People talk so much about mothers and the sacrifices they make. For ages, people ignored their mothers and the sacrifices they made for their family.
But that’s changed now. Every mother’s day, people thank their mothers, speak so highly of their greatness and share photos on Facebook to show their gratitude to the rest of the world.
What about the other mothers?
She’s the one who starts work before you’re awake, sweeps your floors, cleans your bathrooms, refills your tissue rolls, clears away your empty cups, dusts your desk, rearranges your dishevelled papers, eats after you, and works on Sundays.
And yet, she’s not your mother.
She’s a maintenance staff. The people who make an office of a piece of construction.
So many of these maintenance staffs are mothers too. And it’s painful to see them working so hard for the people who don’t even spare a second look at them.
Most of them are my mother’s age. Every time I see one of them mopping the floor for the third time in a day, I wonder if I’d want my mother in the same situation.
I wouldn’t. Because it’s a sad job. Because people don’t see you for who you are; people don’t see you at all. And yet, not one of them walks past your place without taking away the cup you were too lazy to throw away. And if you happen to catch their eye, they smile at you — not the false smile you give your boss, but the one your mother gives you. What makes them do that?
I don’t think it’s passion for their work. A sense of conscience? Are they just loyal to their salary?
It’s not about the money. It was never about the money. Yes, it’s their job to clean, but it’s their choice to clean satisfactorily. Because they care. They care about you, they care for me.
It’s the human vulnerability. They look at me and they see their own daughter. The mother within drives them to do more, to do better.
I sat staring at the laptop one morning. It was the festival holidays and the office was almost empty. A maintenance staff came up and asked me why I didn’t go home for the festival holidays. We spoke for a while and she wondered aloud how hard it must be, living in a foreign city, away from family, not being able to go home for the holidays without getting crushed under poor roads and the terrible traffic of monsoon rains.
She works a 12-hour shift and her every break is valuable. She didn’t have to spend her time talking to me. But she did. She spent her free time consoling me. She didn’t know why I didn’t go home, she didn’t know I was too lazy to trudge through traffic.
She just assumed I couldn’t go, never once suspecting that I didn’t want to go. Because she’s a mother. And mothers don’t judge.
If that’s not great, what is?
Written for a contest run by Tata Motors to promote their campaign, #madeofgreat.