FACE IN THE CROWD

January 30th,2009

 

FACE IN THE CROWD

I follow a strict almost disciplined life! [I sleep at 2 and wake up at 7; p!]

Morning starts with a brisk brushing and 3 glasses of warm water [flushes out all the toxins we put inside!] Hurried morning ablutions over, gulp down the breakfast my maid puts in front of me and rush to office for the day’s routine.

My day has started!!! Work, work, work……gossip over lunch….a power nap, more work and pack up at 5.Once I reach home I change speedily into my funky track pants, tee and my silver sports shoes and hit the gym at 6. Once there, my car is parked by a valet, who opens the door for me and wishes me good evening….this is where I stop and think! These are the nameless and almost faceless people we meet in our daily lives and we tend to not even acknowledge their presence as if they just don’t exist. I spoke to the young boy and he was taken aback that I did! His name was Rajesh, a student who was working part time to continue his college education with normal dreams like all of us-of seeing better days, better life, and better standards of living! His favorite actress he said was Bhumika as she looked like the girl next door and he is a good dancer too he chuckled. He said, `Ma’am, nobody even looks at us and why are you talking to me. It is as if we are not human or don’t have hearts. People just look through us!’

My eyes were moist as I raced up the stairs to the third floor [I really don’t take the lift!] And I am greeted by the doorman, who pulls open the heavy glass door and wishes me good evening so very politely. I was moving away without even a glance at him but then I stopped in my tracks and turned around. I asked him his name and he diffidently replied…Venkatesh. I stood there and asked him about his family and he said that he was married to Sujata, a salesgirl in a mall and had a daughter named Swapna. He said that it was hard to manage on the salaries nowadays due to the increased standards of living and keeping up with the Joneses compounded with the inflation. On my way back the valet brought the car to me and wished me goodnight and I smiled back and wished him back and tipped him for his services. My heart just went out to him and all the rest of the people who live their lives in such anonymity.

 

The next afternoon I went out for lunch with my friends to celebrate a friend’s birthday. This was at the Taj. And again the same story was almost repeated, the Valets running around parking for the patrons and the main door manned by an almost 6 ½ foot Pathan. I stopped to talk to him and was enamored by his huge moustache, colorful uniform and turban. He threw a broad smile and with a swish of his hand, welcomed us in. My friends were taken aback to see me engaging him into a conversation. He had a very interesting life to narrate about. He was an ex-sportsperson [basketball] but due to a knee injury had to lay off from playing and his height came in handy to get him a job as a doorman as they usually take those with good height and personality. His name was Mansoor Khan with one wife 🙂 and 6 children between the ages of 16 to 4!! He has been placed at different cities and each one has its own charm he says. But one thing in common is that 99% people don’t even give him a glance when he wishes them.

On my way to work at a busy crossroad, sits a demure young girl selling strings of jasmine flowers. She is dusky but with such sharp features. Doe shaped eyes lined with kajal, an aquiline nose pierced with a stud and hair in a neat braid embellished with the scented flowers. I buy flowers from her regularly but never ever tried to get to know her. That day I had time to literally smell the flowers and I chatted her up. She was as talkative as any normal teenager these days and her name she said was Malleswari, but was called Malli (malle puvvu means jasmine). Malli said that she studied till the tenth but then couldn’t afford to go to college and she bought flowers and strung them to be sold in the evening. She said that her dream was to have a small shop, a house of her own, a loving husband and a couple of kids. Simple dreams of a simple girl! I blessed her and moved on with the lingering scent of the intoxicating jasmines.

There must be hundreds of Venkateshs,’ Mansoors’ and Rajeshs, Malli’s’ we come across in our day to day lives! Let’s be humane and acknowledge their presence and at least and make them feel that they are human too and not just a face in the crowd!

 

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