23 September 2006

Cement Pour

Many ladies do construction work and contractors like hiring them because they can pay them less and control them more easily. The average lady construction labourer gets around Rs.60/- for a full day's work. Which is dreadful considering a litre of milk costs Rs.14/-, low quality rice Rs.20/- per kilo and a cheap pair of cheap rubber flip-flop sandals Rs.30/-. Unfortunately this kind of work also leads to serious health problems with back and internal organs.

This is a cement pour on the roof of a house under construction off the Perumbakkam Road, south of Arunachala. A small cement mixer, rotating at the back of the picture, is being fed by lines of ladies carrying stone, sand and cement in metal basins balanced on their heads.

The lady in the photograph seems to be swanning along effortlessly in her sari and tight blouse; don't buy into the facade, this is back breaking, soul crunching work. As always the young guys are the supervisers (in this instance watching the cement mixer) while the ladies are left to do the grunt work!


Divyakka said...

How eye-opening, as in western countries one sees mainly strong men performing such back breaking work.


It is exactly as you say. Though some improvement (including the mentalities of women) is seen in the cities and among very well educated women, still most of the country is villages where the same old things are happening and the same old mentality and routine is going on, day after day. And this is 2006 - why do most villages in India still not have water supply in the houses?! And why do most village Indians still go off to the fields or tanks or on the roadside to go to the bathroom? Of course, it is because they do not have money to build them in their houses and huts.

Arunachala Living said...

The real cruncher is to see the perfectly useless young men on construction sites just hanging out watching these women work like dogs the whole day and know that they are getting twice as much pay and probably also making extra in bribes too! Ugh!