KV News

Positive in spite of all odds!

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By: Desh Bir

Usually, for most of us the day begins at dawn. Yet for Samantha, it starts once again at sunset!  Does that sound strange? It is around this time that she shakes all her lethargy resulting from the day’s rounds of work as she collects green and dry waste from people’s homes, and gets ready for the nearby plaza housing half a dozen banks. It is here that her daily evening work summons her around dusk.

An eatery, adjoining a humming and much visited Private bank which employs around two dozen young executives, is, by this hour, already a haunt of young people fond of chicken flavours of several descriptions offered by this eatery. The young bankers from the six banks on this square hover around their work place in order to stretch their day till it are dark enough to wend towards their cars in the sprawling parking. As they buy their favourite flavours from the lone wine shop sandwiched between two banks, their cars become virtual bars.

The boys from two chicken hubs, collecting orders from the car-bars, turn hastily from one vehicle to the other and finally hasten to respective vendors to place orders for a speedy dispensation. The parking lot having at least four dozen vehicles, by turns, under the dusky sky becomes an open air pub with half-downed window screens.

It is at this hour that Samantha’s best skills are put to test. She goes close to each car without meaning to impinge on the privacy of the revelers and looks for the possible glass or plastic bottles flung out of the car windows with a stealthily royal flourish. They are the spoilt brats of wealth, least ashamed or guilty of anything. Brandishing their family wealth doesn’t bring them to face any qualms of conscience. It is their right to announce their monetary might and fling it in the face of the humble people as they do when a bottle picker nears them.

Samantha never faces them direct. Nor does she display any sense of feeling obliged. She does her work of collecting the abandoned stuff and turns away with a stoic air. With her left hand at the back around her waist as she bends to collect a bottle, she displays only a professional approach to work as she shoves the collected stuff into a bag and moves forward to another car which has created more work for her.

This being a midsized town has a middle class psychology concerning the movements of women at night. Yet, Samantha has transcended that parochial limit. She is there from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. perpetually on the move like a dedicated worker with a mission.

I have seen her doing this for s couple of years. I pass by her quite often as I take my dog for a walk each day. I had accosted her on several occasions showing due respect to her task. There has been a tacit empathy between us. The other say, I tried to open   up to her and wanted to know about her and her family.

She took a long breath and started: “I come from Kanchipuram district of Tamilnadu and my village is Anjur. I am a widow with a daughter who is doing her B.C.A. back home in the nearby city of Kanchipuram. My daughter stays with my mother while I earn for them here in Punjab. I have Punjab as my home for 10 months in a year. I visit Anjur in July and August. I shall call it a day when my daughter completes her M.C.A”

What clarity and what positivity in spite of all odds, I told myself! Men easily buckle where women of such mettle standout and show the way to others!

(The author is a Retired Principal of Govt. College, Hoshiarpur (Punjab)

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