The Operator

“It is mind work, not physical work”, says Ramkrishna, the man who operated the excavator and constructed most of the mountainous Limi road in 2011.

We spent a couple of days together in Tukling. He was impatiently waiting for diesel to be delivered from China so that he could continue his work. Finally, the fuel arrived and we travelled across the Nyalo Pass. Along the way, Ramkrishna critically commented on the turns he had cut into the flanks of the pass over the previous weeks. The road was still very rough and many of the turns were still too narrow, he explained. Now, with plenty of new diesel, he would be able to go back and widen them. The fuel was deposited in groups of two or three barrels along the road. Makeshift filling stations for the weeks to come.

We reached the construction camp at the end of the road in the early afternoon. The first thing Ramkrishna did was to inspect the dozer and start the engine. He had a quick meal, and off he went to carve wider bends into the mountain until late at night. When I went to bed, I could still hear the excavator from afar.

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