he wishes to do something in India, why not bring the good of US to India, if possible? I could see that he has carved a niche for himself and his town. With welling eyes and beaming pride, he tells me he started working at this farm with just a bicycle to transport him and now hard work and God’s good will has generously upgraded him to drive cars/vans/trucks.

I was overwhelmed with his dedication to service and could not hold myself back and left after embracing him with nostalgia and pride of this countrymen.

Footnote: This post is part of #faces series i am working on.

Chacha 80 year old with a heart of gold. #Faces

faces5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Nadir Khan aka Chacha

Location: Rann, Gujarat.

Occupation: Retired, caretaker of a tea shop.

If you’ve ever been to Rann Of Kutch, Gujarat you would immediately associate this place to the wild west due to its rustic charm and desert ambiance. Surrounded by the mighty Thar desert, there is no dearth in colour. In the midst of the arid air, we encountered a warm hearted individual with a twinkle in his eye, we call him Chacha affectionately named by the locals around. I would say Chacha sits at a small tea shop  just about 5 kms before entering the desert and serves just the kind of refreshment you need before stepping into the desert – a piping hot cup of chai( or tea).

Chacha, a 6.5 foot tall 80 year old gentleman instantly makes contact with us enlightening us with a broad welcoming smile. I walked upto him and instantly greetings were exchanged. He tells me he is enjoying retirement and is now the caretaker of this tea stall owned by his two sons who are gazzetted officers with the Government.

In conversation, I came to know that Chacha is quite a celebrity.  He  worked as a darban(gatekeeper) across major cities in India and sternly believes that home is where is heart is, right here in Kutch. Interestingly,he tells me that he was featured in various documentaries & had short roles in few Bollywood movies. Politicians & superstars know him well as they stop by at his tea stall on the way to the desert.

He is an ardent fan of Modi and thanks him profusely for Runn-Utsav for bringing job opportunites to the desert laden region of Gujarat.He informs me that religion is unbiased, everyone welcomes each other’s faith and lives in peace and harmony with barriers and casteism.I was curious to know his secret to health and happiness, he answers me “I see truth, speak the truth, listen to the truth and then eat the truth” There is no fooling around with this kind of assertiveness for sure.

In the intensity of meeting a man with a heart of gold in the midst of

our conversations varying from politics to life and enjoyment, we hurriedly forgot to pay him for the tea he generously served us. On our return journey from rann-utsav, we asked him why he did not remind us to which he politely says he did not want to stop us after we said goodbyes and all in the name of Rs20.

Footnote: This post is part of #faces series i am working on.

 

A driver i met in Bhuj. #faces

faces1

Name: Ganni Bhai

Location: Bhuj, Gujarat

Occupation: Driver

Story: I met Ganni bhai through his brother who picked me from the bus stand and drove me to my hotel on (date) at (time) of the night in Bhuj. Ganni bhai picked me at 9am the next morning for a trip to the white Rann of Kacchh. That was when we started talking.

Ganni bhai has two daughters and he wants to educate them so that they can do well in life. He is also taking care of his father who has been in a coma for over 2 years & stays with him.

His family lost a lot of their assets during the Bhuj earthquake of 2001. Yet Ganni bhai never stopped smiling, which is something that is very rare these days. Those few days that we drove around Bhuj and the Rann, Ganni bhai was my guide and friend. He ensured that I tasted a variety of sweets from Bhuj while providing his terrific company.

We got talking about the state government and Ganni bhai was all praises for Narendra Modi. Modi’s idea of a “Rann Utsav” for the region has attracted a lot of tourists to the city, thus providing a source of livelihood for many like Ganni bhai for those three to four months.

gbhai

Here i am for final sign off from Bhuj & Ganni bhai dropping me to bus stand.  If you are planning a trip to Bhuj, Rann of Kacchh let me  know i will give you his number.

Footnote: This post is part of #faces series i am working on.

 

 

© 2017 atul jha. All rights reserved.

Theme by Anders Norén.