Thursday, June 03, 2010

How to take dry coconuts out of a well?


Problem statement -
There are 15 dry coconuts (with the covering) in a big well. You have to bring them out. For your information - Dry coconuts directly fell from the tree into the well. And they float in water.

 
Boundary conditions -
The depth of water in the well is unknown.
The diameter of the circular well is around 5 meters.
There are snakes in the well.
You can't get into the water...you do not know swimming.

This was the situation me and my wife faced in my native place. I am blogging about it - means the problem was solved.

I took a long bamboo stick (called as kokke - ಕೊಕ್ಕೆ ). Tied a plastic bucket to one end of the stick. Holding the other end in my hand, I put the bucket into water. Got underneath one of the coconuts and lifted it. Water and coconut in the bucket. Lift the stick. The coconut came up with the bucket. I thought this was it. So simple.

Problem 1 -
Then came the first problem. Next attempt in the same way. Water and coconut in the bucket was lot of weight. The thread i had used to tie the bucket and stick gave way. Bucket fell into the well.
Then my project guide pitched in - My Grandma.

Solution 1 -
She suggested a different technique. She gave a big basket with holes in it (we call it hedge - ಹೆಡ್ಗೆ). She suggested that we tie two long ropes to the opposite ends of the round basket. We threw the basket into the water holding the ropes in our hand. Got underneath one of the coconuts and lifted it. Only coconut in the basket. Water went out of the holes and hence less weight to pull up. Pull up the rope (and so the basket). The coconut came up with the basket. I thought this was it.

Problem 2 -
The coconuts started moving towards the center of the well from the sides.  And the basket can't be thrown to the center, targeting any coconut.

Solution 2 -
was the long bamboo stick. Using the stick we pushed the nuts from the center to the sides, towards the wall of the well.

Problem 3 -
The stick slipped off my hands and went into the well. Luckily bamboo floats.

Solution 3 -
Got another long bamboo stick. Tied a smaller stick to one end of this, making an "X".  We put the "X" end into the water and used top half of "X" as the holder for the floating stick. After multiple tries, the floating stick was lifted by this technique. (Kind of sea-saw, fulcrum technique)

Finally after 30-40 mins of manual labor in the hot weather, the 15 coconuts were on the ground. Mission accomplished.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can see steps in the well. Why dint you go down and get the coconuts?
- Sundar

Lost in thoughts said...

the steps are stones...and did not have the guts to step on them.

Radha said...

ur grand mom is great !!!!!and where from could u get the enthusiasm of pulling the coconuts from the well..anyways i can imagine it wud have been fun :)