Sunday, April 5, 2015

Site Stories.

Do you want to hear a story? Let me tell you two, tu bhi kya yaad rakey ga, kis dildar key saath pala paara tha (you too shall remember what sort of kind hearted person you had met) :p . 

So, let's go back to the rhythm. Do you want to hear a story? Let me tell you two stories. These are true stories and I will not give you the names. Any resemblance to real life characters in reality is truly coincidental or intentional? Nah. 

Some stories are worth to share, not because they are good tales or something that would change your lives or that would give you morals or philosophical wisdoms, but some stories are just worth to share because they are ordinary tales of ordinary men, no accolades, no achievements, forgotten ones, one that was never told, the unsung heroes one might call.

When we hear about Engineers, people do have a very negative image of them: engineers are supposed to be rich as they are most often seen as a corrupt commodity of society. And if one engineer can’t pay some bills for a while, don’t hesitate to hear a tantrum – how could that be possible? You are an engineer! But well, engineers are also men obliged with their own responsibilities. It is their own principle whether to be a corrupt one or not?

Mr. Lal Bahadur was a young engineer, he had just graduated from his college, CST and was very much lured with the idea that he would not join civil service. He had his own share of responsibilities and his own share of problems. A middle class engineer will always be middle class engineer. That’s the thing about capitalism, you will never run short of people who will work for the shittiest things because, his designation doesn’t obligate not to do the jobs, what he might inherit from his parents does.

Civil service at times have been mean to technical folks, some of them (technical chaps) were being placed at wrong jobs. Like Mechanical engineer was looking after a building construction or an electrical engineer was distributing pamphlets during Orientation time. Now don’t you dare start with dignity of labour crap with me, one day or two or maybe a week, one can cope up. But four years of engineering and you are doing data punching all along? Not every engineer might enjoy the job.

For some reason, Lal Bahadur had his own reasons and never appeared for civil service. He then joined DGPC. He was placed as Assistant Engineer. He was assigned to construct one of the colonies where DGPC employees had to settle. Even though Lal was just an Assistant Engineer, he was made the site in charge. His bosses had left for other hydropower projects on deputation. It was very much hectic for Mr. Lal to look after the entire project. The project was worth cores and when one is assigned to build a colony, everything comes as a big package. He had to construct walls, buildings, drains, water supply, etc. Every other thing that engineering is, just a chap right out of college, and he had to do everything, right away from executing to making payments to various contractors. At one point Lal had to write more than 40 Measurement books. 

One would understand the gravity of this position if only one is assigned with a project of that magnitude, we call them Managing Director, Haa haa. But Lal was a fighter and he wasn’t going to give up now. He worked hard every day, and that is the thing with construction business, you just have to work hard work and be patient, because youdon't see your results over night. Sometimes the best concreted columns will just show signs of weakness after months or gets misaligned, or your plaster simply wears off or cracks down just because you hadn’t anticipated heavy vehicle movements near the areas of buildings or your foreman just added more water while you were attending other sites, sometimes your people will just screw up because they won’t have the very picture that you have imagined and the list goes on.

That was Lal’s story, day in and day out, coming home middle of the night, leaving for job early in the morning. Educating his sibling and trying his best at work.

Lal fell in love with one of the teachers; she lived somewhere very much far from where he did. They had talked over the phone and now, had made their minds to get married. There is something about pretty faced people, no matter where they go, there will never be shortage of admirers. She too was admired and no matter how much Lal had expressed his love and promises, she couldn’t wait. She couldn’t wait because she thought Lal had issues, or rather he was never there for her. She thought Lal was simply a workaholic person. She rather chose someone slightly older to Lal and got married to him. Or was it a slab casting that made him not to visit her? We would never know. 

Lal was totally devastated, but he never left his site. He knew he was required there more than anywhere in the world. He then met another girl as well, and Lal being a normal engineer guy, he didn’t understand the world of dating pretty well. Most of the engineers are very much confused about the dating world; they simply don’t get how to woo a woman. I have noticed this in many engineers, both in India and Bhutan. They tend to act very much nervous around ladies and they could be great friends, but they are never good at expressing their feelings. Lal wasn’t exception either. The other girl told Lal that she wanted to enjoy life and serious commitment wasn’t something she was looking from Lal. If it would have been other normal men, we know the aftermath from Sidney Sheldon novels, but Jackass Lal got hurt instead and lived in his own solitary confinement. His work on the other hand was coming to completion, and he was very much appreciated by people around him. He was honest, dedicated and worked very hard. Not many Assistant Engineers could have done what he did in his first three years of career. When the colony was completed, everybody appreciated him for his job. There was no increment nor was there promotions, but his bosses liked him through his work.

Three years had passed, his life’s three years had passed and he had given one of the best colonies to DGPC people. He was called to Thimphu Head Quarters from there on. But what he had sacrificed over three years was something only he knew. And no matter how many times I tried to put myself in his shoes, I always failed to understand the intensity of heart breaks he had gone through.

You see, there will be many engineers in Bhutan, who will be working in most of the remote areas of Bhutan, someone is fixing your water supply or someone is fixing roads in the most risky places of Bhutan or at the highest elevation someone is battling for lakes not to burst, someone is doing preliminary studies for some upcoming projects into some subtropical jungle, and the list goes on, I am too lazy now to convince anybody. And not everybody gets good pay, the risks and responsibilities however are much larger though. One wrong entry in measurement book and you are held accountable even after a decade or two. 

But Lal’s story is special. It was something not every fresh graduates would experience in his career, his worth and experience will surely amount something in future, I could see that.

But what are stories if you don’t have happy endings? My friend Tashi taught me that, we already are so much messed up in real lives, that when we don’t give happy endings in stories, it simply seems normal.

And this too is a true ending for Lal. Lal today went for Australia with his beautiful wife. Lal surely has whole chunk of future to be conquered. I wish him luck in his future endeavours.

The third story will begin somewhere, high up in the mountains of Paro. There are group of engineers who are working tirelessly, who are working in cold weather. They are doing something for which the whole of nation would remember them for. They are building buildings bigger than Trashichhoe Dzong, they are building Royal Academy. Say, Sonam a young Engineer just got up around 5am, he felt his body ached because the previous night, they had meeting till 12am. His story was yet to be heard, for the project has just begun. I am yet to hear stories, because when big projects come up, there's always a sacrifice.

The fourth story will begin somewhere in Bajothang, a person known as Dawa Knight just finished his 15th cigarette of the day. He yawned in his office which was abandoned even by the night guards. He was working on something he was obliged not to be shared ever under the obligation of Oath of Secrecy. Four more hours and I can do it, he said to himself and played Aap Bokto in the back ground. :p Just kidding, I don't think my stories would amount to any of the sacrifices comparing to those folks & I don't have speakers in office to play songs. 

Ps: Now you might remind me what about the second one? Well, patience friends. Nothing happens overnight. The second one is a very complex one, for that engineer became one of the highest paid engineers in Bhutan but never got married. 
And Lal is one of my brothers. He became so fat at one point, and he was just eating koka lo. 

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