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Dignity of Labour

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by radsahana, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. radsahana

    radsahana Silver IL'ite

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    The true meaning of the term "Dignity of Labour" i learned here in USA.

    Initially i used to pick my DD from school by walking, we didn't have car that time.(my weight was also under control due to walking :)) I used to take my 3 yr old in day care cum play group in opposite side, which is also around 1.2 mile, for that i used to take bus sometime and sometime walk.

    During that time, i made one friend, she is now American (but from former Yugoslavia, now torn into different smaller countries). She stays near our house. She used to walk, since her husband used to take car to his work. He will drop the kids in morning, but noon, she will pick them up.

    We used to go walking and come walking bringing the kids from school.She has one Son 6 yr and Daughter 7 yrs, who were in 1st and 2nd Grade respectively. MY DD was in 1st grade in same school. It was a distance of around 1 mile, and that time Winter was not yet started. So walking was pleasant in Fall season:clap. Sometime when my son is having fever, i will ask her to l bring my DD with her from school. she will happily agree to it.

    I was discussing with her, that i am giving Driving Exam and she said even she will be giving. Then later when i told her i got License, she was not so happy, i didnt undstd the meaning that time.

    Eventually we bought a car, and when i started driving, i volunteered to pick her kids while coming. Then we started talking more, then i found her very good at nature. She used to go to work, i asked her once what work, she said she go for cleaning work at NewYork 3 days in a week, for 3-4 hrs when her kids are in school. She earns daily around 150$. That disclosure didnt made me feel anything, just a light shock, but you will be surprised to know she owns 4 Million Dollar house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Her house is better furnished than ours.

    Typical indian of me, i asked her, she has 3 tenants, then why she want to go for work. She said who will pay so big mortgage, her earnings also help. Her husband is a Waiter in New York.

    Think of it!!!!!!!!!! Is it possible in India, that maids kids, going to same school with our kids (of course it is possible only if some patron sponsor for the maids kid). Here, my this friends kids are mingling without inhibition with all kids, everyone is treated equal. Society here advocates dignity of labour. Any type of work is not look down, hard work is appreciated and respected:thumbsup. Even if the maids kids does goes to our kids school, that poor child will be teased or booed, or the sky rocketing fees, will not make it possible for them to go in pvt schools.:bowdown

    I am still her friend, i have now more respect for her. Now i understood her intial unhappiness over my passing driving exam. She had one white american friend, who also stays near our house and had car from start, but never volunteered to take her kids in car, even if it is raining.

    She must have thought i will behave in same manner. But now she must have understood me. From last 4 months, i am picking her kids from school. I go little out of way to help her, by picking my son last from his day care, since if I bring my son early, i cant pick her kids from school(myself,herself, my dd,and her 2 kids) only 5 are allowed in car. But that's ok, my daycare don't charge me on minutes basis.I know how difficult it is to walk in -20C, and sometimes with snow.:bowdown

    My DH best friend helped us a lot, when we didn't had car. I cannot express in words, how much he helped us. Even now my DH goes to office in his car. And our car is at my disposal for ferrying the kids. So now i am trying to help someone, when i can.

    My parents always say try to help always if you can, and don't expect the same person to help you, someone else will, it is gods way of keeping the chain of humanity alive.

    As for our friendship, yeah it is growing, but i cannot have intellectual talk with her. She doesn't read books much, or for that matter may not even know what blog is??. But yes being a woman and mother we have so much else to talk:)

    I wrote this post bcoz, ystdy when i was picking her DD for balle class, i had one Indian friend with me, then She started asking, where husband is working, that time i said, her husband is Waiter,and she also goes for housework. I didnt felt anything bad about to tell that. I think i saw a little smirk in my friends face. She must be thinking how i am friend to her. But that is not going to affect me. I will still be a friend to her always.

    But thanks to her it made me wonder and this post is born:clap.
    Hey friends tell me what you would have done in my place.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2010
    sindmani and Ansuya like this.
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  2. iyerviji

    iyerviji Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Radha

    You have done a good thing being friendly with her. She must have also felt happy that someone is friendly with her . Not only that helping her by bringing her kids in car. What your parents said is right if we help someone, someone else will help us when we are in need.

