Today I talked to one of the office janitors after a long time.
I had talked to him once when I had joined the corporation because the language he spoke was the one spoken in my hometown.
After that, though I saw him multiple times, I did not speak to him, either because I was in a hurry , or sometimes I felt that he did not recognize me.
As I would find out he always did recognise me but was reluctant to approach me first due to the so called difference in societal status – probably also because of the fear that I would not recognise or acknowledge him.
In the pantry I saw him sitting and pondering over something, lost in thought. I was there to fill water – I decided to walk up and talk to him.
I called him by name, and the expression on his face resembled as if the good Lord had just called him by name to salvation.
He told me about how he had not seen his wife and kids in three months. He was contemplating how to take leave and go see them.
He told me how he had married out of love rather than the standard arranged marriage. Surprised me quite a bit.
He looked older but was only 29, 5 years older to me. He was telling me how he manages his expenses and also sends money home on his meagre salary. About how much he pays so that his kids could have a good education which he wasn’t fortunate to have.
I told him how I scrape through on a salary numerically higher that his.
And he gave me some pearls of wisdom.
From the time of birth man is faced with many challenges. Each man has his struggles – struggles which seems the loftiest to bear compared to the struggle of others.Struggles which seem insurmountable. But we have to face them, overcome some and more importantly strive to be happy in spite of them.
There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
– from Desiderata by Max Ehrman
Today I feel I understand these lines a little bit better.