The Story of Concrete

by | Jun 7, 1998 | Acceptance, Love, Unity

Once, in a class of management students there was a very involving discussion on the subject of “Social bonding and the strength of a society”.

The opinion was clearly divided. A group of students was all for a society of achievers , while the other was favouring a society with care and space for all.

The professor asked the students to elaborate on their stands.

One group said that it is the concept of survival of the fittest. Only achievers can compete and excel in all fields , giving rise to a strong society. Non-achievers in fact weaken the society , hence have no place in a strong society.

The other group suggested that a society could not be strong & healthy unless all its constituents are provided with equal opportunities and resources are shared amongst them in equitable manner. As per this group disproportionate resources and status realities weaken the society.

After a while, when the class could not arrive at any consensus, the professor interrupted and said ” My dear young friends , let me tell you a story which may help you understand as to what factors are most important for a strong and integrated society.”

“Friends, this is the story of Concrete. You all know what is Concrete !”

“Concrete is a mixture of cement and sand. It is used in construction of all civil structures. Some of the tallest and strongest of all time great buildings, monuments, sky scrappers, roads, Dams and bridges are in place only on the strength of the “Concrete”.

“But what is the story of concrete ? ” asked a boy who was getting anxious to know the story.

“Friends, Concrete is by far the strongest man made material that is the force behind the infrastructure required for growth & development of the mankind.”

“Let’s have a look ! What is this Concrete stuff made up of and how is it prepared.”

“Well, One would immediately notice a grey mass of small “Pebbles” of all shapes and sizes , which are held together.”

“Just take a close look and they appear to be packed to the limit, with no scope for further compression, isn’t it !”

” Yes , they are held close to each other , but they leave sufficient space around them to accommodate the “Gravel”.

“Watch the “Gravel” which are also closely held together as if nothing could pass through them. But when coming together to form a tightly held mass in Concrete, these “Gravel” also leave enough space between them to easily accommodate the “Sand Grains”.

“Friends, “Sand Grains” come together to fill up the space left by other constituents, but are courteous enough to leave space around them to accommodate the “Cement Particles”.

Well, “Cement Particles” too make a homogenous mass that actually binds all other constituents. They really can not afford to be loose. However, these “Cement Particles” also in a display of their magnanimity, leave enough room between them to allow “Water Molecules” have a free flow within the structure.

“Water Molecules” made of ions, quickly cover whatever space is left by others, but still are obliged to leave enough space for the “Air particles” to move in”

“Friends, this is the story of “Concrete” where although there is nothing equal, common or same amongst the constituents, they are gracious enough to provide the required space to one another and accommodate each other.”

“This probably is the secret behind the strength of the “Concrete”. The constituents seem to derive strength from each other, just by providing space to each other.”

There was a pin drop silence in the classroom as the professor concluded. Every one was listening to the story with rapt attention.

Suddenly the whole classroom was filled with sound of applause. Every one in the room was on his feet with expression of appreciation on their face as if giving a standing ovation to the “Concrete” structure around them.

The discussion was over. The concept was well understood. Consensus had blossomed like a newly born flower. They had discovered a lot of space for each other and certainly, there was no room for a dispute on the subject.

Nitin Kulkarni


The Story of Concrete