    This reminds me of my best friend from school. She was from a rich family but she was very friendly with me though we were middle class people. With her help only I joined typing class and later because of that I got a job also. Everyday I used to go to school in her car. Her brother always used to tell her, always share everything with your friend. Till now also we are in touch with her.

    Good post, thanks for sharing

    love
    viji
     
  3. Tubelight

    Tubelight Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Radhika

    Lovely article !

    :hatsoffto you for becoming that lady's friend ,overcoming the innate prejudices most of us still have about hierarchies in society . Its certainly not common in our country to treat people from different strata on the same level. Ofcourse there are those who are friendly towards waiters, maids etc, they even help them kindly, but still there's that patronising attitude .

    Children from different economic and social background do study together in some schools here too, notably in missionary run schools and government aided institutions. But still there is no complete assimilation because children unconsciously imbibe the prejudices of the parents and form groups among themselves, seeking the company of only "birds of the same feather ". There are exceptions of course, but very rare.I can state this with confidence, because I studied in a missionary school that also had kids from slums , but there was absolutely NO friendship beyond the school playground.
    Hierarchies have been imprinted too deeply in our psyche by centuries of tradition, so it will not vanish suddenly. It will take a little more time, but I am hopeful that people will eventually come to understand dignity of labour and treat all people as brothers.

    "Hey friends tell me what you would have done in my place."

    To be very honest Radhika, I may give a lift to my maid's children once or twice as needed, but i will certainly not become a "friend" of my maid , even though I am nice to her and help her out sometimes. I confess, there's still a mental block .:hide:

    That said, I'd like to add that many middle class youngsters who think certain jobs to be infra dig when in India, have no qualms about becoming gas station attendants , store clerks or even waiters in foreign lands to earn that extra buck ! Catch them doing any such thing on home turf ! Its a matter of Money, Honey !:)
     
  4. Ansuya

    Ansuya Platinum IL'ite

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    Radha

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post for so many reasons. No culture or country is perfect, but we should have the courage and self-awareness to learn from others in order to improve our own lives and ways of seeing and being.

    You have shown you have exactly that; courage and self-awareness. You are also a very compassionate, intelligent, and sensitive human being, judging from your post. How lucky that woman is to have a friend like you.

    It is not an easy thing to cast aside a lifetime of conditioning and change our ideas. However, it becomes an especially important trait to cultivate if we happen to venture out of our own little comfort zones. With as many of us as there are living in foreign countries, I believe you may have discovered one of the little secrets that help us acclimatise and adapt to our new environments. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insights with us.

    I was especially impressed with this part of your post

    I am guilty of writing people off too quickly; the idea that "she's not like me" is something that may very well stand in the way of many of us making "different" friends and so broadening our horizons. I LOVE how you have realised the differences between you and your friend, but you have chosen to focus instead on your similarities to lay a foundation for your friendship.

    Radha, I hope we will see much more of you on IL. Thank you for making my day with a thought-provoking and well-written post.
     
  5. ganges

    ganges Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Radha,

    Excellent posting friend.

    If such a situation comes in India that me and some helper by profession are walking together to a same school to pick up our children, I will never discontinue my friendship with her. I dont think present generation no body will deny the friendship. Also picking up the children from school, if one is going daily by car there, and you dont mind to bring your friends child too. After reading your article, I am actually longing to see such situations in India.

    But I know dear, we have to go a looooong way for that.

    ganges
     
  6. neha1

    neha1 Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Radha,
    Nice post. I enjoyed reading it thoroughly.

    Exactly. This is what even I appreciate here in US. We can do what we want and we are respected for it.
    I guess hard work is paid off in US, and no one looks down upon us;whatever be the job we are doing

    Neha S
     
  7. knot2share

    knot2share Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Radhika
    :thumbsup:thumbsup:thumbsup. I loved the post. Dignity of Labour is something that I have learnt to accept and respect after coming to Melbourne. You are a beautiful, warm and intelligent human being and it is wonderful to read that you both are good friends and still continue to be so. Like everyone here, I too agree that it is difficult to shed our inhibitions and judgemental attitudes that has been with us for a very long time. But moving here to Melbourne has made me realise how wrong I was. I still find myself in a little bit of hesitation sometimes but I let go of that feeling very soon.

