The other day, don't ask me which day, I was walking down the road near my room with a plate of momos in hand and ARR's blissful music in my ears, heading to the local construction site nearby to watch them do their work. Before you re-read that sentence, let me tell you that I like watching construction. It is one of those things that takes my mind off whenever I trouble it with many a thought.
I remember this 14 floor apartment near my house back in Chennai which was under construction while I was in school. It took them three years to complete it. Many an evening of the three years of my forgettable teenage was spent watching the men and women who came from afar, mix cement, sift sand and bend iron rods. Watching construction gives me a sense of satisfaction. It tells me that things once started, however slow they proceed, do come to an end. It gives me optimism when in the back of my mind, I know that this particular building has come up here surviving the wrath of the Indian Bureaucracy. That is a revelation and a relief. When you can construct something in India, crossing all the corruption, the delays and the sheer laziness of the government employees, life's but a joke.
There are times that this quirk of mine took me places. Once, back in the days when a motorbike mocked my height, I was stuck with the trusty rusty cycle. Obsessed with watching anything that was being constructed, I cycled a good 8 kms to sit and watch the construction of a flyover. I remember that evening pretty well for two reasons. One being the above and the second being the fact that I went all the way there to watch a huge yellow crane place a portion of the flyover between two pillars. Weirdly, it was very satisfying to watch this. I bought myself a pack of chips and stationed myself on a huge rock that was lying on the ground.
With chips in hand and the cycle in my eye-sight, I sat there watching the crane, the man in the crane, the men outside the crane and the two men on a ladder on each of the two pillars, shouting constant instructions to the crane handler. For three hours, long after my chips pack travelled through my large intestines, the men successfully placed the connecting piece of road between the two pillars. I didn't realise it was done until the men climbed down their ladders and the crane man switched it off and the growling thing came to a stand still.
And this wasn't just a one off incident. Whenever I reached the playground earlier than my friends, or when I aimlessly roamed around an area just because I didn't feel like going back home, I used to look for construction sites and spent time there.
Here in Delhi, my room's window opens to a construction site. A big small stadium being constructed for the Commonwealth Games. Even though it brings in loads of dust, even though there are drilling and hammering sounds 24X7, I love watching the action of construction.
PS: Why do we call a building a building, even after it's built?!