She worked. Both full-time and part-time. And she taught me that no work is too small.
But let me start at the beginning.
I am a working woman and it comes easy to me to delegate household chores. It helps me in two ways. One, I become the source of employment to someone who needs it. Two, I get more time with family and to pursue other interests.
A couple of years ago, when I hired a help to cook, she told me that once in two years she would take a month off to visit her parents who stay in Nepal. I agreed to these terms. After two years, she informed that she was taking leave and arranged to have a substitute for a month.
This other help was a young woman in her early twenties. When she came on day one, something about her was different. I gave myself a day and then on day two, I paid a little more attention and saw that she wore a wrist watch, was dressed smartly – dupatta neatly pinned to her kurta and wore neat open sandals. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that a help shouldn’t dress so well. I was amused because the others I have interacted with before hadn’t been so well dressed.
She was a quick learner and it was going okay. Within a week, she got comfortable and when she spoke she used a lot of English words like salt, turmeric, cabbage, tomato etc. In my heart, I knew a story was to unfold and to confirm my belief, I asked her how many houses she worked in.
She told me that ours was the first place she was working at and this was a source of additional income to her. She was a commerce graduate and worked as an accountant in one of the retail stores of a big brand very close to our area. Since her work started at around 10am, she had time in the morning to do something else and she accepted to cook at my place for a month.
After she would finish cooking, she would quickly fix her dress and step out to get to her full time job in time. She mentioned that after a good night’s sleep, there is no point wasting time in the morning. With additional money, she could save more for her post-graduation. Her job would give her the experience and this part-time cooking would help her to be financially stable.
Her story moved me.
I learnt that no work is big or small. Many times at work, I see people arguing that something was not their job or someone else should have done it. I have also seen people cribbing that it is too small a work for their role and position. But how does that matter? Work is work and it needs to be done. If a well-educated and decently employed young woman can cook at a house to earn a little extra, why do these white-collared employees have so many rules to work?
This young lady left when my help returned but for over two years now, her story has stayed with me. I will always remember that there are people who value time and work hard to make their lives better. I loved her attitude and her zeal towards learning new things.
Inspiration comes in all forms and from places we expect the least. And no, this is not a rule but an experience. Only when you open your mind to learn, the best lessons come. Don’t you agree?
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