    I have mentioned this before on a post started by Mindi. We once had an elderly Greek couple to help us clean the glass windows and doors of our house. They came in a luxury 6 cylinder car. The person who helped us do our backyard came in his latest 4WD. The Greek couple were such sweethearted human beings. I had no problem sharing my food with them and they sharing their lunch with me. Every couple of hours they used to take a break and all three of us would gather around the kitchen benchtop and have our coffees or snacks. The old man loved my BRU coffee and he kept asking me if I could make a cup for him :). He even said that I would make a good daughter-in-law to him, as I made the best coffee for him!!!! But honestly they are also human beings like us. How wrong it is to form an inappropriate mental impression of somebody isn't it? When the Greek couple left our house after the work, the lady gave me a big warm hug and said bye. She invited us to their house and she said she would make us some fresh Greek sweets to taste. My eyes were moist when they left. I felt ashamed of myself for harbouring such inhibitions.

    It feels a lot better within myself now as I am able to open my mind/heart.
    I have to agree with TL here when she said that our Indian youngsters have no problem at all filling in and working at a petrol station or car cleaning service or supermarket etc etc, when they would even shudder to think about doing such things back home. But I guess it is all a learning experience. Only when we learn these, we then begin to appreciate the hardwork put in by all grades. Every job is then seen in a different light. Back home we have a long way to go, as said by Ganges. We also need to learn how to talk respectfully towards people doing any job for that matter.

    Sorry for the long reply and once again loved your post.

    Great to see you here Ansuya! I don't think I have seen you here on Snippets before. It is wonderful to read your posts always.
     
  8. Padmini

    Padmini IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Radha,
    A thought provoking post. My heart goes to you when you mention, " our friendship grow". Hats of to you !!! You are very generous in accepting her as your friend.

    Dignity of labour is how much we respect all types of jobs and how we don’t feel that one job is less or greater than another. Although this is one of the most essential things we as individuals should develop within ourselves, it is rarely the case.
    This happens to be one of the leading causes of unemployment, as people are worried about what others think about what they do for living than getting employed and doing something useful with their lives rather than remaining idle. Its mostly evident in developing countries (such as ours) were people either have too much self-pride or fear of what their family, friends and relatives think about what they do for a living.
    In some countries, someone who works two or more jobs (just so he/she could make some more money) is considered perfectly fine and no one bothers about it. But sadly, if someone who holds a decent position in a company does after hours part-time in a place like McDonalds serving food… it is looked down upon by society.Judging the social status by what they do for a living still existent where we live.It was considered by many that any sport would be worthless to pursue. But once it became a profession that was paying considerably, it started to climb the social ladder.
    Unfortunately in our country , the educated youths are generally averse to manual labour under a false sense of dignity. They forget that respectability lies, not in whether work is done with the hand or with the intellect, but in how well it is done. A sweeper who does his work well is more praiseworthy amd hence more honorable than a high placed official who neglects his duties. In western countries even university students sometimes work as menials in hotels and other places during vacation in order to meet their expenses.
    As TL said I will be very kind and friendly to my maid, but I cannot mingle with her easily so as to pronounce that I do have a friend !!!
    Some sort of mental block is there !!!
    with love
    pad
     
  9. monifa13

    monifa13 Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Radhika- I really enjoyed reading your post and I do appreciate you a lot. Our house cleaner here is an Australian by name Beverley who is 72 Yrs old. She calls me 'sister' and has been like a real sister to me all these years. She lost her husband when she was 32 and has been living alone all these years. She stopped studying when she was hardly 16 to help her parents and never stopped working till today. She cleans two factories and ten houses and I have never heard her complaining about her life. I always cook a meal for her whenever she comes to work for us and pack her dinner too to take it home. Once a month she takes me out and we spend the whole day together eating out,shopping, laughing and giggling.
     
  10. Meenupanicker

    Meenupanicker Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Radhika

    Enjoyed your snippet.
    :hatsoff before your mentality towards work.Your friend must be really thankful to you for being so much responsible to her.I also don't mind jobs of people whom I interfere with.I believe the quality is to be valued not the job and also in India there are changes.

    My parents always say try to help always if you can, and don't expect the same person to help you, someone else will, it is gods way of keeping the chain of humanity alive.

    What you said strike me the most.We often recall this quote within ourselves and have experienced the same in our life.When we came here also it was our friends who helped us always before we owned a car. From the day of our car was purchased we make it sure to help those in times of need for we know the trouble.
     

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