Tree-Houses of Jenukurubar.
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Jenukurubar are once believed to have lived in tree-houses (machaan). Now, they no longer live in tree-houses. Their settled agricultural life could have changed the use of tree-houses. However, they are not as big as a house, where a family can live. The function of a tree-house, now, is to stay at night to watch if any wild animals destroy their crops.
Prepared by Rayson K. Alex
Three Jenukuruba men are involved in making a tree-house here. The first thing they did after entering the premises of Vikasa office was to look for a tree which could host the tree-house. The criterion of suitability was, 1. The height of the tree 2. The strength of the branches and 3. The possibility of tying logs in a square form.
The four logs used for making the structure are usually logs of hard wood. They found a tree near the archive building. The next was to search for wood for making the structure. They then cut down some small trees with straight wood. Three trees were felled and then their branches were cut off.
Tree-houses were made with bamboo-poles. But restriction into the forest has blocked the resource of bamboo. Now, they have resorted to felling small trees to make tree-houses. However, this tree-house was made with bamboo and logs of wood.
A log of wood, which was thicker than the others, was split into two. The part of the process was to make steps on the bark of the tree for the three of them to climb on top. Two of them climbed the tree and the other person helped them by lifting the logs of wood to be tied on the branches. The branches of wood that were cut from the log were used for laying the platform for machaan.
Tree-houses are usually square or rectangular in shape. First the platform is laid tying poles of wood across the branches of the tree with coir ropes.
The roof of the tree-house is made with bamboo tying it closely in an inverter “v” shape.
After the structure is made the platform is tightly closed by arranging smaller sticks on the basement. Then hay is spread on the roof and tied. The installation of a bamboo-ladder leaning the tree completes the construction of a tree-house.
The Jenukurubaworkers took a break whenever they felt like. They seemed very lethargic. But they were seen to be enjoying their work. This conveys a very crucial difference between the urban people and tribal people. Work for Jenukurubaris a source of joy.
They take their own time cracking jokes, telling stories and spending time on enjoyment. But it has come to a stage that they are displaced from this attitude of life. They were forced labourers to Jamindars and Kings. Their work turned out to be time-oriented.
Plastic-roofed tree-house on a bamboo cluster