Tunnel to Darkness.....V

AniM By AniM, 6th Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>General Fiction

Travails of two friends working in a tunnel under the city

A New Dawn

They woke with a start, used as they were to birds chirping at dawn, now to the cacophony of humanity compressed in a narrow space. They had both not slept well, their stomach tying up in knots at the prospect of the unknown. They had tossed and turned while Anand and Reena snored softly a little distance from them, the paltry confines of the room not allowing much freedom of movement.Finally, they watched as the dawn broke outside, a soft blue light slowly covered the room and moved over them into the farthest corner. Reena woke up first and left, presumably for the communal washroom, for her day starting ablutions.
Soon as she left, both boys sat up and looked warily at each other, not knowing what to say or do. They were nervous and apprehensive but there was no point looking back now, the only way for them was the way ahead. Slowly they got up and prepared for battle....
About an hour later, Anand and the two boys lined up outside the crew room, a prefabricated structure for the supervisory and managerial staff of the construction team. A little ahead was the excavation site from where the Tunnel Boring Machine had been inserted into the bowels of the earth. Excavators, Cranes and Bulldozers were lined up alongside other heavy vehicles in a haphazard manner. The entire area was covered with brown slush, making it very slippery underfoot. The water level in these parts of the country is pretty close to the surface, so the machinery extracted a huge amount of this slushy earth and not rocky soil as elsewhere. When they went inside, the gang boss was sitting inside alongside some other serious looking people. Anand started haggling with the man for employing the two boys. After several minutes of verbal jousting they were both accepted as helpers, which would entail carrying of debris from parts where the machinery couldn't reach, carrying bricks as and when required and miscellaneous other chores, which others didn't want to do, would then fall on their shoulders to perform.
Grinning ear to ear, they stepped outside. Their first hurdle was crossed, they were employed for a princely sum of Rs.80 per day. They would also have to work for a minimum of 12 hours per day and possibly 30 days a month. But Vikram and Aaron were already flying high, they had got jobs in the city on the second day of their arrival! They were young and used to back breaking hard work, so this should be easy for them, or so they thought. A little while later, when everyone had taken their tea and smoke break, the gathered men and some women broke up into pre-determined teams and proceeded to their designated work locations. The two boys stood around like lost puppies for a while, until a swarthy man in faded blue dungarees beckoned them.
When they walked up to him, he growled,' You must be the new punks! Come with me and do all that I tell you, and you might survive till the end of the day, put a foot wrong and you'll be toast'. As and afterthought he added over his shoulder,'By the way, I am Sundar, your nightmare!' He led them to a bunch of other similarly terrified youngsters who were huddling around with baskets and pickaxes or shovels. At his instruction, one of them led Aaron and Vikram to a shed where they were issued Hazard Vests, Safety Helmets, one pickax, one shovel and a basket each. Thus equipped and attired, they were then led down into the cavernous hole, dimly lit and very slippery underneath. Then they were directed to one wall of the tunnel, where they were to dig out any big rocks or stones and carry them outside and on the return trip bring bricks from the pile outside, to the masons who were building the platforms and other structures.
Within the first three hours or so, both of them were so exhausted that they could almost fall down. But their gang boss wouldn't allow them a moments rest, and thankfully the gong sounded for lunch soon and Anand came to call them to join him. They ate chapatis and a curry squatted under a tarpaulin covered area on the ground. Anand smiled, 'How are you guys feeling? Still feeling like this is an easy job?' Both of them shook their heads vigorously, not having the energy to even make any sound. The end of the day could not come soon enough for them, and when it finally did, they could have gone to sleep there itself. However, they dragged their weary feet slowly after Anand and somehow reached the room, where within the next thirty minutes they were fast asleep, oblivious to the world around them. The next day couldn't be far enough away from them.....



City, Fiction Writing, Fictional Stories, Labor, Laborers, Railroad Tracks, Railroads, Short Story, Story, Tunnel

Meet the author

author avatar AniM
I have been an avid reader since my childhood and that is my biggest passion! I will write on Telecom, Cricket, Book reviews and some politics

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