Lessons in Life, from a Nepali

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Joined: January 25th, 2011, 12:05 am
PostPosted: May 8th, 2011, 12:29 am
I was very angry, and sitting inside my car, I slammed the door and began grumbling to myself, "What the heck does my boss think, am I some useless employee or something?!" I have a marketing job, where I have to deal with weird people, work hard, sometimes even on Fridays, "What a life, and on top of that is my boss, never happy with anything. Such people should be in an audit company than be managers. They find mistakes in things we can’t imagine. I do all the hard work but all inquiry comes in his name, and he gets the credit for everything. That’s why he is a manager today," thus I went on.

What a life!

I was so angry that I almost banged a car in front of me; I wish it was my boss' car.

Let me introduce myself. Name: Ranjith. Age: 28 years. Single and ready to mingle. I have been working for the past five years, with no pay rise, no benefits, and the same peanut kind of bonus. I drive a second-hand car, which I believe is almost 15 years old. My junior in college who began his career after me has a big bungalow, and recently I came to know that he purchased a plot and also bought a new car two weeks back. God, why didn’t recession hit his company, why just mine? And so I grumbled.

I had to drive two hours to reach home and the traffic made it worse, and it was raining cats and dogs. My day was not great, and when I turned on the radio of my car that too didn’t work. I was bored, what a day and what a life....

The traffic signal went red and I saw a Nepali beside the road. I faintly remembered having seen him somewhere and then I realized he was Bahadur (no idea why, but most of the Nepalis have Bahadur to their name) and he was the same person who came to clean the area near my flat. He smiled at me and I knew he would ask for a ride. I didn’t want to give him a ride, but then I thought I could talk to him for two hours and while away the journey and in no time I would reach home.

"Come, let me drop you," I told him.

"Sabzi (wonder what they call a vegetable), no money to pay for car ride, I will come by bus."

"No worries, free ride today."

He smiled, and what a smile it was - I felt he would be the right choice for a toothpaste advertisement, and his smile was real, not a fake. Bored of driving alone I thought to engage in a conversation with the Nepali. He asked me why I looked angry and tensed, and I said it was a daily problem of mine!

"What’s your age?" I asked him.

"23," he replied.

"When did you come to the Gulf?"

"When I was 16."

"At such a young age?" I asked, surprised.

"I had to pay the agent to 'increase' my age and the agent did so and I got a job."

"So, what do you have to say about Gulf?"

He smiled at me and said, "Sabzi, it's a nice place, we get to see everything but can’t afford to buy; every food smells good but we can't taste, every accommodation is big but it has no space for us. Sabzi, after coming here people forget two things - being satisfied with what they have, and humanity. In Nepal even though people have no money they are humane and express their gratitude to God for everything they have."

I was shocked and surprised. I am an engineer by profession and this guy has not even completed his basic studies and he talks big things. I wondered if this guy belonged to some philosophical family. My curiosity roused, I inquired, "Aur batao apke baare mein (tell me more about yourself)."

"We are six in the family and I am the only male. I heard one can earn double the money here in the Gulf, and I thought if I worked an hour I would be paid double. That's why I came here after paying a hefty fee to the agent. I left Nepal when I was 16, sat in the flight... it was a wonderful experience, flying by plane... always saw it from down here but now I was in it. It was the start of my dreams or nightmare, I can’t say. I reached the airport at 10 pm. Along with me there were many other Nepalis who were waiting for a new dawn, and literally too, we waited till dawn and all morning too. The company transportation came at around 12 pm the next day.

"Everyone tells Gulf is too hot to work, lekin no one told me that in the night the temperature is very low. Thinking of the hot weather, we all wore just a normal shirt, and were battling the cold weather until morning to keep ourselves warm. We were taken to company labor accommodation. From outside it looked clean and neat but andar sab, it was very filthy!!! I was given a bed and I was very happy that I had to share the room with nine other people as I didn't want to sleep alone. The only complaint I had was that usually I had to wait for an hour or even two hours or even had to go to work without brushing my teeth... pani ka problem Sabzi (problem of water sir).

"Anyway, I went to work and they gave me the task of cleaning the city!!! I was shocked and asked the person there to explain. He said that I had to clean up the garbage bags on the roadside.

"Don't you feel reluctant to do this job?" I asked him.

"Paisa milta hai na kam ka, aur agar hum nahi karenge to koi dusra karlega" (I get paid for it and if I don’t do the work someone else will do it), but Sabzi, sometimes some idiotic people who do not know the value of food throw away unopened food and juice or Pepsi tins, might be because they don’t have fridge at their place."

This reminded me that once, I had ordered food from a restaurant for two or three friends and no one turned up. As my fridge was full and KFC is good only when eaten fresh I threw away the rest.

He continued, "Sabzi, we get paid less and that’s why we go on Fridays for working overtime."

I asked him, "Do you call home?

"Yes, once in a month, that too when internet is free at the café. During festival time the café owner charges me double so I give a missed call and my family gives me a miss call back, and that’s how we wish each other."

"When was the last time you went home?

"I came when I was 16 and went home when I was 20, after 4 years, and enjoyed a lot, Sabzi. I stayed there for 6 months."

"What do you cook?"

"Sabzi, majak kar rahe ho? We have to cook ourselves but we can’t afford to eat more and send less money home. So we all share, buy a bottle of jam or butter and Kabus (bread). We eat that happily and it’s enough for us Sabzi."

"How much does the company pay you?"

He told me, an amount which I cannot disclose here, but it was enough to shock me out of my wits. I spend that amount on a couple of visits to the pub, and kids in Mangalore get that much as their pocket money!

He added, "Sabzi, sometimes they give us our pay on time, but sometimes they pay two-three months' salary put together, which becomes too much of a trouble...lekin when we get our salary we forget everything."

I just paused and saw my life. I have been crying because I don’t get pay rise, he doesn't even get his salary on time. I cry for bonus and he has never heard of it. I cry because I have to work on Friday and he is trying hard to work on Friday. I cry over my accommodation allowance and he is happy because he has a single bed. I cry because there's not enough currency in my mobile and he is happy with just a missed call. I am sad because my Boss takes credit for my job and he is happy because he works. I am sad because I have been driving the same car for 10 years and he is happy that he gets a bus on time to reach his destination.

Just then my car was again interrupted at a traffic signal. There was an expensive BMW on one side of me and the Nepali on the other side. I had a choice - to see the rich guy in the BMW and complain about my life or see the Nepali and be happy. I didn’t do both - I just thanked God for giving me this life and felt sorry about always complaining.

Finally when I reached home, I dropped him and I gave him some money as a reward because he taught me an important lesson in life. Happiness is in our hands and in our minds, it depends on how we see it.

Also, this world is alive until we are grateful to God and live humanely.

So if you are still complaining, think again.

By the way, now I know why most of the Nepalis are called Bahadur. They really are, indeed.

God bless.

Lawrance Pereira
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Posts: 53
Joined: January 18th, 2011, 11:19 pm
Location: Mangalore
PostPosted: May 8th, 2011, 12:31 am
Thanks for the inspirational writings.. We looking forward like this more stories..
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Posts: 61
Joined: January 18th, 2011, 11:21 pm
Location: Bangalore
PostPosted: May 11th, 2011, 12:42 pm
Amazing Writeup Bro.... Looking forward for Many more from you.

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