In conversation with Tsalise Sangtam, mason-cum-carpenter
Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | May 15
A man of few words, Tsalise Sangtam would rather prefer to let his work do the talking. For the past 7 years, he has been engaged in construction work, having grown to love this profession through its many challenges and fulfillments. One of the joys he derives from here is knowing that there are people out there who not only need their service but also appreciate it. “Out of 100, 90 of them appreciate what we do,” he observes.
Six days a week, he is busy in construction sites spread across the vicinity of Chumukedima. He works with a group of 7 and takes on projects that accommodate their skills.
Tsalise hails from Singrep village under Kiphire district but grew up in Phek before moving to Dimapur in the later years. He quit school after Class 3 – something that crosses his mind sometimes. He has absolutely no regrets venturing into the profession he has chosen but confesses that he wishes he had stayed in school a little longer.
“There are times I wish I can read and write,” he puts across.
However, when it comes to carpentry or construction, Tsalise learnt the traits early on in life and these learning experiences definitely came handy even as he chose to take it up as a profession. “I was already doing related works in Phek before moving to Dimapur,” he enlightens. “I engage myself both in wood and cement work.” His wood works include almirahs, tables, chairs, beds, shelves, etc. Talking about challenges in the construction sector, he says the disappointing thing is that many people prefer the non-locals over local workers. “We do the same work with the same costing, but they prefer the non-locals,” he states with a tinge of regret.
But the 29-year old carpenter-cum-mason is certainly not giving up on what he has started. The fourth amongst 8 siblings, he has been able to sustain himself over the past many years through this and looks forward to even better days for those in the construction sector.
*Year of Construction Workers (YOCW) is a joint program of the Government of Nagaland in partnership with YouthNet, Zynorique and the Department of Labour & Employment, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship