My office is situated on the fourth floor of a commercial complex. The lift plying in the building is old & worn out. It often gets stuck and ceases to work and hence, climbing four floors becomes a task. Though we all consider ourselves supremely fit but by the time one reaches the top floor there is complete breathlessness and it takes few seconds before one recovers the lost breath.
Last month the occupants of the building decided to install a new lift. As the whole process would take at least a month or two to complete, everyone in office knew that for some time at least, climbing the stairs each morning is going to be a task.
As the work started there was complete chaos with regard to pollution; both air and noise and the constant disturbance was a hindrance in work.
Coping up with all the personal discomfort, one day while climbing the stairs, I came across a construction worker who was climbing the stairs in a slow pace as he was carrying load of bricks on his head. The guy was bare foot, was wearing tattered half pants and a thin cotton shirt, but in spite of this he was climbing the stairs in total composure. Being under-dressed, all covered with dust and the heavy burden brought no signs of anxiety on his face.
Observing that worker, a thought flashed my mind; we think of our discomfort but how about this construction worker who in spite of the harsh winter, inappropriate clothing and footwear is still climbing the stairs at least fifty times a day along with all the bulky construction material on his head. What a pity, I thought?
Our office is one instance but there are many sights like these that one comes across each day. As a result of a volatile infrastructure sector and primitive methods of construction involving a lot of manual work, there are millions of constructions workers all over the country who work in the similar working conditions. No matter what the weather is; whether it is harsh summers, cold winters or rainy season, these construction workers tirelessly work for their employers, not caring about anything; the dust, the weather or the height they have to climb with loads of bulky materials on their head.
The other part that pains me is that this class of people works for months and years on a site; building houses and other stuff and then move on. In some cases, till the time the work on one site is not over it becomes their home but as soon as the work gets finished, they move on to another site and make that their temporary house. These migrant laborers are the natives of far-off places in different parts of the country and come to the city to earn their livelihood. They make hundred of beautiful houses in their lifetime but all their life do not have one of their own; not even a basic one. Only the makeshift houses that they make on each site are their temporary homes.
Though I never doubt and question the destiny theory but still feel sad for these people who struggle all their life but are never able to acquire a roof over their head. Living away from the families all their life, they remain in hand –to –mouth situation and are never able to improve their living conditions, as along with looking after themselves they also have to take care of their families who live in outlying areas which are deprived and still lack the basic necessities. Sad!
Though the country boasts of development, but the fact is that till today a substantial part of the country still reels in poverty and is deprived of the basics. They are completely cut–off from the progressive world and are totally unaware of the surroundings. These people till today live in such impoverished conditions which is beyond imagination. The situations like these are depressive and we should seriously try to find solutions to them and end the oppression we are also a part of.
Author-`THE PERENNIAL JOURNEY’