Saturday, April 04, 2009

Parellel lives

My new office is in an industrial area. It's an old mill compound so the dilapidated buildings all around have a lot of history stored in every brick and blackened wall and roots and trees bursting out of every crack. They say you get used to things you use everyday, see everyday and grow fond of them too. When I first started coming here, I got lost every night trying to find my way out of the maze of alleys. No more. I have got used to this place and walk about confidently.

Inside the buildings the ceilings are very high and the passages dark. Walking along a passage gives a glimpse of the insides of offices. Swanky, snazzy places, some conservatively done offices, some of them are huge spaces where rows and rows of seamstresses work round the clock, huge spaces when shirts and other garments are packaged and neatly packed into cartons ready to be dispatched. So this is where our steeply priced branded clothes come from!

But outside, along the passage, it's dark, it's humid and like a furnace with the compressors of all the air conditioners hanging overhead. We walk along it swiftly to get into the cool confines of the office. In this very passage sits a lady everyday outside a closed door. I wondered if she was an unstable woman or have some problems to be sitting on the floor in that unhealthy and unhygienic place the whole day.

Bringing this up with my colleague revealed that this lady works in the office outside which she sits. She is a cleaning lady and no, they don't have space for her inside the office. So she sits outside and goes in to clean etc whenever the need arises.

How inhuman is that!! I was shell shocked. What can I do? I can't tell her to quit, she obviously needs the job and the money badly. I can't get her into my office and let her sit there. I can't go fight with her boss and tell him not to treat her the way he does. He will tell me to mind my own business and may fire her.

What can I do??


Anonymous det-res said...

You can start by talking to her.

What is inhuman and horrible to you may be a better place for her.

Something obviously compels this person to do what she does.

We often forget that our scales of comparison vary.

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reminds me a little of the Seinfeld episode where George decides to give the security person in a shop a chair. The guy ends up sleeping on it, leading to a robbery.

No, that's not really fair. We all are there, every now and then. And I won't say I have any answers, either.


8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By 'that' not being fair, I meant, remembering that seinfeld episode. The unfairness of the cleaning lady having to sit outside doesn't really need affirmation.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Arunima said...

sometimes, I feel depressed seeing all this and when I am unbale to do anything.

Sometimes, I am not sure if I want a child as I am not confident about leaving behind a better world. There is so much of injustice and so much poverty and too many people. The monetary contributions that I give and the time I give for them is never enough and I cannot sacrifice and dedicate my life fully either.

sometimes, we just have no answer but we must keep trying in whatever small way possible.

Try smiling to her.

7:01 PM  
Blogger shub said...

buy her fan? A battery operated one, perhaps. This is the only practical solution I can think of :( Else try talking to the boss anyway..

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Rusty said...

Well, u could write a polite email to the company HR head and the company CEO as a concerned member of the industry. It may or may not result in action. But hopefully, the next time the HR head/CEO drives thru one of their buildings, he'll notice a cleaning lady/person and think of your email. Mebbe that'll result in something. Who's to say?Do keep writing.

1:03 AM  

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