Some worry, and Muneshwara

A street in RMV 2nd Stage, Bangalore

A street in RMV 2nd Stage, Bangalore

A street in RMV 2nd Stage

The other day when I passed the apartment block that is nearing completion at the end of our street, one of two mongrel pups got named. "Your name is Pinky," a boy still in school dress told the black-nosed brown thing, while another boy crouched on the ground and tied an improvised collar on Pinky's twin. The boys looked like they were themselves of a single litter, so identical they seemed.

They were from the huts of the construction workers, and they were taking home two more mouths to feed. Off a paltry budget, as I can imagine. The huts are at the foot of the apartment block, metal boxes quite a bit like kennels, and ready to go from site to site. The boxes are familiar to me: on Sundays there is the warm smell of meat and strong spice from them.

Two years ago it seemed the building would never be finished. The scaffolding upon it collapsed one day and killed some workmen, and work on the building froze altogether. The whisper was that the promoters had run out of cash, and that there was a jinx on the building because it is built on an old cemetery and upon a shrine for Lord Muneshawara, the God who dwells on the outside of a village and keeps it safe. Which astrologer gave that builder so much courage? And failed?

But in the last two years a major builder has taken over the project and brought it to an attractive finish. "Hurry, only a few apartments left," the signboard at the gate says, but it is not clear that it is an honest announcement. In the meantime, what has been done regarding the spot where the workmen died? It would be an inauspicious spot. Perhaps that place is redone as a common utility, so none need fear a curse directed singly on them.

I am worrying about the traffic that will increase when all the apartments are truly taken, and because I am ashamed to tell you, I won't mention the prayers I've been making to Muneshwara.