Hope floats on the rough road

Hope floats on the rough road

Its a struggle out there

“Where will I go for food to feed him? His mother is also not healthy. This place is like that, the rich keep getting richer and the poor starve to death,” said the father Guruprasad while his son showed no signs of letting up.

No more than fifty metres behind their residence is Noida’s government allotted Techpark, and sign on a giant glass building, an obvious symbol of the divide between rich and poor, reads, ‘Feel the adrenaline rush that is Formula One’. It is indeed ironical that one of the most expensive sports in the world is being hosted in the vicinity of a locality that has homeless taking shelter under a tree or in a dilapidated car.

Let’s take Greater Noida itself for instance. Right outside the main gate of the Buddh International Circuit, built at the cost of roughly around $350 million, around 50 women -- barely sheltered from the sun -- sit and toil, clearing out the weed for one of the organisers’ team to plant rolls of fresh, green grass for the guests from all over the world to feel at home. While their wives, daughters and relatives worked outside to add to the aesthetic of the BIC, men trudged on the dust-filled paths inside the compound to complete the enormous structure in time. One might think that it’s all for a day’s wage.
There is, however, a lot more involved.

“I heard that some race cars are coming and it’s a big thing for India. My family is working here and it’s very tiring for all of us, especially for the women because there is barely any water around, and it gets very hot in the afternoon. But they (organisers) pay us well, and this is for India, so we do it with out complaining. They say this (BIC) will help a lot of people, we hope we are also one of them,” said Mansur, while taking a lunch break with his family beneath a flyover opposite the track.

Mansur might be hoping to become a beneficiary of JPSI’s dream venture, and perhaps he will some day. While good days are just a dream for men like Mansur, money has already started pouring in for some other.

Capitalising on the 10,000-odd labourers’ need to eat and drink, Damodarji sets up a small mobile trolley just outside the venue at around 12 in the afternoon. Soon, two rice items, small packets of drinking water, along with cigarettes and pan masalas, fly off the moss-coated shelf in record time.

“Business has been very good. It’s good that I have a trolley like this so I can move easily. I move from one gate to the other and I spend the entire day feeding people. Some people bring their own food but carrying food and coming so far does not make sense, so they come to me and I take care of them. I find it hard to get these water packets (Rs seven per packet) but I have my ways,” said Damodarji with a broad smile.

Formula One isn’t just about fast cars and big money. It is also a story of human beings, their will to resist adversity, survival instincts and hope. In the end, some could benefit from it. Even if only in relative terms.

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