he lays the floor

who built my home?

we moved in two weeks ago…

for almost one and a half months prior to that there were workers in our house.. masons, carpenters, painters, plumbers, electricians, polishers… an army of more than 15 different people at different times getting the house in place for my family of 2 to move in.

i visited the house often during the day to get a sense of the space, get a vibe, supervise and take a call if there were any roadblocks. i would sit and watch the workers toiling over corners, their work would translate into my home.

but how did it feel to be building, toiling, sweating over something endlessly when you can never own something like this?

i asked A, and he said they won’t feel different from the engineers at a BMW workshop, they build a beautiful machine they can never own… do you pause and think about them as unfortunate?

is it the same?

he lays the floor

. . . . i come another day to explain how i want the brick pillar in the drawing room with bricks THIS way and NOT that… it gives me 3 inches more, i say…

and pause…

i wonder whether he thinks i am greedy. his entire house is probably the size of my kitchen, and there might be more than 6 people living there.. with shared spaces, shared corners even for couples…

i live in this entire space with just 1 more person. how much do i need to be happy?
. . . . my friend’s come to check out the house. she lives in gurgaon in a huge apartment. we bicker about bombay and its matchbox houses. the carpenter keeps hammering the nails into the ‘wall-to-wall-to-ceiling’ wardrobe. when i come in early morning or late night i see their work clothes tucked away in the corner. each time he comes in, the worker removes his neat pant and shirt wears his worn, dirty clothes and settles down for the day of work. his out-side clothes are neatly hanging from the corner of the cupboard.

is that enough space for all your clothes, she asked, you guys really have less storage. are you sure? 

my cupboard with their clothes
my cupboard with their clothes

i always rang the bell. yes, it is my house, and i did have the keys to the house… didn’t want to shock or surprise the workers. i would ring once, hope they would hear it above the sound of the drill machine, the mechanical saw…ring once more, and wait.


. . . . we’ve moved in now. the workers come for some tiny chores that have spilled over. the toilet they were using is now mine, the house has now taken on my personality, my colours… they tread carefully, almost worried they will leave behind a mark. just as i tip-toed among the wood shavings, nails and hammer a month ago. the carpenter who built my cupboard, bookshelf, kitchen from scratch pauses and asks me tentatively, ‘madam, can i use this loo now?’ 

9 thoughts on “who built my home?

  1. Beautiful post 🙂 Well, in this profit driven system of production, workers are always alienated from the products they them self create. That also holds true for engineers in BMW workshop, in my opinion. Hopefully a day we’ll all be able to work that is intrinsic to our nature and with it all the unhappiness and discontent shall wither away.


  2. thanks sudha… your comment made me revisit this post, and the emotions… and it got me thinking about all the people who had trooped over the last three months all over again… i don’t know if i will ever meet them again, and i had wanted an entire canvas with all their signatures on it. wonder why i didn’t go ahead and get it done now…


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