Thursday, January 12, 2006

Laborers and Us

There is a construction boom going on in Hyderabad too, like in most cities in India. In fact, I think there's a big apartment complex coming right next to the building where I stay in. And lots of buildings coming up in the Madhapur area here, near Cyberabad. Many of my friends seem to be buying houses of Rs.30-40 lakhs. I am sure the builders are making lots of money.

But I still see the laborers the same way as far back as I can remember. They are still dressed the same, they don’t wear any uniforms or protective gear. Their kids still play on the mounds of earth and pebbles. Their shanty huts with the blue waterproof covering still appear the same as they used to when I was a kid in Delhi. And they still warm themselves in these winter nights out in the open with small fires.

Well, maybe there's no cosmetic change, maybe there's a real difference? Maybe they earn more money? Maybe they have some insurance??? Maybe they aren't too different from the rest of us. If they are immigrant laborers from out of town, maybe this is their onsite project and this is their onsite package. Maybe they go back home a little richer, a little better off and party in their own way? Maybe just like us consultants and professionals, they feel the bad food, the loneliness, the travel is worth it. Does this add a bullet point in their CV? And do they go back and talk about Hyderabad just like we would talk about Houston?

Who am I insulting here, us or them?

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