How would you like to spend your entire life, being called as Nikki or Chotu? Shakespeare didn’t mean that ‘ a rose by any other name would smell as sweet ‘. In Punjab, and primarily in the villages every young boy is Chotu, and every young girl working at home is called Nikki. They are always introduced with their names but slowly and surely one starts calling them Chotu and Nikki and before you shake your head in denial and say no, well it is true. You all have done it, and continue to do it, as we don’t think they are so important to remember their name, it’s a chalta hain attitude and Punjabis are so guilty of it.
We just go with the flow and ignore and forget or should I say conveniently forget. Stop and try and learn about them. It changes everything to the next level. Next time, call them with the name they were given and you will be rewarded with a smile and the efficiency would be manifold. The personal touch that is so missing in our lives comes back and the bond becomes stronger. No one, if they could avoid it would ever work for someone in a subservient way. Its not, easy being a servant and to be at the beck and call of someone. Try it for a day and you will start the next revolution. And, on top it to be a faceless one, no reference to the game of thrones, please.
Arvind is a young boy, he wants to be an actor but is stuck in Punjab that is more economically sound for him but is not what he wants. It is stifling, the food, the culture, the language, everything brow beats him into submission. He has no name but is oye chotu to all, and all he does is sweep the lawns so no leaf is left on the turf. Aren’t leaves supposed to fall? Isn’t there a change in season and a cycle but his destiny seems stuck in a cog in some nondescript village dotting India. The biting cold makes him want to buy a muffler but the phones minutes and talk time leave him stretched.
Sunita, a young Christian girl wants to study but is a maid and is a professional choir singer and has a tutor coming to teach her, she works all day long but her dreams make her soar. Life for her is not about who is at the helm of affairs; all she wants is her salary and how to make it stretch and also educate herself.
Day to day living trying to make it through in one piece and stretching the rupee is what counts. I think ordinary people are the real heroes. Try talking to one, next time and life sure gets interesting. I usually strike conversations with the people that re in the background, the ones who are there but are not there. The sweeper in the emergency PGI ward, who cleaned the ward with such a holy zeal that one, was left astounded. Asha, the old nurse who brought me a cup of tea just because I needed it and loved my smile! In the moments of adversity and when one is down, help and smiles come from people who you would ordinarily never ever bother about. I know this sounds very arrogant and snobbish, but we never expect kindness. Society nowadays has become so jaded that we do not expect kindness, empathy or sympathy or plain basic manners. But, help does come from unexpected quarters to paraphrase my favorite book Harry Potter. If the person reads this who handed me a sweet just when I crucially needed it, and I was lost, scared and had panicked in a real life emergency situation, you are truly divine. Thank you Sir.
I wish I knew your name, Sir.
Empathy is what makes us truly human. There is nothing that comes closer and there is no substitute for this , no education , or money or what the is virtual world is making us, I fear one day we will all be known by our online, projected identities and the art of talking would be lost . After reading this , try asking a few questions to your help and delve into her life , it would make all the difference.