The Stars Are Closer

It was a big day today. The culmination of three months hard work. The first lintel was constructed at the site. It was a perfect day today. The sun rose on time as predicted by the newspapers and it was bright and sunny throughout the day with no traces of any cloud. We started our work with the first rays of the sun and ended it just before the last rays. From sunrise to sunset. It was a completely different feeling seeing the cement, water and aggregates getting mixed and forming the solid concrete. It is about thirty tones of weight standing there right now, steel and concrete included. Watching lot by lot of concrete being poured into the frames set with steel bars, it gave a deep satisfaction to the mind. Even though I was standing all the time continuously for eight hours, the tiredness, the exhaustion was invisible until when all was set and done and it was time to get home. The ecstasy that I felt when I realized that this is something that I am building, something that will change the look and feel of the neighborhood, imagining the ways it will have a direct or indirect effect on the many people involved with us; that feeling, above all gave me a sense of achievement and pride. Though it is just the beginning yet and there is a lot more for me to do and learn, but these are among the first steps I am taking on a long road ahead, where the destination is not yet clear and the path not yet set.

The smile on the face of the laborers was a sight to see among itself. It is ironical when you realize that you have never seen multibillion dollar businessmen ever smile that broadly or genuinely anytime, anywhere. They were happy in the moment and content in the knowledge that the work they are doing now will be able to satisfy their hunger as well as that of their family members. A human works and earns so that he can lead a happy and comfortable life. And those laborers today showed me a different meaning of happiness and contentment. Presence of money in hand never gives the kind of feeling the building gave me when I felt the bricks getting laid and the concrete getting set. The land is yours, and the building you construct is yours. It is your mark on the map of the world. This is what matters. This is what will stand even after I am gone and my descendents make use of this building. My heart fills with pride and joy when I look at the eighty year old house my great-grandfather built. It is still standing and still in use. When I see the bricks from our old kilns bearing the stamp of my grandfather and his father, it is as if that piece of cooked soil is a means by which I can communicate with them and ask for their blessings and they in turn can communicate to me their hopes and aspirations for the family. I have to realize the importance of the family name in your own city in these past few months. My ancestors had built a reputation for the family in the city that stands even till date among all the old families of the city. And even though many generations have passed and the younger generations do not know each other, but the stories and reputations of each other’s ancestors are known to all. It is when I stand at the top of the newly constructed floor looking at the developing skyline of my city with the sun setting in my eyes that I realize that the stars shining down on me since forever, are now twelve feet closer.


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