Life on construction sites – A peek

With the real estate business booming, we see tons of apartment buildings coming up. And typically, the constrution workers live right next to the site, if there is empty space avaialble for the erection of a fairly permanent living set up. I have had the opportunity to observe a couple of such set-ups for a few months now. Usually, these workers are from far away places, mostly from rural North India. The following picture shows one such set up where the construction workers live and lead fairly normal lives.

A typical construction site ‘village’, with a bunch of homes and a main street!

This ‘village’ has about a dozen families and each family gets one shed. All they have is the 5 tin sheets; on all 4 sides and one over their heads. They seem to live fairly peaceful lives, raising their kids, cooking and cleaning, and working from morn to night at the nearby construction site. This bunch of people speak a dialect of Hindi. There are lots of children, none of whom seem to go to schools. In the below pic, the kids are enjoying a game of cricket.

A game of cricket

There is this one child that I have heard crying constantly. I have heard this child cry at night and during the day. Sometimes all by herself, when the mother is probably working at the site.

Going about their morning activities

These people have no bathroom facilities of any sort. I have seen the men folk go about their morning nature calls amongst the shrubs in the vast open land. Surprisingly, I have rarely seen the women attending to nature’s calls. They probably finish up their morning rituals and bathing before day break, seeking privacy in the comforts of darkness.

Finding a place to squat and defecate

The men literally hose themselves down using the water from the construction site.

Bathing with a hose pipe!

They spend most of the day doing hard labor. The women folk do a lot of physical labor too.

Hard at work under the hot sun

Seemingly peaceful!

You can see smoke rise from these sheds in the mornings and in the evenings, when they cook their meals. They do play the radio often and enjoy some loud Bollywood music on the FMs. A recent development: they have a black and white television set. This TV is in one tent, and all of them gather to watch movies, soaps etc!

The next couple of pictures are from yet another such set up. This ‘village’ does not seem to be as “evolved” as the one above, what with tarpauline sheets forming tents. These tents are not laid in too much of an order like the sheds above.

Yet another construction site ‘village’

Zooming in on their activities

As the sun sets and the long shadows are formed, these families retire into their sheds and tents for some much needed rest!

8 Comments so far

  1. Prabhu (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 10:45 pm

    Good write up. Imagine living in those tin sheets in this hot summer. Sad :(

  2. chethan (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:46 pm

    chitra-avare, nice post. This post reminds me of Jayant Kaikini’s short stories, because many of his stories revolve around such life in Bombay. I would recommend you to read it if you haven’t already.

  3. Ravi (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:47 pm

    “…usually, these workers are from far away places, mostly from rural North India.” Till recently, a lot of migrant labourers were easily sourced from Tamil Nadu..i.e Salem, Namakkal, Dharmapuri areas. Times seen to have changed. Great writeup with topical pics. Kudos to you, Chitra.

  4. Chitra (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2007 @ 8:09 am

    Thanks all!

    Chethan, thanks for the recommendation. I am afraid I have never read Kaikini’s works.

    Ravi, I think there are still laborers from TN, mostly working on smaller projects.

  5. NAREN (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2007 @ 10:54 am

    Here is Real Story which Revolves around the life in construction Site by Ex-Metro Blogger Shruthi!!!!!!! Many Old Bloggers remember i believe….

    Jayanth kaikini’s Stories are Awesome!!! even the Bandaya Sahithya From Baraguru ramchandrappa… Sidlingaiah… etc. Revolves around the People From Villages!

  6. Which Main? What Cross? (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

    Here are the smoke stains for the stove used by a family of construction workers. when they had gone back to Tamil Nadu after the recent threats of violence following the Cauvery Tribunal Award to TN. I have to report that they are back now.

  7. Furniture Bengalooru (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2007 @ 3:31 pm

    If you need a online map to locate in bangalore you can visit Bengalooru Map

  8. some body (unregistered) on May 30th, 2007 @ 9:24 pm

    other similar reads …


    – s.b.

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