Think not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.This is a very old apothegm but how true it is especially for us, Indians. Each one of us can go on non-stop when it comes to country bashing, but does any of us ever hold a mirror to each small action of ours, how it reflects on the image of the country and how it is responsible for making the country what it is. We are big hypocrites and just being out of the country doesn’t make me stand on a pedestal and preach, but the differences I am exposed to everyday, force me to stop and ponder.
I read somewhere recently about a survey conducted worldwide about patriotism, the result of which shows that Americans are at the number 1 spot when it comes to taking pride in their country. And I feel it is America which should take pride in its people because here I see the attitude everyday by everyone to give a 200% to every job. A country is made by each individual and the attitude each one has towards his/her work. These guys have the same flesh and blood and they are not super intelligent and not exorbitantly paid, but the value each one brings to their job is commendable. It is not a debatable issue any more, but is appreciated universally that Indians are better when it comes to technology and science, but I am not talking about techies and scientists but about an average laborer, a librarian, a store attendant, a daycare teacher , just any job that does not require all that grey matter.
Just the other day, trying to find a public book in the library, I asked a lady library attendant about it and she started looking through the database, made a phone call to locate it, then got up and walked with me to the aisles sifting through books and even climbed over the stepstools multiple times to find it for me. And the lady was old, must have been easily in her upper 60’s, but what dedication to her job. I was ashamed of myself for giving trouble to the old lady, but she was determined to do it for me.
A friend whose son goes to a primary public school told me that his teacher takes such interest in each child that she would do research and try to educate his son on things that interest him. He was interested in birds so she would take a class on birds just for him. The parents are not going to write a hefty cheque for her efforts ,neither are they going to nominate her for the Best Teacher award, but its just her dedication to the job.In stark contrast is our public school teachers who take the paycheque every month for all the knitting and needle-work they do while enjoying the sun at school. They are criminals- stealing from their job and the future of children is entrusted to these thieves. And not only that, they also take young kids to their homes at break time to do washing and cleaning for them. Shame on us.
Just the other day, when at work, a funny but unfortunate thing happened – when I dropped my car keys in the toilet and flushed them down.The comic value of the incident and my carelessness/clumsiness are things worth being commented upon, but lets save it for later. The keys were gone, not to be seen.I knew little could be done but I went in search looking for a janitor and I asked the facilities guy where I could find him. As I narrated my incident to this guy who holds a office job, he forgot about the janitor and rushed to the restroom with me and sealed it by sticking a paper on the door with CLOSED written at it, so that nobody used it till the time he figured out what to do.
Then he donned a pair of gloves and found a magnetic wire and inserted it in the toilet bowl. Well the keys could not be found, they would be swimming in deeper waters, but I was bowled over by his effort.This guy was not a janitor and this was nowhere written in his job description but look how well he responded and did his bit.
I am in no mood for men bashing now ,but since we are on this topic, let me take a pick or two- how many Indian men actually clean the toilets in their own homes. After doing his business with the pot, does one actually look back and see what a sight he is leaving for the next visitor – which would of course be family. It is the woman’s or the sweeper’s prerogative to wash and clean it. We are ashamed of cleaning our own mess.
I remember the time when I was looking for a babysitter in India for my infant son.Yes , there were maids of all colors and sizes at my door but many of them said they were willing to take care of the child, but would not wash his soiled nappies. Well, what is childcare all about till a child is potty trained? Well I found a good maid, but dare I dish out a suggestion to her, she would be histrionic and make me feel that I was responsible for her misery, cap-a-pie.Here I put my child in daycare since he was 2 and of course not potty trained and the teacher in his class was incharge of 8 other children and she changed diapers for all of them and wiped their bottoms all day long.
She changed the childrens’ dress if some food spilled on it.She herself tool care of the trash, putting things in their place,just everything. Yet she did not pull a weary face when I came to pick my son, she would smile and share happenings of his day,willing to give an take suggestions.
We Indians are capable of much more than we do, we just do maybe 20% of our capacity and are complacent about it. A job that needs 2 people needs 10 but still is not half well done. Here the 24 hour drive-in Mcdonalds etc outlets are manned by just 1 or max 2 persons at a time.They handle everything – taking orders, preparing the food, billing, cleaning ,dumping the trash – just everything .
If each one does just his bit well enough,our country would be a better place to live in.We shirk from responsibility and try to dodge it,divert it, all the time- that is what has to change, the attitude.