I went again to Hassan this week. We were twelve this time, and we spent most of our time in the hotel, making plans. We went to the factory-site for two hours, inspected the construction works, and walked about on our land. We went down to the edge to the river — two ribbons of water under the dilapidated bridge that runs up to our property.

We didn't stand there for long. I'd spoken often about the river with my colleagues, and they were looking forward to seeing it. They were in high spirits and had fun all the same: they brought down mangoes with stone and stick and pulled out some unripe jack-fruit to take home for curry. We went up to the lake, which is dry despite last week's rains. Our neighbours who farm the acres next to ours came out of their tile-roof home. They asked questions without being inquisitive. Their cattle stood about us on the bund-road, and some crossed the bund and went down to the lake-water. The neighbours told us the lake is leaking through the bund, but they were confident the government would in time fix it.

The sun was now level with the distant tip of the straight road which rises steadily from the bund. The cloud had diffused it. The construction-workers started for home and walked without looking tired. My colleagues had brought sweets for them which they received in silence, saying thanks with only a shift of lines on the face. A half-moon shone above and looked vain, his light working only for himself.

Our contractor has brought his labor from Bangalore. He recruits from the village when he is short of hands. Sujaya was astonished at the beauty of those women. I saw them too: they are tall, they have high cheeks, large bones, appear healthy, and they have a pleasing gait. They speak easily with the men. As they went up the road, a cart appeared on the corner selling tobacco and pan-masala.

It's all very promising. A deep trench is dug on our boundary for a high wall to stand. A micro-economy has sent out its baby roots.


Image: © tele52/123RF.COM