Anita Desai

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What did the villagers do as Biju's boat is being built in The Village by the Sea?

As Biju's boat is being built, the villagers gather to watch the progress of the boat's construction. Some of them, particularly the children, like to yell insults at Biju and the workmen.

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In chapter 2 of The Village By the Sea, Biju, the alleged smuggler is having a large new boat built. The villagers of Thul have mixed feelings about this. First of all, they are not happy that Biju hired boat builders from Alibagh to construct his boat instead of hiring experienced builders from Thul who could certainly use the work. Many people in the village resent Biju for denying this work to the village. Despite this, the villagers experience a certain amount of pride that such a fine vessel is being built in their little town. This does not stop many of them from expressing the opinion that such a boat will not be seaworthy, being too large and constructed by inexperienced workers from Alibagh. They seem to feel that the men of Thul would have built a finer vessel.

All the while, the construction of Biju's boat provides a lot of entertainment for the villagers. Nearly everyone in the village stops at some point to watch Biju's new fancy boat being built. They gather in small groups at the boatyard and watch the progress, often yelling insults at Biju and the workmen for Alibagh. The children, including Hari, find particular delight in this. They taunt Biju by calling him a smuggler who will wind up in jail.

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