Monday, August 30, 2010

Small unnoticed gestures

Some people take up very little space. Space in our hearts that is. We would not have all the comforts we have if it weren’t for them. When I look at these people, it makes me think and appreciate them.

The guy that sits at the reception desk doesn’t have too challenging of a job at a first glance. All he does is smiles at me, greets me when I say good morning or good night, and that's pretty much all of our interaction. Day after day, week after week, month after month, it doesn’t change. Once in a while when I'm in mood, I ask him how he is doing and he responds back with a smile. He's mostly listening to the instrumental music on a random radio station and watching people drive by on the road outside the big glass walls when he is not ensuring the visitors sign in/sign out. A couple of months back, when I went away for more than one week from work, he actually noticed it. I was quite surprised because when I was back, he greeted me as usual and mentioned that he hadn’t see me since a few days. Smiling, I told him that I was on vacation but I was also happy to be back. He smiled back as usual.

The janitor that cleans the floors is mostly seen working away. No matter what time of the day it is. He is seen either sweeping the tiled floor, vacuuming the carpets or moving the big garbage can around to collect trash from one floor after the other in the entire building. Sometimes, when he mops the floor, he has the yellow cone thing with a sign "wet floor" set on the floor. I passed by him last week apologizing for stepping on the wet floor that he had just cleaned. He smiled back and said it was okay and mopped the floor again after me. In my mind, his expression lingered for a long while… till now. I was reminded of the scene from Munnabhai. I thanked him and walked away thinking about him.

The office lady at work does extra work in the kitchen also. Like loading the dishwasher with the plates still in the sink, turning it on afterwards, unloading the clean dishes and stacking them back in the cabinets, etc. Her task list is never empty. Even though she has put a sign on the sink saying please rinse food off from the dishes and place them in dishwasher, there are employees that overlook it and leave their dishes/utensils behind in the sink. She volunteers to load those in the dishwasher also. These are the employees who don’t believe in cleaning up after themselves. She also has other duties like cleaning the fridge and cabinets, fills up things that are running out (teabags, coffee, sugar, milk, etc.). If she gets upset about people leaving their messy plates behind, she has no place to go and rant about. Every time I run into her in the hallway or kitchen, I make it a point to thank her. Sometimes I wish those people were more considerate.

The cashier guys at the café/restaurant where I get my lunch are really nice. I make it a point to read their names from their badge and say it every time they help me. It makes both of us smile. I didn't go to this one for a few weeks and he wondered where I had been. I was truly surprised that he'd actually remember one person among hundreds of customers he helps on daily basis. He doesn't do much but knows I am a vegetarian and knows my name too so I don’t have to say it when I order my food. Many times, that's what makes me want to go and eat at his café than other places. Wish all the cafes had people like them.

I'm happy to say that I've known the names of all of the regular janitors who come by to collect my garbage at work. This one mostly comes around the end of the day and collects the garbage from one cubicle after the other, without talking to anyone. For some reason, I can't let them go by without acknowledging them. I say hi to them, make a little conversation, thank them and by then it's time for them to move on to the next cube. Along with my immediate colleagues, I also make it a point to give them sweets every holiday season. I feel I can't thank them enough.

The reason I thought of making this post was I realized how my life would be without these people. Last week, the garbage truck that collects the trash in our residential areas didn't come by at all. They were on some sort of strike. At work, everything has to happen in timely manner, no matter what. If the janitor can not come in to work, they get backup. Someone is always there getting things done. At home, it was different. The garbage sat there for more than two days without being moved. That really made me think of what these people do to make our lives, my life simpler and easier. I really want to thank those people for doing their job, week after week, day after day, on time. To keep our lives, my life in sync, clean and worry-free.

Last week, I also lost my key at work as the little clip broke off. I didn't realize it for more than two hours and by the time I realized it, practically everyone had gone for the day. The janitor was going around so I let him know. He was really supportive and said he'd leave it at my desk in case he found it. The reception guy let me in the building without having the access card. After frantically searching for it for about 45 mins, I found my key sitting at other reception desk where the receptionist gal had saved it thinking the owner might show up the next day (the card key has no photos or any sort of identifier). I was united with my key the same day without having to go through the trouble of reporting it lost and going through additional troubles that would have been caused by the domino effect of losing one key. In the end, it all ended well thanks to these special people who do their job without getting much noticed.

As I interacted with these same people yet again today, it made me pay more attention to them, noticing their behaviors and expressions in my mind. It made me feel so nice to have them in my life, even when they take up just a tiny bit of space in my heart. I wouldn’t be so comfy if it weren’t for you, Anthony, Frank, Audrey, Mike, Aaron, Juljo, Joanne, Hilary and many more people whom I probably don't even know to make my life so much easier. Thank YOU!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Happiness & Clapping

I have a feeling they're related.

Why else would we clap when we applaud?

Why else would we clap when we sing happy birthday?

Why else would we clap when we sing bhajans or do garba?

Why else would we clap when we encourage someone to do good/better?

Question is: does clapping make us happy or we clap because we are happy? Is that like chicken and egg?