The Saket metro station is being constructed near the traffic intersection just beyond the block of flats I live in and a highlight of our evenings these days is the sight of a giant crane hovering over the tops of nearby houses. Most of the time it’s horizontal, as in the picture below, but once in a while it swings around and comes to rest in a nearly upright position, and then it looks like it’s giving the finger to the colony.
The photo doesn’t really capture the effect but it's a grand view, especially after dark. Here we are in our enclosed neighborhood park, walking the pup, and it’s quiet like a village green – except that there’s a huge mechanical pulley moving back and forth in a portion of the sky, illuminated by the metro site dozens of feet below it. It makes me feel like a character in a 1950s alien-invasion novel set in a quiet British town where nothing much is expected to happen.
The construction has been going on for ever with no end in sight and our detoured roads are looping crazily all over the place, so the wife and I have been mulling ways for the DMRC to employ the crane to other purposes. I mean, if you have a monster crane in the sky, shouldn’t you make imaginative use of it? Abhilasha proposes turning it into a tourist attraction for a few hours each day: it can be called the Saket Eye and members of the paying public can take turns riding in the thing. Since most of us south Delhiites don’t have access to a bird’s-eye view of the city, this would be a welcome move.
Another option is to use the crane as a pick-up facility to help clear traffic jams. Get buses air-lifted at the intersection and safely set them down a minute or so later at the Malviya Nagar-Panchshila crossing. (These days it takes more than 20 minutes to travel that distance in the conventional way.) In fact, if a few more cranes of similar size are added to the existing one and placed at strategic locations, we could have a regular midair shuttle service at our disposal.
Even more practically: anyone who has water tanks situated on the top floor of a tall building knows what a hassle it is when the main-line supply dries out and you have to call the Jal Board’s tanker to the house. For starters you’re very lucky if the tanker even arrives on the same day, but when it does it takes a painfully long time to get the unwieldy pipes to the terrace. Give the crane an extra limb and program it to stretch out an arm, suck water out of the Jal Board’s colossal colony water tank and then distribute said water into all our little black containers one by one. (Earlier post on the evils of water tanks here.)
As winter sets in other possibilities will arise, such as using the crane as a well-lit landing aid that can point descending aircraft in the right direction on foggy nights. As responsible citizens one must keep looking for ways to extract side-benefits from interminable projects.