August 19, 2005

We also steal bridges

How on earth does a gangster, his name known and all, chop up an entire bridge and sell the metal as scrap?

Well, that's what one Hari Pawar, a gangster "externed" from Bombay, did near Poladpur, if the front page story on today's Hindustan Times is to be believed. Pawar, his cousin (an "artifact dealer", if you please) and several accomplices took a gas cylinder to the bridge, hired a local welder to cut the beams into pieces over three days, hid the pieces in the bushes on one bank of the river, and finally put them on trucks and carted it all off.

"The roar of the engines" of the trucks, says the HT report, "kept villagers awake those nights."

    (Husband, sitting bolt upright in bed: "Honey, what's that godawful racket?"

    Exasperated wife: "Oh, it's just the neighbours stealing the bridge, go back to sleep. And don't hog the blanket, OK?")

What's more, the "heist was discovered", says the HT report, by two watchmen who "noticed the bridge missing."

How would you react if you "noticed a bridge missing"?

    (Husband, worried look on his face: "Honey, have you seen the bridge? I can't seem to find it this morning."

    Exasperated wife: "Have you checked the bathroom? You're always leaving your things there!")

10 comments:

arZan said...

holy crap !!!

Sure this guy ain't no relative of Houdini. Cos then he couldve just made the bridge disappear !!

Sunil said...

i'm reading this, and the ht article, and i still can't believe this...

zap said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
zap said...

this is wonderful ! All the world is absurd, not just yours or mine..!

Vikram A. said...

This is rather amazing.

Sriram said...

In chennai, it is quite common to see manhole covers missing from the streets because someone took them and sold them off.

I guess a bridge is the next step.

Reminds me of a few years ago, when they cleared up the cluttered Ranganathan street area in Mambalam, Chennai and found that the merchants had basically made an entire street disappear!

What they had done was to slowly expand their shops and encroach onto the street until it disappeared!

This is commonly known as the 'Tragedy of the commons'. Look it up.

GPK said...

This is more common than everyone thinks. I guess the bridge is an abandoned one? If that is the case I have seen it happenning all over coastal Karnataka/old Mysore area.

Most of these bridges were built by British and when new bridges were built for whatever reason (old one is weak, too narrow), old ones are abandoned. And there is a racket in stealing these steel -- and I have heard villagers saying "steel used by British is very good!" -- and selling it as scrap or to melt in some Chinese factory.

I remember seeing lot of old bridges may be 10 years back usually parallel to the newer bridge - with overgrowth or some still used by cows or pedestrians -- but during my recent trip to Mangalore could not find any old bridges. Being a bridge fanatic I have observed this missing bridge trend for last few years.

CarrotWithASword said...

hmm.. Any terry pratchett readers here would be clamouring for Sergeant Colon

Dilip D'Souza said...

Zap, actually that's the attitude I like to take about stories like this: the world out there is filled with absurdity and sometimes it's best to laugh. And when a bridge vanishes, what else can you do but laugh? Besides, when are you giving me more tickets?

Sriram, hard to believe I know, but some of us have actually heard of the tragedy of the commons, and I don't believe it applies to this bridge story anyway.

GPK, that's a good explanation. I don't know if it was an abandoned bridge, perhaps I'll try to find out. Makes me wonder what I'm doing stuck in front of this screen: perhaps I can make a better living wandering the country breaking up abandoned bridges.

Fadereu said...

This is commonly known as the 'Tragedy of the commons'. Look it up.

This incident has very little to do with Hardin's essay. Unless you are trying to say that you've read it. A lot of people have.

If you can explain the correspondence between TOTC and thisincident, I will probably respond.

THAT is the tragedy.