A cartoon in the Times of India today pictured a woman reading a newspaper. She says to her husband: Did you see this photo of the moon surface, full of ups and downs, pits and pot holes? Looks like our road workers are looking after the moon surface.

The same can be said about Chicago roads in and after winter. I sacrificed a tire to a pot hole while driving to the Chicago Lighthouse. That may have appeased the road gods enough to keep me from being swallowed along with the rickshaw by ravenous pot holes in India.

While pot holes are universal, the difference in road repair between Illinois and India is striking. First of all, sleek trucks do not ooze paving materials to be smoothed by machines. Instead, large rocks are delivered to the roadside for men and women to break into smaller pieces with hand-held implements.

These smaller pieces are broken into even smaller pieces by frail elderly people and children. I’m not sure how the paving material reaches the road or if it ever does. Traveling the same two-lane country road for four years, I see the same roadside activity – and no noticeable road improvements. Perhaps progress is tallied in lifetimes, not in kilometers.

Road workers are filthy in a land where even the poorest manage to bathe. They live in dusty, barren fields near their rock piles. What little water is available must be used for hydration, not personal hygiene.  You don’t have to tell Indian road workers that you can’t get water from a stone.

That old cliché came alive today. She has a dusty lined face, a filthy sari, and a baby strapped to her back as she assaults a rock like it is Satan and she is an avenging Hindu goddess.*

*That is not a mixed metaphor. Here we have Hindu-Christians, Christian-Hindus, Muslim-Christians, Hindu-animist-Jewish-Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the occasional devotee of The Masala Dosa (that would be me)


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2 Responses to “CARTOON”

  1. Chong Perking Says:

    Thanks for the blog post! Have a great morning!

  2. Suellen Baumli Says:

    Great read, bookmarked! Thanks

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