There was a lot of renovation work going on in the office, smell of fresh paint hit our nostrils, people with paint buckets moved here and there. Whenever anyone painter passed by me in the alley or the staircases, he used to squeeze himself towards the wall away from me. He smelled of sweat and paint combined. It seemed to be a foul smell but then I realized that we sitting in our air conditioned offices smell nice because we used expensive deodorants and usually travelled in our air conditioned cars. There were literally no situations where we perspired. Even while climbing the stairs whatever little perspiration happens that also gets dried within seconds as soon as we rest our bums on the chairs of our air conditioned environs.
Those who do jobs involving physical labour are usually dirty looking since they are the ones who put their hands in the dirt. These are the people who actually take all the pains of getting things moving on ground. And we, the so called sophisticated class, look down upon them and try to keep a distance to keep ourselves away from the dirt they have taken on themselves. But isn’t it that the dirt taken on by them is on our behalf. Isn’t it that to prevent us from doing those jobs of physical labour that the dirt of our part is being taken up by them. Isn’t it that since they are doing those jobs in our homes, offices, societies that we remain clean and smell nice. This is the understanding that even made this class of workers untouchables in the olden days when working class was called as “Shudra” under class differentiation on the basis of type job of each of us did.
There are a whole lot of construction workers burning themselves in hot Sun and drenching themselves in heavy down pours to see that we relax in the cool confines of our homes and enjoy that hot copy of tea in our terraces during moistness of the rains. All those housekeeping staff those ensure that we sit in clean surroundings and drop our shit on a germless and odourless potty seats. So many street vendors in the hot, dusty and humid conditions sitting across to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for our hungry taste buds. All of them smell stinky when it comes to their being around us but is it not the stink which we would have emanated if all those jobs were done by us only.
Have we ever thought that if the workers didn’t do those jobs then it is we who will have to put in our hands and bodies in these jobs and then it is we who will be covered in that slime of dust and sweat. I remember when my father had purchased our two room house then the first painting of the whole house was done by us only. My father was quite young with us as children and we all enjoyed doing that. Even we getting ourselves completely covered with paint were a fun and we used to enjoy watching ourselves in the mirror. Even today my father involves my sons for painting the book almirah or the earthen pots for the plants. Involving children he wants to teach them the value of labour and nurtures the feeling of appreciation for the physical labour.
Doing physical work is something which we have slowly forgotten in our cities. We get workers for every job now. We have mobile applications to call for a worker anytime. Sometimes even for changing the bulb in a room we call upon an electrician or a worker. Easy or difficult, whenever a job is done by someone else it seems easy for us and then we lose the value of labour involved in it. We have become lazy in such jobs which we could have done but now use services of others to get it done, resultantly we develop certain lifestyle diseases like, Blood pressure, diabetes, spondylitis, obesity and so on. In earlier days since most of us did physical work even used to cycle to our offices hence there were remote cases of these lifestyle diseases but now in a country whose economy is more service oriented we are less into physical work and more into desk jobs.
Whenever we see a person covered in slime of sweat and dust we should thank him for the job he has done on our behalf and taken over all the fatigue and dirt of our part. We should thank him for making our life comfortable and express our gratitude towards him. Because he is the person who has made us escape the wrath of the physical labour. We should worship him similar to the way we worship our Gods as he has taken away our pains and just like ”Neelkanth” bore all our pains to himself.