Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Office Office II

Office is fine. Lunch is fine. AutoCad is fine. But sadly, my training is not confined to that. Once is a while, I have to visit...THE SITE!

Site visits embarrass me. It is a completely different world where the tread of a staircase is called TAPPA and reinforcement is called SARIYA. (I know a D grade in Structures in 3 consecutive semesters doesn't make me much of an expert of the subject, but still...).I know a great deal about cement and how it is different from aggregate (But I am still not sure what the little stones are called.)

People here are like aliens. Stepping out of that little cocoon of middle-class people and 3 meals a day society, I am confronted by names I hear in offbeat movies (and quite often from Swapnil)- Nathuraam ji , Dharampaal ji!

Clients are a better deal anyday. They are my people! I don't want to name them (ok. that was exaggerated- I don't want to name him). My people come from a world where we assume a minimum level of intelligence from others and a much higher level from ourselves. Hence, a comment like 'This will be out of proportion, scale and harmony' would get me affirmative nods from him, while I wouldn't understand the boombastic words I uttered myself...See, ignorance from others I can handle...But here...

The site is all rubble and red masonry. Through my boss, I know waatar-proofingg is currently being supervised. Somehow, I can't find the water, and all the material is either brick or grey! I try and ask the labourers my doubt(s) in their lingo - "ye sariya kab dalega ?. He says something I partially comprehend. Like my favourite client, I nod understandingly, scribble some scribble on a paper and move on. I make a mental note to read about waterproofing using Google. I smile at the little thought that pops in my head - The things I want to know are so trivial or pointless to them ! Like where is the material being stored ? What precautions are being taken for some thing ?

Precautions? In Delhi? In any pseudo-posh locality in the captial, construction simply comes down to constructing a monstrous facade, embellished with corinthian fake colums and fake arches and fake doors. Like blinders, the 2 neighbouring monsters allow this monster to show only a face and a butt. Hence all the money and effort are pooled in to make things look glossy. The back side is the truly negelcted butt of the family. A sliver of space at the back is left unused due to stringent by-laws. This is eventually covered by a grotesque corrugated sheet by my dear dilli-waalas to create more space. GIVE ME MORE! MORE! MORE! A city bred on pushing-the-world-aside and getting-my-work-done fundaa won't give two hoots to public comfort...

Hence the stones and sand indifferently spill over on the thin lane. A pipe gurgling water makes murky patches. A few labourers and my pal Nathuraam ji sit outside the compound smoking their favourite brand of bee-dee. I approach them awkwardly, examining my mentor of architecture and construction.

God save me. God save architecture.

3 comments:

  1. hehehe...you never were very bright, were you Iyer??? ;)but i agree...nodding and pretending to understand will get u much further than butting in and asking a really stupid question

    ReplyDelete
  2. Aha-our very own Howard Roarke!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. 3 years since this post, you must be an ace at handling nathuramji by now :)

    I myself have googled lots of times, to read up stuff what they forgot to tell you in design school.

    I agree, god save architecture.

    ReplyDelete