WHEN he left school in 1952 at 12 years of age, Paras Ram Nair had no job opportunities and no prospects for the future.
The Samabula resident took up an interest in woodwork and carving after watching his neighbour David Hari Prasad turn ordinary pieces of wood into polished timber artifacts.
"I was fascinated with how he turned nothing into something," the now 75-year-old handicraft product maker shared.
"Growing up in Samabula, there was nothing much to do so when he offered me a job I took it.
"He paid me five shillings a week which was a big deal for me at that time."
Mr Nair developed his skills over the years and began delving into jewellery-making and other forms of handicraft items.
"It has kept me financially independent for most of my life and I have developed a business that now wholesales to Sheraton Fiji Resort, Jack's Handicraft, shops in Pacific Harbour and even supplying handicraft centres around the country."
When the orders pile up, his five children and nine grandchildren are always there to assist him, he says.
"Being asked to exhibit at the first Fijian Tourism Expo is a great honour for me and I would like to thank the Tourism Ministry, Tourism Fiji and the Fiji Arts Council for their support and choosing me to be a part of this special event."