Adjacent to where we live here in Mumbai, theres this new apartment complex that’s on its way up. And there is so much life to watch in a construction activity. ( just try watching one)
Different characters adorn the landscape. There are the engineering types. With helmets et al, who stand in a corner and bark. There are the supervisory types who speak both to the workmen and the engineers.
There are the workmen themselves and their wives. Carrying the load up those floors or heaving cement or doing whatever they are paid to do. And activity sees the towers climb up. All the time.
But, there is one group activity that takes place in the morning. And that is the ‘morning meeting’. (I see from the balcony far away from them, and i cant hear a thing of what they say. But looking through the camera’s lens i make my own dialogue. To their gestures and moves).
They sit, usually, in a single file. On those iron rods. And they always seem to be an engaged lot. Often there are the supervisors who seem to be doing all the talking. As the rest of them sip their tea. Or whatever.
Occasionally there are others who point to the building that’s coming up and say something. And then, you can see the supervisors talk for half an hour.
Around them bricks, steel, cement and such else.
Very often, I read my newspapers. with one eye on them and their meetings. Often times, their meetings are far more interesting than the news. For news doesn’t get beyond Swine Flu or dacoity or rape or recession. Or of Buchanan writing a book and every quaint dust particle in the neighbourhood fluttering a protest.
And so, i watch these meetings. One day a neighbour peeps out of his balcony. And sees me seeing them. He smiles at me. ‘Meetings eh !‘
I nod. And smile.
And then looks into his watch and says, ‘in half an hour, i will be at office. And there will be a meeting there and action replay. And i will be part of the drama’
I want to add..’Perhaps new Scene. Old plot. Same drama ! But he is in a hurry. He is gone. And i tell myself, poor man, he has to play his part. Soon.
And then i hear the missus shout, ‘aren’t you getting late for work‘ . And i look into my watch. And hurry for breakfast.
She spots the hurry. With hands on hips, she asks, ‘so you have a meeting today’. I think of the supervisors below. And let go of a sheepish smile.
Old plot, you see !