Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Road Roller

It was sturdy, giant, towering and terrific in looks. It moved slowly, swayed a little and made gargling sound. It crashed every thing which came in its way. And it was driven by a man of equally heavily built with a serious and I-mind-my-own-business look on his face. I saw it for the first time when I was hardly 7 or 8 years old in the adjacent Malayalam Street. It was road roller made in England with three heavy stone wheels.

Before its arrival, lot of black ugly looking bitumen/asphalt in the deformed containers was dumped at the corner of the street in the winter. They were simply left on their own mysteriously. Came the summer. As mercury started to flow upward, the ugly creature started to creep out of the deformed containers and spread over the road with its typical viscosity and luster. In the bright sunlight, the viscous black material looked attractive. We would pick up some and try to mould into some shape of animal and bird using water which we learned of our own that avoids being sticky to our little fingers. Still a hard slap from our elders could not be ruled out for our stained garments. Then the hydraulic trailers would bring the aggregate/blue metal which would be unloaded with lot of reverberation and dust. We would bang those stones together to learn the primitive skill of starting fire unsuccessfully.

Finally in the summer holiday, one fine morning, the street would get filled with the strangely looking workers who wore shoes made of tattered rug and jutes resembling Johnny Depp in the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”. They would start to warm up the bitumen which gave clouds of yellow smoke and a peculiar smell of heat. They would mix with the aggregate in an awkward looking mixer and start to pave the road. Then came the Road Roller like an elephant made of metal, which I don’t know why makes me remember Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy instantaneously….:)

After so many years, once again I found (rather noticed) those forgotten containers of bitumen, lot of Johnny Depps, blue metal of size EN13242 and the sturdy Road Roller, stationed in different places of the town on my return. Thanks to the administration. I think and hope the efficiency of the hydraulic suspension in my bike would increase considerably due the fresh pavement of asphalt concrete and I would be free from an aching back at least for the next six month. Last time we know very well that the Portland cement concrete did not survive….lets us see how far this asphalt concrete with lesser shelf life, would go!


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