There is sudden spurt in construction activity around my house.
In the plot opposite my house, I watch 4 men weild their iron crowbars all day digging the depths required for the foundation. When the power goes off some afternoons and I feel irritated and stand near the window hoping for some air, I watch them still digging in the hot sun, their bodies melting in sweat and their limbs struggling with the heaviness of the iron implement against the hardened earth.They take turns to rest every once in a while. Their women collect the dug up earth and heap it in one corner, while a child or two wrapped in rags sleeps in a corner and is moved places as the sun moves direction. I think of the effect of this activity on their lungs, heart,skin and whatever else.It all seems so inhuman and I feel there should be a ban on making men do such jobs. It is just not right.

Today in the neighbouring plot, a fancy machine has come to do the same job -it looks like a dinosaur motorised and on tyres. In one day the diggingwill be done for the same sized plot and the earth trucked away to some other location. One man sits on the dinomotor and pulls at various levers and steers the machine in different directions, which digs the earth with its claws , and then scoops up the earth in loads and drops them in a truck which is then driven away to dump it. It is a delight to watch the machine work so efficiently except for the terrible noise of the engine. Now this is right!

As I stand there watching, I see the men and women from the opposite plot watch the machine too. And in their looks I see despair, anger and fear of future.
I do not know what is right any more.
1 Response
  1. Good observation, Usha. Yes, a difficult choice, this.