"What's a dhow?" asked another friend.
"We have lots of them in Doha." I piped in unnecessarily and over enthusiastically. I do that a lot. The need to express all that I know about a subject is too potent to keep bottled up inside. "These are ancient Arab boats. We've been on dhow cruises. They're great. They used to use them for pearl diving in the Gulf region." I continued with my monologue.
I'm not sure anyone was listening.
We were on the last leg of our Kutchh road trip and I'm sure my friends and co-passengers had devised coping mechanisms by now to jhello (bear) me. No one tried to leave me behind. So I guess, they were okay.
First, a quick stop at the model-making shop and museum which is built in the shape of a ship.
The caretaker opened the shop to let us in.
"Are you interested to buy a model?"
"Oh! No. We're just looking..." we chimed in collectively.
"In that case I'll show you around. Saheb (i.e. the model maker or rather his son) has gone for his lunch break. This model making business eats up too much of ones brains (this is a literal translation of what he said in Hindi)"
He was clearly not impressed with the number of hours a model maker applies to this intricate art to create.
I just realized, had I met Prof. Fofindi or his son, my 'F' for the challenge would've got sorted. Shame!
We saw the models, took a few photos and drove to the docks.
The size of it took me by surprise. It's funny how I never paid attention to the size of a dhow when I sailed in it, but looking at it's bare bones made me gasp. Wow!
About two years.
What type of wood do you use?
Teak from here and Malaysian wood.
What's the wood from Malaysia called?
Where will this dhow go when it's ready?
Anywhere...Africa, Dubai, Oman.
Is is okay to take pictures of you and the others?
Of, course! he said and went back to hammering a huge nail into a thick plank of wood.
Local carpenters have been making dhows for more than 400 years. The type of tools and techniques have remained pretty much the same. We saw a group of five men lift one of these massive logs by hand!
And while Mandvi looks on to Rukmavati river, reminiscing its glorious past as the chief port of Western India, we get back into the car to head to the beach.
'E' won't be easy as I'll be travelling back home. Let's hope it evolves on time to post.
Enjoy your day, wherever you are:)