08 September 2009

Recession

I joined my current organization around 5 months ago. It is located in a software technology zone on the outskirts of my city. Infact, it is surrounded by verdant hills. In the rainy days, the drive to my office is quite scenic and the last lap especially is a climb uphill. Everyone however is not lucky like me to be able to drive a 4-wheeler to the office. Many commute by bus or rickshaws. However, the buses or rickshaws stop about a kilometer from my office at the foot of the hill. I see many of them trudging the last mile up the hill with heavy haversacks on their backs. Many times I stop to give them a ride to the office. And I am not the only one who does that.

Yesterday morning, I spied an old man walking along this road. He seemed to be in his sixties, and appeared to be sweating profusely. I stopped and asked him if I could drop him to the office. He accepted my offer gratefully and sat next to me wiping his wet brow. He then volunteered that he was going to meet Mr. Shaikh in my office. Said the he had been promised the job of a security guard there. He asked me if I knew Mr. Shaikh. I replied that I did not. He then asked, 'This is a big organization, no? Do you think they will hire me? I was specifically asked to come to this office today.' Frankly, I was a bit surprised for he did not look like a security guard to me. He caught my look and hastened to explain that he had recently been laid off from his factory. The owner had cited repeated losses and lack of funds for the termination of his duties. At his age, he had looked forward to retiring comfortably some years down the line. However, it was not to be. He was forced to look for a job at such a late age.

By now, we had reached the main gate and I had to drop him so that he could go through the entry formalities. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds at this point, but there was a shadow in my heart. I felt guilty for being young, wealthy and in possession of a secure means of income. I felt that life was really unfair and there was nothing one could do about it. One can only help one another in the struggle that is life and be the shoulder to cry on. One cannot remove another's burden, just lessen it maybe. I hope the gentleman got his job.

5 comments:

Veena said...

That was a touching story.. Reminded me of the carpenter who did the furniture at my house.. he was an old man and was excellent at his job.. I used to feel so much of respect for him.. that I felt frustrated and would constantly wonder why people who do manual labor are considered below our standards in our culture !

state of mind? said...

i can so feel that sense of guilt....life is strange and full of complexities.....

hope u see him at the gate..:)

Random Blogger 3 (Amit Shirodkar) said...

Very poignant story. I can identify with the sentiments... I often wonder why there are people who have so much and others who have so less.

But the very fact that you thought about this itself shows that you are still grounded and can empathize with others. Do not lose this quality!!

Azra said...

Hmmm...I am glad that you helped him and am really touched by your sentiments too... You have the will and the gesture to help those whom people generally do not even acknowledge. Each person is fighting his or her battles, kind gestures by strangers act as encouragement..God Bless You...Love you more.

Haddock said...

One cannot remove another's burden, just lessen it maybe........
How true

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