India !

Johannes Manjrekar

Republic Day morning

The cement mixer grinds and clunks as it rotates. Though the sun is well up, it is not yet visible through the morning's mist and clouds. The rising apartment building - three floors high so far - has a flat and featureless greyness in the half-hearted light. A smell of burning rubber rises from the small fire by which the watchman is warming himself. The construction labourers, mostly women, are standing in a line which stretches from the cement mixer to the building. Flat iron pans are relayed along the line, filled with cement in one direction and empty in the other. On a pile of sand by the cement mixer, three small children are playing with a stray pup while their mothers work.

construction site
a scarred dog stakes its claim
to the territory

On the road outside the site are parked the contractor's car and a row of cycles. There is little traffic, since it's a national holiday. A late morning walker energetically marches past, arms working like pistons.

Republic Day
two little plastic flags
on the labourer's cycle


Copyright Johannes Manjrekar, 2004