The operation flowed as follows. First, pile up material over the culvert pipe at the entrance. The culvert is across the storm water feeder to the Netrambakkam catchment tank. The whole area is about 5′ below road level. To bring it up to the road level a lot of rubble was called for. This 80′ run of road would be common public way. Then comes the nearly 1,000′ run towards the west [Refer to the dimensioned sketch] which has already served as a road. But this gets slushy during the rains. So we dumped heaps of rubble carted from well-heads. A few farmers’ tractor trailers ran up and down. [Photo]At the well-head, a backhoe [popularly referred to as JCB, in India- see photo] would hoist the rubble and load the trailers. would run shuttles to where the rubble was needed.
After the 1,000′ run west, the road turns north and runs for 440′. In this run is a drainage canal to carry away rain water racing down the sloping ground. This drain connects with the larger one across which the earlier referred culvert was built. I had two options to ford this low lying ground: either build a bridge to make it all weather or build a causeway and yield to the storm water for a few days in a year. I chose the latter, both from the cost and aesthetic point of view. Roaring waters can be a great sight to watch.
After running north for 440′, the road finally turns west again for a home run of 750′ to touch the pointReturn site. Slowly we wended our way over six days. The sun was hot, the costs not little and choreographing water and food supplies, managing machine breakdowns and disruptions etc filled long hours from 6am to 6pm.
Again Babu Reddiar’s assistance and hospitality must be acknowledged here. For five nights Raju and I, slept under his roof and enjoyed his very caring hospitality. Some extra notes on rural life are not out of place here.
Venkata Krishna Reddiar, now an active 85, is the grand sire of the joint family. Of his five sons, three live with their wives in one home. Babu is the family’s youngest and my point of contact with them all. The home has a largish, tiled main building and several thatched lean-tos and sheds. There is a vast private patio to dry out grains and washing. There are two toilets, a common bath, a large food growing patch, several cows and buffaloes, two dogs, a tractor and several attachments and a shed full of farm tools. And there are two delightful children.