Mirror On My Way
It all happened during last February.
Akbar Alley, a quaint little departmental store at Sayan, Mumbai is one of my favourite shopping venues. Especially for all those small knick-knacks like a shaving pouch or a pair of readymade pyjamas. I can't say it is a very expensive upmarket spot. The inside of the shopping does not have so much hustle and bustle whenever I have visited. And it has reasonable arrangement for car parking.
Its delivery desk is at its ground floor—or rather at its basement—where the average waiting time to get all your packets is just negligible. The day I visited the store last February, I had an occasion to stand near the delivery desk for some time. Reason: the ladies were still to finish their shopping whereas I had bought the lone item I required—my shaving pouch.
And I kept observing the desk personnel in action. He was not very busy and he had his own speed which was rhythmic and careful. He was contended and his voice was just sibilant.
Observing the relevant—I don’t believe I am so capable of it. Yet at that moment I felt the employee at the desk was doing something special, much different from what many of us would be doing. ‘Is he aware of that, should I tell him about that, here and now?’ I thought of it. I could not conclude.
‘Brother, you should be the most pious person in your establishment, in your life…, for you just give and give, and do nothing else,’ I just commented. It was unsolicited and had its elements of indiscretion and spontaneity.
There was a peculiar expression on his face, an expression of disbelief. Maybe he feared I was taunting him. But my words were from somewhere within, and my face just betrayed my sincerity. Maybe he thought it impossible for anybody to taunt him, for he did not deserve any.
But definitely he understood me; I posed just a harmless waylayer.
Then he came up with his response. It was even more sincere than mine, almost in a tone of self-effacement.
‘Sir, in my twenty years of service, you’re the first person to have said me so…’ he had perhaps more than this to tell, but he did not. He is not a man of many words. But his look, his face told me what more he had to say:
‘Sir, you are a different kind of person; try to maintain your difference as long as you can….’ ================================================================
A. N. Nanda