Tag Archives: perspective

A Smile Here. A Smile There.

3d10efd9d6ff765e9e15d71a7cbeebc5

He looked visibly frustrated. And he had reasons to be so. He’d been on his feet for almost half the day and the ordeal was not over yet. He kept shuffling his feet across the floor, trying to visit each table more than once. He knew his boss was keeping a tab. He had to sell the offer they had just rolled out. He collected the offer pamphlets from the doorman’s podium.

He walked to the nearest table. The occupants were conversing. “It is bad manners to intrude,” his teacher had taught him in school. He didn’t want to intrude but his job demanded otherwise.  He went up to the table, excused himself and started explaining the offer to the customers in the middle of their meal and conversation. Halfway through, they took the pamphlet and resumed their conversation. Not a smile, not an acknowledgement, not even the plain old nod. He called it the ‘wallpaper theory’ – he was like the wallpaper, essential but not cast a look at, never smiled at and walked past. Well, at least they were better than those customers who turned around to shout at him, or be rude, or asked him to go away! Oh yes, there were such too. They’d look up and say, “Could you go away?” If only they knew how to even say please.

Every trip to the bathroom involved washing his face more than peeing. Waiting on tables wasn’t his dream job, this was no one’s dream job but if he wanted to get a monthly cash deposit in his bank, this would have to do. He had to remind himself every couple of hours that this job was more important than rude and impolite customers, than being treated like wallpaper, than having to carry people’s soiled plates, sleeping with a pain in the feet which seemed like it would never go away again, and a bruise to your self respect each damned day. But it would have to do. They say no job is small, yet the way they behave each day belittles him.


I met Bhanu, who works at a fast food outlet here in Bangalore. I don’t know what his story is, why he does what he does, how he motivates himself to wait on tables all day long, how he lets out all the frustration that is more than visible on his face, but I am sorry I couldn’t get a smile on his face! Probably one smile from me wasn’t enough to make up for his tough day!

e3621fb78e8966f24338761b066514eb

Let’s try harder next time and be more polite to the ones who have jobs that could not be further away from the term ‘job satisfaction’. Can we do that?

Graciously Yours!

The Rebel’s Wife (2)

For all those who’ve been wanting more, specially the female who asked me at least thrice in the past week ~ here’s the rest of “The Rebel’s Wife“:

“Your father didn’t die in a road accident. Your father was killed on the road. The road was our home. We lost our house. We lost our land. We even lost our identity. The Government took away all that was ours. Or all that we thought we’d owned. And it didn’t even care. All it cared about was money. And we didn’t have any – for us or for them.”

She wiped her tears away. Years had passed and she’d seen worse days but she still went weak in her knees when she thought about those times. She looked into the eyes of her fifteen year old sons and continued.

“Your father, along with others, protested. They were agitating powerlessly against people so ruthless, so cruel and so unforgiving that I wondered if they were created by the same God. We were the wronged; but they looked down upon us. For days on end, we would be without proper food or water. A blanket was a luxury. Smiles seemed to have evaporated overnight. There would be children crying everywhere. Day or night, you could hear the shrieks of babies and the groans of the ill and old. The men were mostly away. Some came back to take their families elsewhere. By the end of the ordeal we were mostly women and children. No one cared if we lived or died. This went on for over a year. We were all scared. Some of us were paranoid. We thought our troubles would never end. But they did.”

“One form of trouble ended. The roads were no longer our homes. They were the burial ground for our men. And the homes they brought us to were the burial grounds for us women. They called my husband a rebel. A rebel he was. He rebelled for a home, for water, for food, for security, for identity, for a life. He rebelled for his family. And he rebelled for all the people he treated as family. He didn’t desert them and run. But he deserted us and died.”

She loved him. But she also hated him. And she let her kids know that today.

She got up to pack the twins’ bags. She was sending them off to the Army. Her country might treat her like the rebel’s wife, but she knew what her late husband wanted. Unlike him she didn’t see his vision of fighting for the masses against the classes but she never questioned him. She accepted that her fate was tied to her husband’s decisions.

Graciously Yours!