Friday, April 9, 2010

Bread & Butter

This post has nothing to do with 'The Environment' and yet we can make a connection. 
I scribbled and erased while writing on my sister’s note pad several times after I had chosen the topic, basically because I was surprised at myself for coming up with it and did not know how to hit right on the spot. I thought this a potentially sensitive topic so I wanted to deal with it in the same manner and this was not just because I had a slight incident to quote for it. Yes, there is a reason behind my choice. 
Every morning, as I walk up to my office for work, I bypass a Security Guard. I notice him but I leave an impression that I didn't, he notices me but leaves an impression that he didn’t. Why we acted this oblivious to each other’s existence everyday was something I had not understood and to be brutally honest, I never allowed myself any second thoughts upon it. He was a guard on duty and I was going towards performing my duty. 
I wish to give a bit of description of his physical appearance. He is an old man, should be around 70-80 years old, dark in complexion, white hair and a white beard. He wears a uniform, light and dark blue in color which makes him look even more charcoal-complexioned; he has the saddest eyes that turn red by the time I am walking out of my office in the evening. Those eyes do not exhibit rage or frustration, rather fear and maybe fatigue. The man’s job is to sit on a chair with a gun in his old and feeble hands all day long. Sometimes, I see him walking to and fro but most of the times he is seated with a lethargic expression pasted on his face. 
So this one time, I saw him seated on his chair like always, but with a cup of steaming hot tea in his hands. The gun was lying somewhere on the floor near him. To my great astonishment, the security guard looked up from his cup of tea (at which he was gazing continuously) and made an intentional eye-contact with me and ‘nodded’! Yes, it was a plain and clean nod. Please note: the man did not smile, but I saw a million small smiles gathered on his face that forced the gesture of his head. I did not respond then in return as I was a little abashed by the whole scene. 
I am a person who usually enters the office with an extra-large smile on her face and greets everyone out loud. For a change, I entered with a weird and bewildered but thoughtful look on my face (maybe a little smile was there). I kept thinking for a while and my heart felt warm. It was a connection he made with me. I wanted to go back and say something to him or just give him a smile so he could smile back at me. I didn’t go then, but I decided to go later. 
Meanwhile, I went through a healthy and efficient thought process, and later realized the importance of ‘Bread and Butter’. The man’s nod was the result of having his earned ‘bread and butter’ in his grasp. That cup of tea was an emblem of that for which he worked day and night. It brought a shine to his dark and gloomy face. Maybe those were the only times in the whole day that allowed him a smile or a nod – breakfast, lunch and dinner. I am also not sure whether it is three times a day or two. 
I felt sorry; not for him, not for myself and certainly not for the world. It was just a plain sorry feeling about the way things are actually. Life maintains a state of struggle (For everyone?). We all know what the world is about: Bread and Butter. Some struggle and get it plain; some struggle and get it fancy; some don’t struggle and still get it! And those who do that usually are the recipients of the fancy one. There is no survival without it. 
As I walked out of my office that evening, the man had his blood-shot eyes back and for a second, I completely lost the confidence to smile at him or pay my regards to him or maybe just nod at him. I turned away my face and thought that I will fight his bitterness. Therefore, I casually walked past him, close enough so he could hear me, posted one of my best smiles on my face and said: ‘Allah Hafiz!’ :-)


Alpha Za said...

Extremely impressive. I loved it. Keep blogging!

Amna said...

Thank-you so much!! I'll try to keep doing this once in a while!! :-)