There are some jobs that society deems as unfit for recognition. These are the same jobs without which society would cease to function. These are the people we have been taught to look down upon by our schools and our society in general. But I always feel differently about them and the things they do for us. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so is filth. What you see is what you are.
The Garbage Man:
I wake up each morning, have a shower and wear some fresh clothes and head out of home feeling fresh, at least on most days. On my way to the train station I see the BMC’s Garbage Men cleaning out the huge metal trash cans with their bare hands, looking as fresh as I am. That will continue to make me proud of being a human. Not an Indian, just a human. To see someone carry out such a task, involving such a stench, with such a smile on their face, that is what a true hero might look like. Strength is never measured by how much we can inflict, but by how much we endure. And besides that, somebody has to do it, and it certainly won’t be me and you.
All that being said, take a look at what this dignified public servant has to say regarding provision of gloves and aprons to those who dispose our garbage. : “Looking after rubbish, anywhere in the world, is not dignified,” said J. K. Dadoo, the secretary of Delhi’s Environment Ministry. “The very fact that we have acknowledged that we need to look after their health is a tremendous acknowledgment of their dignity.”
The Construction Worker:
Often seen in paint and cement blasted clothes with shoes that are broken, these altitude immune building climbers need to be respected. Norms in India basically mean paperwork and expenses, both of which we don’t like. That is the reason for the poor safety measures taken in interest of the people responsible for crafting our tall sky scrapers. Construction workers, men and women alike, climb to great heights often with a heavy load on their head and not a single harness guaranteeing their safety. All this might be slowly changing, but it’s certainly not assuring. I have seen women carrying their babies and working in environments that are unfit for even any adult to be breathing in.
Also called an ‘Undertaker’, their job is to prepare the body for cremation or burial and make sure the ceremony is carried out without any obstacles. In Hinduism, cremation is the preferred method, where the body is kept over a bunch of wooden logs and is covered with them too. The undertaker’s dirty job actually begins when the body is ignited and he has to make sure that all the human flesh and bones is turned into ash by manually pushing things into place in the blazing inferno. This job is certainly difficult to think about for someone like you and I, but it’s a common reality for someone who’s doing yet another job we would not want to do. With the arrival of electric cremation techniques, this job will not remain at large. But from what I know about us Indians, we don’t let go of mindless traditions unless we look horrible in front of the rest of the world.
The Sex Worker:
I have never used the services of a call girl to relieve myself. Neither have I taken an oath to stay away from it. In India the huge brothel infested red light districts are filled with little girls and women who were brought into this sex trade without their consent and are treated worse than animals are, not by their pimps but by society. However, sex trade is not confined to these walls. Many beautiful young ladies sell sex for a lot of money on a daily basis. They do it because it is the quickest way to make big bucks. In brothels they do it to stay alive and keep their families alive.
In some parts of Australia, Korea, Amsterdam and so on, prostitution is a legal business. Prostitution, to your surprise, is not always about sex, it has quite a few different elements to it. Some sex workers share their experience with many clients as being emotional and communicative. Married men prefer to pay for sex occasionally than to be emotionally involved with someone else because marriage is often not a successful institution. It is an institution after all. Often one or both the partners lose interest in sex which does not eliminate the need for it. Men in such a situation need a woman’s touch, a brief moment of connection and some laughter. Women need it too. I don’t intend to promote prostitution nor do I condemn it, I am nobody to judge.
It is an observed scientific fact that patients admitted in a hospital heal faster with smiles and good vibrations rather than medications. As a matter of fact most medications create requirements in our body for other medications. So who provides these smiles and good vibes? Certainly not the doctor, he or she has a hundred patients to look after in a day and they are often stressed themselves. It is the nurse that nurtures the patient and looks after their most basic human needs. We can all agree that giving an old person a sponge bath can be quite putting off, to put it mildly. But a nurses job is much more than that. A nurse becomes the guardian angel of sorts, helping people see that life is still good. In such situations a smile is like watching a beautiful sunrise.
Another thing I found out is that Nurses in the US, a good number of them, are highly intoxicated on opiates like heroin or prescription drugs that they can obtain. They confess that these drugs keep them happy in turn keeping their patients happy. This has probably shaken up your mental image of a drug user. I am no one to judge.
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