Work

 

band-party-BX69_lIt is 11 a.m. Woke up to a pale sunny morning which was to soon lose its innocence to the maturity and the haughtiness of the noon. What sounded like a marriage procession in the street (at this time of the year??) was the prominent trigger to the whisking away of  lethargy that kept me cuddled to myself all through the dawn and the wee hours. The band procession goes away. The images of the bright red dress and the flashy turbans of men in the band linger for a bit longer. I have wondered about these professions and professionals. I once again think of the ways in which these men explain to their near and dear ones about what they do for a living. The question seems quaint. However, it keeps coming back to me. It also comes uninvited to me when watching a mythological series on the television where actors put on the demonic make ups-unreal eyes, crumbled hairdo, protruding teeth and made to act out those horrifying and yet endearing laughter sequences. The ‘hoohaahaha’ and the costumes make me think of the lives of these actors as it would unfold beyond the stage and the set. Do these professionals carry their ‘jobs’ back home to their kids and spouses? In what ways are the intricacies of such engagement articulated in speech? I know of my friends employed by multinational giants, some businessmen and others who call themselves ‘artists’ for whom ‘work’ is all about being respectably tired. How is fatigue talked about by the others who in a way remain oblivious to the social eye because of the ephemeral effect and the obsolete occasional needs that they are called on for fulfilling. Play a tune for an hour, beat the drums, blow into the trumpet and then vanish with the ‘payment’ only to adorn another gathering in another locality with the music that is surely more strenuous than the one that is played in a studio orchestra with a ‘in demand’ playback singer lending her voice to it!

In the street is the work for a new building in progress. Marble tiles are being cut to squares. The grilling noise reaches my ears and I visualise the stream of beautiful sparks landing on the fabric of my shirt. The men who work with the tiles sit too close to the machine as it cuts into the substance. The sparks leave holes on their shirts. I haven’t seen any of them ever using a bib. I look at my shirt, find it safe. The floor in my room looks dirty as ever, the commode needs a dose of disinfectant and the bed sheet has already begun reeking of dust and endocrinal exudates. The broom is nowhere in sight. The clothes are in disarray and badly need some hot iron pressing over their crushes. With respect to the kinds of work people do for a living, all that I have to do today, if I am able to, I heave a sigh of relief. I will be doing all this for myself and not because I will be paid for it, not because if I don’t pay attention to these chores the chances of my evening bread shall suffer. Not because these chores involve my limbs and my senses in positions they would surely not want to be in. Alienation from what one has to do sends me pondering.

Believe me, a cup of hot coffee and some pretentious reflection over a blog post are best ways to make oneself forget the strangeness of lives we have all come to lead. It obviously does not matter if we have time to think of things going on around us. Thinking about it and reflecting on it is just a choice that one has to make. There are no penalties for not doing so. Honestly speaking, there are other more important things to do. Watch a film on a pleasant Sunday afternoon and go to sleep while it is half over. Relax…that’s life!

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45 thoughts on “Work

  1. Interesting how these are personal perspectives, ruminations, that, however, fit in with the personal perspectives of people in completely different worlds and cultures. We did not know we are “global” until the word was invented….and the internet connected everyone. You are not alone in your concerns. This reminds me of the ancient Roman who said: nothing human is alien to me. Well done!
    PS: your English is not so quaint. Only this; stones are “ground” not “grilled”. We grill steaks on an open fire to cook them (or vegetables in your case maybe), but stones would simply split or burst from the heat…So: “… the GRINDING noise ” reaches your ears….. Thanks for your patience. I am prompted by care and respect for your writing. Sincerely, v.

    • Thank you so much for the warm words and an affectionate suggestion! I was however referring to the machine with a circular blade that is used for cutting tiles and stones into desired shapes and not ‘grinding’ them. Will ‘grilling’ then not be a more appropriate word to use, even if not the absolutely correct one? To be noted is the fact that we most often do not know the names of tools that people around us use for a living-pliers, screwdrivers, axes and chisels are not all!

      • Hi again, the machine that you mention CUTS stone and does not make a grilling noise (not in American and I believe not in UK English either!), it makes a grinding or a harsh whizzing noise even though it is not pulverizing the stone. It is called a stone cutting machine or a stone cutting electric saw. I just checked it on line. In American English “to grill” is equivalent to
        “to cook” also known as barbecue, “to roast on a grill”. The only noise it may make is sizzling and it is a low noise similar to frying. The term “to grill” is also used figuratively for interrogating prisoners or suspected criminals, meaning that they are “slowly roasted” … I see online – but did not investigate it – that there is a use of “grill” or “to grill” in Hindi, that may well be, but it certainly does not apply when using English, especially well-written English. Sorry about the length of these discussions but I love words, their meaning, and how they morph over time and in various situations. In this case, however, grilling is not the correct word if you use English! Warm regards, Vera

  2. Very philosophical. Part Raskolnikov part Godin’s thinker. What jolted me awake was the idea of ‘pretentious reflection over a blog post’. End of the trance.

