“I don’t think you would make it”
“It isn’t in your caliber”
“You sure you can do that?”
“Oh come on, that isn’t your cup of tea”
“Not your game bro”
When someone addresses you as a redundant personality, how do you feel? The manner so disparage and condemning, it hurts when the respect you really deserve doesn’t come through to you- no matter how much you’ve tried to prove your mettle and point.
Yet again, the conversations continue – talks happen, cup of coffee flow, ciggies are lit and smoked, more talks with the same condemning buffoon happen- face to face. Your lips smile an emoting sense as a courtesy gesture; the soul and the conscious mind are simultaneously playing their own game- “Am I really that low and imbecile, that I don’t get it I am useless?”- such thoughts within with a fake assuring gesticulation on the outside. For a moment it drops your confidence too.
Belittlement to the self garbs the soul like the dark velvet night sky; this time though sans the twinkle and mystical fanfare- it is dark, and you know this has caught your attention too. Fact it may be, but you don’t appreciate the belittling talk thrown to you in such a way; not by yourself to yourself, and certainly not by others to you.
At the same time, whilst the soul within revolts and you want that respect no matter what, the act of desperation only leads the lips to smile- you smile away at the condescending perpetrator sipping away his brew! WHY?
Who doesn’t make mistakes? We all do! We all need correction at some point in life, and that is what makes us grow better. However, it is not what you say but how your say it- mistakes can be corrected sans humiliation. An old adage says “words when spoken cannot be taken back”, so true- lest the emotions involved that can scar the soul for life. Articulation, intonation and perceptions can make or break the human mind and soul, which is why it is important that we give respect and earn it too- be wise with your ways of correction.
The maid at home, the office peon, the elevator helper, the coffee counter boy, the pizza order girl, the home delivery boy, our letterman and the pantry boy, hawkers on the street, the local sweepers and the chauffeur too- every one has dreams, aspirations, a thought process and personality, quite different from one to the next. What we notice through the moving of the clock handle all through the day- belittlement at its highest when dealing with workers or work force below our esteem.
Do they react? The answer is NO!
Afraid of losing their source of income; a meager amount that pays their bills, puts food on their table and makes the world spin for them, they shall not speak against or raise their voice against belittlement – they may just end up losing their job.
Belittlement is drilled into us all, just like the maid takes it in her stride that she is useless at using the modernized baking ovens, and the peon is belittled for not being strong enough to brave the heat wave and protect the house- they continue with their jobs; their souls silently crying- their minds wishing they weren’t born poor and in the arms of prejudice that too.
The scenario does change for the so-called ‘thick-skinned’ work force though; when a reaction is thrown back from them to the condemning perpetrator- a stance that makes them think of their respect and dignity- how someone dare belittle them for no fault of theirs. It takes us as a surprise- how dare they, the working class, back chat- stop a moment, have you ever thought how you started the conversation with him/her, it all how you treat people.
The barrow boy outside my plush air-conditioned office workstation, by my window sil selling cigarettes on a hot summer noon, hands out packers of smokes, gutkha and paan (betel leaf).
How do I know him? You may ask. I am in a love-hate steady relationship with nicotine- an unhealthy one for sure, but my nine hour minimum corporate work profile keeps me hooked to this chamber of mercy- sometimes more than three times a day. I notice how people talk nice with him- not my concern though. However, my ears and senses pin up when someone goes ruthless with their words and actions on him- how dare they!
The barrow boy, with harsh comments and orders thrown at him, continues his job under the dance of the ruthless harsh summer sun; it seems his soul has resigned to the arms of fate and destiny. No change in his facial expression after being meted out with harshness; his burnt tan skin and doe eyes are lifeless to the words and comments thrown at the innocent soul- or is it.
He dares to speak but knows if he does, his sales would fall. Every time when I am there, I say “ek cigarette dena”(give me a cigarette), he knows my brand as I am a regular customer to him, he hands out one to me. He’s still to young to revolt; he feels the world would go against him or rebuke the revolution of a young mind, so tortured.
It was just yesterday, when the sinful dark stick of nicotine called for a session of love making- I needed a puff so bad, I walked up to the boy and exclaimed “dost, ek cigarette dena”( Friend, give me a cigarette), he looked at me with glittering eyes and smile to me. “What happened?” I asked.
“Sir, aapne kya bola”(sir, what did you say?)
I stared at him and with a smile I repeated “dost, ek cigarette dena”( Friend, give me a cigarette). He smile with happiness and handed me my brand. As I puffed the sinful flame into the tobacco that waited for the pull, the word “friend” I realized made a change- a smile I could gift to the barrow boy for the day- I felt relaxed.
Thus began the story of a new ‘friend’- I made one!