The Morning Meeting

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 !

20 thoughts on “The Morning Meeting

  1. Aleta says:

    Hehe. Different characters, same story. I understand. I like how they are sitting, as if they have created their own make-shift office room to conduct business meetings. Who cares that the walls are not up, that their ceiling is the sky and a meeting desk is missing. In some ways, one could envy their “meeting” atmosphere. Yes, old plot, but fun to watch and not be in it. Enjoyed!

  2. So whether the building is complete or yet-to-be-completed, whether the actors are indoors or outdoors, the drama between the boss and the bossed continues…loved the post.

  3. Seems productivity is much higher then AC room morning meetings, with coffee and snacks… but think of rain and winter of Delhi, many days will be off from meeting / job 🙂

  4. Listening to the bark
    of the helmeted one,
    His eyes
    over the scaffolding
    He sees
    a field in the wind,
    a stationery plough,
    a quiet dawn,
    presided over by
    a giant banyan tree,
    And a wisp of a woman,
    saree tucked in
    a cloth wrapped lunch
    “Take this,
    your lunch,
    I know you’ll be late
    you have a meeting
    with the Rain God…”

    And he shudders,
    as a firm hand
    on his never-give-up
    “Chalo chalo,hurry up,
    Aaj slab puri karni hai…..”

    Kavi, there is some stuff happening right next to my building, at a pace and schedule that tires one, just listening to the noise. And there is always less “Human” and more “Resources management” going on….

    A great post…

  5. nsiyer says:

    Kavi, the thought that passed through my mind is that these men create. From small brick blocks to tall structures where we all live. In the houses we live, these labourers stayed during construction – the original creators and owners. They create the agic for us and in the end they are all forgotten (but heroes accrding to me).

  6. What happened next after an year ?
    – I wish a post if possible.

  7. Lou says:

    I do not like meetings;(

    You will be able to watch this unfold all the way to the first people moving in. Ah, the dialogues you will imagine, Kavi!

  8. manju says:

    There are meetings everywhere it seems! And in every profession. It’s part of life for human beings…

  9. Swatantra says:

    Meetings!! Nice pictures!! Great post!! Amazing linkage..

  10. Pearl says:

    Ah, Kavi, we have much in common. I, too, am fascinated by groups, imagining their conversatons, the self-importance of the man up front, the laughter at the back…


  11. I know, watching a construction work and taking notice of minute things is very addictive.

  12. I think the Japanese philosophy of beginning the day with a short meeting seems to be catching up.

    May be we should begin our day with a short meeting over tea with our ‘missus’.


  13. Rush says:

    lol…good one.
    laughing even louder at viveks comment

    of the long hour meetings, wats relevant is possibly 10 min and the rest is complete hogwash…i wonder wat the construction workers must b discussing in their early morning meets.

  14. Rush says:

    ur every post is like a story…dragging me in and creating that long lasting impression and finally a morale at the end…its become a habit now before bedtime, i peek into kavis musings 🙂

  15. Shobha says:

    I have to agree with Rush….its become a habit for me to log in and first check Kavi’s musings :). Interesting post…. Keep on observing and tell us all about everything that you have seen….. even what the missus has to comment.

  16. Aparna says:

    Wonder what they were discussing when they pointed out to the building next door. Wonder whether they also start their days with a meeting with wives over a cup of tea.
    Amazing post. You have this wonderful ability to create a story out of nothing. Love your posts.

  17. Kavi says:

    Aleta : What an imagination ! I am not sure if they have any idea of what it is to sit in an office and have this discussion ! This is their routine !!!

    Thanks for the comment ! 🙂

    Sucharita : The drama of the boss…well, dont get me started on that. The missus reads comments as well ! 🙂

    Ujjwal : And those AC room meetings usually dont get us beyond the week. And here, its a different story…

    How have you been ? Its been a long time !

    Ugich Konitari : Less ‘human more resourse management’ !!! LOL !!

    Thats the way with life in itself. I guess !!

    Take a bow once again. To the poetry and the reference on Strewn Ashes !

    NS Iyer : They are the ones that create. But they themselves live in shanties. Like the weavers of Kanchipuram not being able to afford the silk !

    Hobo : The building comes up. And the people move on. And the people in the building attend meetings in various offices !

    Thats plausible ! 🙂

    Lou : Ok..that makes the two of us ! And yet, meetings form the lifeline of corporate life !

    Manju : You cant have said it better. They are so ubiquitous in their presence !

    Swatantra : Thank you indeed !

    Pearl : And the laughter at the back…and the fiddling with the mobile phones and whatever that can be fiddled with !!

    Kamal : Addictive ! You bet !

    VSP : That tea time is the time for duty assignment. In Japanese meetings sir !

    In anycase, that happens. With or without meeting. And you know who is in charge !

    Rush : OOOh ! That was a very generous comment ! Thank you indeed !

    Shobha : The missus is sure going to be very happy with that ! Thank you indeed for the generous comment. The show stays on !!


    Aparna : I wonder too ! I wonder too !

    Thank you !!

  18. Jeevan says:

    I love watching construction site and road works, in past I used to spend many times on balcony seeing activities on road. The meeting may seems interesting and fun from above, but only knows the trouble when your turn comes in office. hehe…

    These days I spend more time on supplementary and articles in newspaper more than news.

  19. morning meetings.. almost always synonymous with pain of some sort.

    nicely captured and beautifully woven..

    as usual


  20. niru says:

    Hey Kavi,

    What a coincidence! Appa was also observing on how depressing our newspaper is and then I read your post and found a quiet line mentioning “For news doesn’t get beyond Swine Flu or dacoity or rape or recession.”

    Appa was sharing that he saw a front page article in a newspaper in Israel of a farmer who had just turned 80 but continued to till his land and run a successful agricultural business. This was the headline when the previous day the city had been bombed.The newspaper chose to run an article that was filled with hope and bright possibility.

    I guess our newspaper cannot find inspirational stories in our 1.3 bn population.

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