"We're meant to serve. We're NOT their servants!" Says Bob Hoskins character to JLo's character from the movie "Maid in Manhattan".
People often forget the difference between an occupation and a character. They are blinded by money, power and society-defined status to clearly see that those defined as ‘lesser or ‘lower’ than them are but mere humans going about their roles and occupations.
I have seen my share of injustice and really inhumane behaviour to downright bullying. But some recent stints at my company where I work triggered me to pen down a few thoughts. It really irks me when people are rude for no apparent reason especially to those who don't have a voice or haven’t found their’s yet. Yes, I have been rude and angry: with family, boyfriend, friends etc. But I have consciously watched my tone with a maid, security guards, servers and those who do service, beggars and urchins, rickwalas and cabbies. They live with injustice and uncouth behaviour and attitude thrown all day save for when they are asleep. No one seems to see eye to eye with them. That’s why I am surprised at them expressing surprise at my very polite behaviour to them (Mental note: If only I made the same effort with near and dear ones when I am about to lose the string on temper).
If 1 were subjected to negative attitude and beaten down mentally and emotionally all day long, they will appear regressive or aggressive – both in the extremes. Take for example the employees at my place of occupation. Although my organization boasts 1 of the top places to work professionally, as a brand, in experience; it also takes pride in exercising their upkeep of women and their superior role, housekeeping, FnB and other tertiary domains. Yet, I find it absolutely blasphemous that housekeeping staff has to clean the corners and curves with bare hands. It includes large corridors, restrooms and kitchen and service areas. I have watched and wondered if a pair of gloves and hygiene equipment really creates a hole in their multi-billion dollar kitty.
Employees yell at FnB staff and order food like a warden ordering a miscreant prisoner from the yard to his holding cell. It’s not like anyone made a mistake. It appears like they think it’s a natural and acceptable manner of communication. Rickwalas are treated like scum – plausible excuse being that they are ‘Northies’. Why the typecast? Another very mundane e.g. would be: Recently I was getting into a rick with a Muslim driver. I particularly find them to be very polite with more than immaculate Hindi diction. And they mind their own business. A few classmates 1st discouraged me saying it was late and they didn’t trust ‘these’ drivers. I shrugged it off and got in. At the end of my ride the driver asked me to place the money on the meter and not in his hands. I asked him repeatedly why this odd exchange. He said they don’t touch unmarried ladies or women that are not their immediate family. I wasn’t offended. I was smiling and complied. It was the month of Ramadan. I only wished that my disapproving friends who were looking out for my safety had seen this driver’s attitude. Maybe they wouldn’t then be quick to typecast and judge.
I know good and bad people and they don’t come from a particular background. The divide is just cuz of society. They are quick to blame a religion or a state or a country or a socio-economic background. 1 forgets our birth, upbringing and circumstances also define us. Not just define us. There are those who rise out of the muck so clean and polished, 1 would never believe they once existed on the other side of the fence. They have class, dreams, desires, ideas and survival skills that even adrenaline rush wouldn't pop in our cosily raised minds.
So while we are comfortable hailing a rick and speeding off to wherever we wanna go, don’t forget the endless lines of people waiting in the rain and grime for that 1 bus, BEST drivers, conductors and railway employees who works holidays and long hours to shuttle us thankless passengers who trample, beat and abuse them, the driver who sleeps in his vehicle, eats measly meals and drives and drives even taking bathroom breaks mid-commute. There are countless we don’t see and hear. Like I said earlier, “People who don’t have a voice or haven’t found their’s yet.” They will find a voice. Someday. Somehow.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!