January 25, 2016
A question always bothers my mind whenever I stand at the balcony of the residential building and see outside those poor kids on the streets playing, begging around and staring at the posh villas,neatly dressed people, luxury cars and high rise buildings; the type of thoughts going through their mind. Do they curse God, parents, fate or people around them who left them at the mercy of destiny? To find answer to this I cross-checked a section of people who are an integral part of our daily lives but still we often look down upon.
A rickshaw driver… Whenever we start our journey the first thing we remember is to check whether the auto rickshaw guy is available at the destination. We often witness them semi sleeping in the back seat waiting for customers whether it is rainy, winter or hot summer days. They are there sacrificing their sleep and family, earning their daily bread. We may say that it is their duty but the sacrifice they make to win their bread is commendable. We have a habit of generalizing some odd incidents with the entire community which may not be warranted. We have witnessed many good deeds by them also. Let us respect them and their work.
I have witnessed many a time when a Mumbai/Bengaluru bus comes and halts, many of them come and surround the passenger. Only one or two of them get the passengers, while the rest all go back to their stands again waiting for the next bus, laughing and teasing all the way hiding their disappointments. A lesson to rest of us to hide our disappointments and continue our efforts.
We may have plenty of reasons to hate them, complaints against them, but the way they carry our kids to school makes every one of us love them. They play parental role two hours a day. We witness many crimes against school children nowadays but in no incident has an auto driver been involved. It is because of the friendly body language, love and trust they develop in each other. See those little kids, girl or boy, surrounding the auto driver all the way home listening to his stories, sitting on his lap making fun of him.
Let us respect this guardian parent of our kids.
A housemaid… In every modern household today maid's role is more than a mother's. Parents are employed and the maid is surrogate mother to the kids. I have witnessed in many households babies don’t eat when mother feeds but a maid can do that job easily.
How do we treat these surrogate mothers? No weekly offs, less salary, verbal abuses and many more things. In Dubai, Emirates Pangalites have taken up a good initiative. An annual day is celebrated for these housemaids to remember their service and provide them a little recreation that day.
Let us not forget what they are to the entire family’s well-being emotionally and financially also (their presence allows the ladies to work outside), without them we would not have reached where we are today.
A construction worker... We may not feel for them in our native place as much we feel for them in Middle East. Under scorching heat wearing full coveralls, they are barely able to breathe at times. Most of them are trapped expatriates who landed in Middle East with big dreams. Only after land do they realize what is awaiting them. Poor guys, the way they live to save some money is beyond explanation. Seven to eight persons in a cage-like room we fondly call as labourers' accommodation! Imagine the plight of a construction worker holding a red caution flag standing on the road full day in the extreme heat and humid conditions.
We only witness aesthetic beauty of our houses and buildings. But the 'building blocks' remain unnoticed and uncared for. I have witnessed many workers complaining about the construction company they are employed with over deducting their wages for silly mistakes or sometimes for no mistake. Many silently lay their lives and limbs while working on high rise buildings.
When we enter our beautiful home today let us not forget those who built it, their hard work, even though they are paid for it.
A coolie… Remember those coolies at the stations waiting to carry the luggage? Many of them are aged enough to be grandfathers but still do the hardwork to sustain living. How easily they place those heavy luggage on the shoulders, back and walk faster than us. Imagine if we need to reach the vehicle parking place without them.
Not only should we thank them for making our journey comfortable but also let us pay a few rupees extra for those aged coolies.
A garage mechanic… Just imagine we are on a jolly ride at a remote place, on a picnic with friends' group and suddenly our vehicle breaks down. We do not know what to do next and suddenly we find a guy with hammer and spanners in hand just a few meters away. Many of us might have felt relief in such real life situations actually happening.
When things go well, we ignore these people's role in our well-being because they are a just car/vehicle mechanic with dirty black grease in hand.
A garbage collector… Cleaning workers, the way do their duty is extremely commendable. The foul smell, those dirty hands, breathing difficulties and the way they travel hanging outside the vehicle to stop every step. Words can’t explain their plight. I really don’t understand how long they will be able to survive. How long can they remain healthy? What salary/benefits they really get considering their working conditions?
We increase their difficulties by not putting the waste into garbage bin. We throw it from a distance because it is difficult to reach the wastage bin due to foul smell. Just imagine what they have to sustain their entire lifetime there.
We may argue that they are responsible for their conditions for whatever reasons. But at the end of the day they are too human beings. Let us not ignore them and their role.
A roadside hotel… Many of us have tasted the early morning tea at roadside tea stalls. We might have forgotten those days. Even today’s modern world their presence is very much needed. Only frequent travelers can make out their contribution to the society. Like many others they too start their duty early morning irrespective of the season. Again a commendable job to sustain their families.
Needless to say the tastiest tea I have often had was from these types of stalls in the open rather than in AC hall.
A scientist… You may be surprised how can someone add a super genius club of scientists to this commoners' list. The primary aim of this article is to remember those very ordinary and great souls because of whose presence our daily life is comfortable. How many of us remember the person reason behind the luxuries we enjoy today in life? Imagine a day without our TV set, no AC, no bulbs and more importantly, try to imagine our hands empty without a mobile set! Have you ever read how many sacrifices they have made to light up our lives? Imagine a day without our car, we have to go abroad and aeroplanes are not there…Those scientists spent their entire lifetimes in the laboratory, not compromising with their defeats and setbacks, sacrificing all their happiness trying to improve human conditions. Try to imagine the dangerous situation of those scientists dealing with deadly viruses to find out antibodies to save millions of human lives.
We silently enjoy what they cooked for us. Let us not forget those great souls because of their presence we are comfortable today. When we touch, see and use any equipment/invention we enjoy today, let us not forget the inventor behind it. At least trying to understand what they made and how it works to give us comforts not only helps us increase our knowledge and through that we salute those great souls. Many of those great personalities may not be physically present amongst us but they breathe through their inventions forever.
Coming back to the point of ordinary people, why the bottom level people suffer most of the times? Just because their educational qualifications are less compared to us? Is it because they are defenseless? May be yes but more than that, it is because of our attitude toward them. Why do we look down upon them? Just because some members of this group commit crimes? They don’t dress neatly?They have less or no education?
Without any doubt their existence is very much needed to balance the social ecosystem. Without them, me and you, no one can breathe easily. When the actual fact is this we have every reason to be thankful to them.
It is difficult to reach out to every individual we see on streets. But we can light up a few lives of those directly connected with us by treating them with dignity and as fellow human beings. After all they are also human beings, have emotions and desires like we have. Imagine their entire lifetime they have to spend to keep someone happy and comfortable and generally those are the same people who may treat them with no respect many a time.
Just moments before his death, Dr Abdul Kalam set a wonderful example for all of us to follow. He called and thanked the security guard who provided security to him standing on the vehicle throughout his journey by road. A few moments later Dr Kalam breathed his last.
I wrote this article because some time back a small girl working as nanny was insulted and verbally abused for eating her dinner on the dining table. Just because we pay them for their service, their sacrifice and service should not be undermined. Every day, the rising sun brings us new hope, new opportunities and happiness. These are the people who help us to achieve those dreams. God gave them the supporting role to balance the social ecosystem. We should not ignore them.
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