Building Up & Down

Here are my two short stories/flash fiction with the same title ‘Building Up & Building Down’, for the weekly challenge Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by Priceless Joy. They were inspired by the below photo-prompt provided by Ellespeth’s Friend.


Story 1

“Superb! A marvel!!”

“Agree. It’s too beautiful!! But what did he do in the end? Build a grand Taj Mahal for his wife and then…then…cut off the hands of loyal laborers who built it?”

“Of course it’s just a myth! Emperor Shah Jahan wouldn’t have been so cruel”, Ravi argued. “Anyway modern builders are no better!”

“And how’s that?”, Sheena raised her eyebrows in her usual argumentative mood.

“Even if, for a while we forget about illegal occupation of lands by builders, we can’t overlook the buildings that collapse due to bad structure and poor quality material used. The destitute inmates lose their life and meager resources. It’s all gain for builders and their families”

“Some truth in your rant. Last month a high rise building in my neighborhood came crumbling down on workers who were still inside”

“And don’t forget how some ambitious builders aspire to be rulers, quite like old time emperors. Entering politics is a shortest route to assert power while their manipulative ways continue”

“Hey Ravi! You sound angry. How about enjoying Taj Mahal while we are at it!”

~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~


Story 2

How are you supposed to feel if your colleague makes you laugh during busy working hours, esp. when you all are hanging in the air with your hands covered in concrete while, like some acrobat, you struggle to balance your feet?

But he always did that. For some reason, he could not work quietly. Either singing aloud or humming funny songs that kept us workers entertained. His hilarious jokes were often side splitting.

The contractor tried to control these distractions. But then, he was not always around.

Being a newbie in the industry, I personally feared losing my balance. And so, the other day when I was in the middle of gut-busting giggles and laughter, I decided to step down the ladder. While I sat and sipped tea to regain my calm, I heard a sound.

Thud! It was he who fell down from such height that he’s now hospitalised. Once his fracture is healed, I wonder if he’ll become too serious a worker. We’ll miss his jokes for sure.


© 2015 Alka Girdhar

15 thoughts on “Building Up & Down

  1. Oh my gosh, is that true about the Taj Mahal? That the emperor cut off the hands of the builders? That would be horrible! That’s sad that the funny guy fell off the scaffolding. Great stories, Alka!! Very interesting and enjoyable to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, in all probability it’s just a hearsay that people like to indulge in. Maybe by the time they finished making intricate Taj, the labourers’ fingers were worn out and they couldn’t work on any other project…hence this rumour. I made him fall off, not because he was a baddy but because our work is our responsibility and there’s a place for humour and jokes 🙂
      Thanks for appreciating these simple story ideas!

      Liked by 1 person

    • That we do. Along with our other needs, that is food, clothing etc, buildings in the form of houses and offices are a necessity hence builders should never be selfish. Thanks Janice for your views!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Buildings also mean infrastructural development. The increased pace of this in present India coupled with poor implementation of safety laws has placed not only the workers but even the general population at risk for many diseases.

        Enjoyed this little chat. Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

        • True. Your looking at the issue from multiple perspectives compels one to think deeper. Too many buildings spreading horizontally as well as vertically, but not much of infrastructural development and legal support…this is a recipe for hazards if not disaster. We can hope for the best.
          Thanks for sharing your views!

          Liked by 1 person

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