The Elevator Operator
The Elevator Operator
The alarm blares to pulverize my brittle snooze. I acknowledged that I am late to work. Within 30 minutes with well-draped clothes, polished shoes, half-eaten roti, and just a sip of coffee I rushed through the corridor to catch the elevator. Debojyoti called me from behind.
"Dad, Today we have cultural's at school, I'm playing Portia from Merchant of Venice," said Debojyoti "Can you come at 4 pm?"
"I can't come," said instantaneously as I placed my legs between the closing doors of the elevator. "Call mother or grandmother, the school van will come in a minute, hurry up!"
The door of the elevator swung open. Inside there was Tanmay and a man in uniform, seems like the late '50s, he's operating the elevator.
"Do we have an operator now?" I asked Tanmay
"Yes, the apartment authority has hired a lift operator after the Sharma incident," said Tanmay. "I guess the police had caught the man who hit Sharma and stole his watch, wallet, and phone while in the elevator"
I parked my car in the parking lot after 40 minutes drive to work. I am late by 20 minutes. It would only take 25 minutes to reach my firm. But the horrendous honking, Wailing of people, smoke from the silencer blocking my vision gazed upon the red light has taken the life out of me.
I pulled the door of the meeting room. The manager was in. I greeted him. He gave a jagged stare, grin at me, and gestured me to sit. I was lightened knowing our Client is behind the clock. He relaxed to catch some air, thought of taking a coffee. As I excused myself to out. The manager called me to check on the presentations. He went out for a break.
After 3 hours of Bar diagrams, pie charts, investment, expansion, foreign exchanges the meeting came to an end. The manager said that he was disappointed with my presentation, I could have done better.
I went to my cubicle, very much frustrated. I worked until 2:30 am last night pouring all my skills into it. He just remarked I could have done better. Then I opened my mail there was a remainder from Debojyoti's math and physics tutors and the Spoken English education app to pay tuition fees and certain other bill payment reminders.
I returned to my apartment in the evening. I saw the elevator operator drinking tea or coffee. I asked him to pour a cup. He offered me a cup immediately.
"How was the work, sir?" He asked
"I am alive," I said with a grin "Can't find the way in front of me, it's too dark here*
"The shine a flashlight sir" he joked
I gave a forceful laugh. I asked him "How was your day, what do you do just operate the elevator, staying near it all the time?"
"Yes sir, that's what my job is," said he "And I brought vegetables from supermarket to Meenakshi madam, then carried a gas cylinder to Parth sir's apartment at 8th floor and helped Chitra madam to clear the clog in her sink"
"Why do you have to do those things," I asked compassionately
"They are paying me, money sir," said the elevator operator
"Aren't you frustrated about your work?" I asked him.
"I don't see my cup of coffee is half empty, I see it as it's still half full, Our thoughts are everything sir, Balu said We tend to think around 60,000 words a day, our thoughts include our fears, insecurities, our past's embarrassments, and future's plan. We simply become prisoners in our own minds thinking about it. I'm trying to live in the present sir. I don't deceive my mind to work on something for the rewards and praises. I believe my true reward is my satisfaction and my family's appreciation. Balu told me a quote " Fill the brain, therefore, with thoughts, highest ideals; place them day and night before you and out of that will come great work" I'm sure he might have copied this from somewhere else. But that quote really helps. Fill your brain with the highest ideals before you. You have a degree behind your name. You ought to have good knowledge. Just don't run with the time, slow the clock, think clearly, and live in the present sir. You can see the tracks ahead of you very clearly.
I was thunderstruck by his words. I offered him a ride to his home. Which he accepted.
I asked how's his family doing
He said that His wife is pretty excited that they are going for a tour to Kedarnath, Haridwar, and Rishikesh next month. He had saved enough money. And his son is the final semester at IIT Madras.
I was surprised to hear that. I asked him "Did you sent you son to any coaching classes, how he made his way to IIT?"
My salary was 7000 rupees per month before. How can I afford to send him to tuition?. Now I'm earning 9000 per month that's how the savings came for the tour.
I dropped him on his street. I wished me Good night and sweet dreams. I wished him back with huge respect for that man.
I went back to my home. I saw Debojyoti giving me a devil stare. I laughed and picked him from the ground, dropped down into the bed. "I asked him how was the play, why did you play Portia?"
"My teacher said I'm good at argument, I can be a lawyer," said Debojyoti "So I bagged Portia's role"