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    Compression wood

    oops!

    [This message has been edited by Roman (edited June 29, 2000).]

    #2
    (somebody teach me how not to click on Submit Reply button before completing a post, please)

    I was reading something the other day (a celebratory and rare occasion in my life) when a side note on compression wood came up. It read (and I kinda paraphrase):

    Compression wood comes from a leaning tree. The force of gravity would cause the trunck to bend and sag, and eventually to break, if the tree did not automatically respond by a more rapid, denser production of cellular wood along the uderside of the trunk - like a muscle that would tense and stretch to resist. The plank of such a wood cannot forget the tension and torque that it had gone through. So no matter how much you would nail, clamp, steam, or spike it, it will contort, wrap, or rack itself.
    When I was reading it, somehow certain images flashbacked in my mind (weird phenomenon, don't ask me why it happens). I could cleary see one particular image. It was the image of a grown up man with a dark skin, sweaty body, and dusty and rugged clothes.

    When I was growing up, I used to pass through this particular 'grass mandi' bus stop on bus. On one side of the bus stop, I would see these small flocks of men. These men were construction laborers, working on daily wages basis. If you were building, renovating, or modifying your house etc and you need laborers, that's where you would go and negotiate the wages and hire them.

    I would always see them there. Whether it's winter or summer (and I don't need to say much about Lahore's summer), they would always be there. Sweaty bodies, dusty clothes, dark skins and 'pagaris' on the heads. If you continue to see something over a period of time, at the end, it kinda makes a picture for you. When I read about the compression wood, the immediate image flashbacked in my mind was of those dark skinned men.

    I think it has to do with stress, tension, gravity, resistence, bend, and weariness. To me, those men in their prime go through a log of tension (physical) and resist a tremendous amound of gravity of life. But eventually they wear off. They develop muscle aches, worn out body parts, Tuberculosis and so forth. They probably represent something entirely opposite to compression wood as they resist and survive all those gravities that eventually bent them.

    But somehow, I think their lives coform to the anatomy of compression wood. And it's not because they eventually bend and sag, or buldge or wrap, but rather that they face such a constant force of gravity, and even though they resist or stretch, they eventually protrude. They get used to a certain torque in their lives, and they just move around it day by day until their lives end.

    Somehow I want to see that flock of men again standing on that bus stop next time I would go to Lahore.

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      #3
      Roman Yaar,

      Back home in Pakistan I too have come across such people and the one thing that always left me in complete admiration of these people is that they never complained about the hardships they face in life. Day in and Day out they worked their fingers to the bone for what seemed like not that much money, but yet they still went through each day laughing and joking with their workmates while going about their daily routine.

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        #4
        Rom Yara, it is Gha Mandi, and yes I also remember those dihaRi workers. Yar, they work their ass off. In my village, my sister and I had a name for such workers. We called them Volkswagon (as in beetle) because when they sat on the roadside, one could see the curve of their back.

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          #5
          Reminds me of a place we have in Sahiwal called 'Mazdoora ki puli'. Need some instant labour you can go to that place and hire someone on the spot. Don't remember any bent backs though. probably a lazy bunch of SOBs in Sahiwal.

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            #6
            I was talking to outlaw in chatroom the other day and he mentioned this thread. He expressed his admiration and sympathy for these hard workers who face the severe hardships of weather, poverty, physical conditions, and constant struggle without much hope of a better life afterwards.

            I'm sure all of us, at one point or the other, have felt and still feel the same way about such people. However, when I was writting the original post, I was not aiming mainly to raise any sympathies on the topic. But I was sure that that’s how most of the people feel about it.

            Feeling sympathetic is blinding. It's blinding because it does not let you see the whole picture. When people get too laid back and content, sympathy provides them with occasional catharsis, which in turn makes them feel more content, which of course, evaporates the very emotion in the end.

            If you will only look at the sympathic side of it, you will lose sight of the other stretches of the picture. And one of those stretches is this imaginative vague similiarity between their lives, their bodies, their strengths, their gravities, their tracting muscles and the compression wood. And if you look at that way, the picture is imaginatively beautiful. Or at least that's how I feel. Reminds me of the movie 'American Beauty' in which this guy makes the video film of this flying shopper bag (mainly a nonsense activity since you won't be enjoying the video film much later - I think some bikini shots at the beach might be a better idea) and looks at Kevin Spacy’s blown out, bloody head admiringly (which actually gets a bit too psychotic and weird; I'm not sure about you guys but I would personally like to turn down the opportunity of staring at a human head in such a state - No dead heads for me, please).

            I think following any emotional strain from an apparent angle is boring. Like anybody else, I too have felt quite sympathetic about such people in my life and I still do. But if I were just to sit here and admire them and simply be sympathetic then there is a lot more that their lives represent that I'd be missing out.

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