Sunday, June 17, 2007

Launch of a vallom (country boat)

Before the road to Olavipe was laid in 1970, it was difficult to live in the village without depending on boats. Even after the arrival of bicycles, scooters, auto-rickshaws, cars, buses and trucks, country crafts still remain an integral part of life in the area.

But a new vallom is a rare event and one to celebrate. A few months back, my brother Jacob who is the incumbent at Thekkanattu Parayil, decided to build one and name it ‘Parayil Rose’ (after Ammachi – Oru Desathinte Amma.) The job was entrusted to a master carpenter from the Ulladan tribe. Though originally from the interior forests, several members of this tribe migrated to the plains and coastal areas and took to new lines of expertise.

The first step in building a vallom is to select the trees to be used. The choice depends on various factors like size of the vallom, the purpose for which it is to be used, availability of the wood and so on. In this case Punna (Ball Nut tree - Calophyllum inophyllum) available on our land was selected.

The proper ritual for felling a tree is to take permission from that tree to cut it down. This is done with a prayer which explains to the tree that it had lived its full life and the time has come for it to be put to other uses or something like that. I don’t know whether it was done in this case. Any way the trees were cut and the master carpenter Sasi and his team spent about 110 man days to complete the vallom.

I am presenting pictures of the launch of Parayil Rose in installments:

Jacob (in white shirt) and I inspect the new vallom in the work-shed in the house compound.

Parayil Rose is ready for the journey to the Olavipe Lake. She is unlikely to return to the house compound again.

En route, Jacob's son Pappu (Antony Tharakan) puts an offering at the gate of the Olavipe Church.

On the way to the lake.

Preparation for pooja at the lakeside.

Click on images to enlarge

Photos: Chackochan

© Thekkanattu Parayil

To be continued.

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