Indian standards

Indian standards

Usually, the payer wants the work to finish quickly, while the payee wants to prolong.

Time has a way of dropping incongruities in the path of man, sometimes in the most unexpected ways. Recently, the people of our neighbourhood resolved to repair and repaint the fairly large local Hanuman temple. Accordingly, meetings were convened, resources were pooled and a managerial team was elected to office.

A budget was drawn, approved, workforce was hired and raw materials were purchased. The contractor was told that the work should be completed in two weeks time, to which he nodded his head roundly. Experience had taught us that, usually the payer wants the work to finish quickly because he can economise, while the payee wants to prolong so that he can encash a heavier cheque.

This is a standard diktat in almost every walk of life, more so in the realms of civil personnel. Despite this knowledge, the people in our area thought that fear of god will deter the workers from following their standard pattern as they would be working in god’s premises.

The ball was set rolling. The team of workers descended on the site. They were asked to work during the hours the temple did not function. They welcomed the breaks. The contractor said that in that case the work would be prolonged by another three weeks. The committee agreed. Soon the temple compound was filled with sounds of scraping and pounding. Sand and stones were piled against the temple walls and the streets.

The devotees and flower sellers were asked to use the adjoining makeshift gate to gain entrance. Footwear had to be shed on the platform outside the compound wall. The local populace grinned and gritted their teeth over trifles like awry parking, traffic congestion, dust and grime and an occasional theft of some footwear in the thought that it was the least that they could undergo in favour of the larger cause.

Weeks lapsed into months. Gallons of emulsion paint were exhausted. The finishing touches were pending. The Gopuram of the temple adorned with cement statues of deities and demigods needed the attention of experts. The specialists arrived on the scene a fortnight later. They hummed and hawed and planned meticulously for another week because their work required detailing. Though the committee itched to dismiss them, the thought of finding other painters was beleaguering.

The devotees who wound their way around the skewed premises heaved a sigh of relief when the work was finally completed. A special Pooja was organised to mark the occasion. It was highlighted by a special gift of a digital calendar cum clock to the temple by the contractor and the workers who appeared to be making reparation to god for subjecting him to trying times!