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Author Name: Basant Kumar | Format: Hardcover | Genre : Philosophy | Other Details

We live in an age of intertwined contradictions. Nature is yearned for, but in the artificial space of infrastructure – the built environment – like buildings, gardens and landscaped features. The word ‘infrastructure’ rings through our consciousness as more natural than nature itself. We relate to infrastructure as the rightful owner and its absence is frowned upon.

The makers of this infrastructure are the labourers who live in the open – the natural infrastructure. They have no concrete roof over them, no brick walls with murals imitating natural themes nor do they have conditioned air to inhale one’s breath that is re-circulated through the acrylic filters. They drink water not from the ‘natural’ Himalayan spring bottled up, but from the well or the river or even the pond.

The stories in this volume have attempted to capture fleeting glimpses of the human experiences of these forgotten toilers – the real makers of infrastructure – whose sweat and, sometimes blood, create our habitat and provide identity to our cities.

Provisional is about the ironical fate of the people. The very cause of the catastrophe became the mitigating escape from the tragic consequences – compromises made even by the well-meaning people in compelling situations.

Retribution brings out the depth to which the caste tradition has permeated into the psyche of the people.

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Basant Kumar

Basant Kumar graduated with a degree in Science from the University of Allahabad and then graduated with Honours in Civil Engineering from the University of Roorkee (now IIT Roorkee). He was awarded the University Silver Medal.

He served in the Central PWD for 28 years before moving to the Central Ministry, Government of India. He retired as Additional Secretary. He is very active post-retirement as an independent freelance consultant in the field of Civil Engineering. He is also an Arbitrator and an Arbitration Consultant.

Basant Kumar worked in Nepal, for over four years, on a Highway Project. He had the first-hand experience of the lives of the human machines – the labourers. Sometimes, he spent the night in their camps due to inclement weather or wild animals. He shared their pathos and abysmal living conditions. He internalised their small world, poverty and the ordinary complications of their difficult lives. The imprint on his psyche was deep and indelible and finds expression in his stories.

He plays Golf and celebrates the unearned gifts of Hole-in-One, twice. He was part of the winning pair at the DLF Republic Day Cup, also twice. He won ‘closest to pin’ contest.

In the time left over from golf and professional work, in that order, he writes. This is his first book.