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.