He has built many dreams. And when he goes back to one of them, he feels a sense of pride. While he has built houses and seen them become homes, he has still not managed to get a roof. But Zafar Ullah does not complain.
This 35-year-old construction worker, for whom childhood toys were bricks and cement, the profession is love, not because he enjoys it but because he has no other go. An irony that many workers live every day...loving something because survival depends on it.
Hailing from Shimoga district, he began contributing to development when he was 15 years.
Not having a permanent shelter, for Zafar, any site where he has been assigned to work, is his home. A nomad, going from one construction site to another, he landed in Bangalore 18 months back, lending his skills to under-construction houses and apartments.
"I have never seen my father and grew up with my mother, who was always in the construction job. It was she who took me along with her after she felt I was in bad company. From then on my life has been with bricks, stones, cement and mud," says Zafar.
Zafar earns `600 per day and according to him, he can work till he has blood in his body.
"Jab tak takat hai, hum kaam karenge. (I will work till I have the strength). I don't know any other job than this. I work from 9 am to 6 pm everyday and my lunch time is between 2 pm to 3 pm. Later, If nobody hires me later, I have to look for an alternative job or probably start a petty business," Zafar says.
Zafar is married but he cannot get his wife and children to live with him.
"I have two kids now. One of my son, passed away at Kidwai Hospital due to cancer, 3 months ago. I could not save him. My wife Parveen is staying in Shimoga along with my other son, who is a mechanic and my daughter has completed her SSLC and is now at home. I can't have my family moving with me as I am far away from basic amenities of life. I visit them once in a while. Bangalore is a very costly place to be. I can't feed them with the little money I am earning," he says.
He has worries, and his main one is to get his daughter married.
"She is very intelligent but I can't afford her education. I hope I can find a good groom for my girl. My son can look after himself. I have allowed him to do what he likes," he says.