  3. Love the post. Two thoughts, (and not comments) that I would like to share:

    1.) I know someone who used to say, as a child, that he wanted to be a Band Master when he grew up. Probably that child also probed the question you asked, albeit in a different way..:-)

    2.) Someone asked me once, referring to a shopkeeper, that it would be interesting to know how life would be ‘behind the counter’, as a person who caters to needs of people. Being a shopkeeper gives an individual a different personality, which people refer to in a very different way. It is one of those professions which would make me ask questions similar to your’s here in the post.

    Loved reading it. Many thanks for posting.

  4. exactly, that’s life! it’s strange and nasty. even though we achieve nothing by pondering over the lives of many people around us, but that’s something which we cannot avoid indulging in. at the end of the day, we are happy that our shirts are safe.

    that was a wonderful read!!

  5. Well, my friend, if relaxing is all there is to it, life would be very boring. It’s a nice dream, but only so much. I think we all have to do various things, because we have to. And I think that it actually helps shaping you as a person. Those who never would have to do anything – maybe because they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth – often tend to become arrogant and unlikable. Even writing a post on a blog is more than just relaxing isn’t it. As a photographer I certainly have to do my share of work for no other reason than survival, but I still enjoy very much what I do – and enjoy my life very much.

  6. I indeed fully endorse the concept of living the ‘relaxed’ (which should not translate into lazy) life. Not only life becomes more livable to the self, the positive vibes that it creates does go on to improve the ecosystem around.
    Of course, in my own ‘working’ life, I have had my share of moments of ‘tension, worry’ that would ‘un-relax’ me. But, I am satisfied that I did succeed , in a reasonably fair manner, in not passing on those tensions to ecosystem around me.
    Well, the beauty of living a lively life is its inherent imperfections! Is It Not?

  7. “…The floor in my room looks dirty as ever, the commode needs a dose of disinfectant and the bed sheet has already begun reeking of dust and endocrinal exudates. The broom is nowhere in sight. The clothes are in disarray and badly need some hot iron pressing over their crushes. …”
    And the mention of Band in the beginning of the post. You may not have intended but I’ll take liberty to draw conclusions.

    The glowing description of your room badly needs a band procession with you the attraction in chief.(aka groom). Oh no, it does not mean that someone will be keeping your room clean, (that was last century). In fact someone will make you keep the room in order.

    Ever wonder how that phrase was coined “band baj gaye”?

    On topic,
    It’s all in perspective, the people’s job your wondering about, I doubt if they ever get chance to give a thought about their own job. And to pause and give a thought on someone’s job is a job in itself!

  8. hello… yes, talk about the business of pretending. or, maybe not? but coffee will surely do you good, ahaha. i hope it has, my friend… your musings are always interesting – love to read them… :) btw, you’ve a new theme for the site, huh? warm regards… ~ San

  9. Well appreciation for comfort is very subjective and it applies to what you work as well. Interesting poke on others not so seemingly interesting work.

    • Rightly said Shardul. One man’s leisure is often another man’s lethargy and meaninglessness. But perspectives are always bound by one’s position. It is tough to transcend the biographical constraints while talking about the social reality around oneself. I would not however agree that these constraints should stop one from generally reflecting over issues that are of inevitable curiosity and concern. After all it is life for all of us. We all make sense of it and find a way through it in our own peculiar ways. Glad that you visited and pointed this out. Thanks a lot. Regards,

  10. we see these people everyday, many of them are integral part of our lives..
    my mum curse whole day when her domestic help ditches her… some of the things that you and I consider as chores are source of living these people..

    I think their lives are as complex as ours. Bit twisted, but worthy enough to keep going on..

  11. :)http://iamforchange.wordpress.com/awards-page-and-nominations-thank-you-i-am-so-honored-and-grateful/ So many have shared so much with me and I wish to share as well please accept my nominations and if nothing else know I am grateful for your sharing on your pages with us all and the time you share with me on mine.Thank you!! :) Joe

  12. “Believe me, a cup of hot coffee and some pretentious reflection over a blog post are best ways to make oneself forget the strangeness of lives we have all come to lead.” – So so true! We hardly ever notice how strange our lives are, let alone others’. Loved the post!

  13. There is definitely a certain charm and mystic in observing such uncommon profession. Or, may be it’s not that uncommon. Those with 9 to 5 jobs like to see everything in a certain fashion. I so love the way you described your room. Ending note is so true, ‘such is life…’

  14. Hello! Long back I chanced upon your blog and kept into Favourites. After a long time, today had the chance to read this post and it really worth reading. We have differenet perspectives of life of others.
    As a child I used to wonder what means doing a work for an earning. I never had a precise aim on what I wanted to be in life. Thanks for this wonderfull post. regards. Feroz

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