As one moves up the corporate ladder, both in terms of designation and experience, the nature of work mostly shifts from ground-level mundane operational tasks to more strategic and decision making challenges. And yet those once-in-a-while visits to the floor operations help as key revision lessons. Just like in yester-years the kind and noble kings disguised themselves as common man, and roamed around in streets getting a feel of administrative lapses.
In a similar example, I ended up being my husband’s car-driver for a day. And the day proved to be nothing less than a memory of a lifetime. To give you a quick background, my husband’s work requires him to make regular visits to various stores owned by his employers. On this particular day he had a severe backache, which made driving for long hours and longer distances, seem like quite an inundating challenge. I don’t know if it was the severity of pain, urgency of the job or the excitement of having my company for the day (pun intended); but he readily accepted my offer of assistance.
Our first stop was at an office complex. After dropping my husband at the front reception, I moved towards the parking area, and found myself a corner slot, with ample light and breeze. Parked next to me was an expensive looking luxury sedan. I am totally blind when it comes to the makes and brands of cars, and thus can not offer any information on even the basic details. However, I do remember that the driver was in a neatly ironed white uniform. He had a newspaper in his hand, and a sober expression on his face. As I parked my car, he glanced at me, and then went back to his reading. Meanwhile I reclined my seat slightly, made myself comfortable and pulled out my book from my bag. It was a good read, and I was thoroughly enjoying my solitude (a big luxury for a mother of a two-year old).
I must have been reading for a little more than an hour when my phone rang. It was my husband, who had completed his work and was waiting for me so that we could proceed to the next destination. As I got up and started the car, this driver from the neighboring car signalled me to stop. I gave him a quizzical glare. He promptly walked towards my window, and spoke to me a very respectable manner, “Madam, my apologies for stopping you. However I just wanted to share that seeing you here has been most inspiring. I got married at a very early age, but continued with my studies. I also encouraged my wife to complete her basic education. But seeing you today, I have decided to teach her to drive. And once she gets a job like you, I will try to look for better avenues. And I just thought I must thank you for this idea.”
I sat there still, not having any courage to share my real identity or circumstances. Then I simply smiled at him, wished him luck, and drove away silently praying in my heart for his dreams to come true.
Not wanting to spend any more time in the parking area, this time I looked around and found myself a coffee shop right across the street. Here again I made myself comfortable on the corner seat, after ordering a cup of steaming hot coffee and a sandwich. As I returned my thoughts and focus on the book at hand, I realized destiny had something more in store for me. There was a young couple sitting at a distance from me. Since we were the only sets of customers in the shop, and since they were engaged in a heated argument, I could clearly hear their conversations. After inadvertently listening for a while, I realized it was the same old story of every house-hold. The girl had a series of complains against the guy’s family, their behavior, reactions and comments on various occasions etc etc. The guy on the other hand was oscillating between being defensive and offensive.
The discussion went on for a while, and since my coffee was quite hot, I had no choice but to sit there being a mute audience, just like the coffee shop staff. And then the guy lost his patience. He got up with a jerk and spoke in loud clear words, “I love you for what you are. I have only myself to offer to you. I can control my words, actions and reactions. But unfortunately I have no control on others. I have, and will continue to stand with you when you are right. I have never, and never will blame you when you are wrong. But I can not make others behave the same way. Because they don’t and can not love you the same way.”
And with this he walked off. I don’t know if these words of love and dedication had any effect on the girl. But I sat there, staring at my book, unable to read a single word.
My previous two experiences had left me thinking. And as we reached our next halt, I decided staying alone will not be a good idea. So I headed to a nearby book-shop and happily spent next couple of hours flipping through pages. I covered varied topics, gifted myself two new best-sellers, and successfully managed to push the day’s events to the back of my mind.
By the time my husband called me, I was back being my usual self. As I headed towards the car, I found my husband happily chatting with a senior colleague. This colleague, I recognized from a few official dinners I had attended with my husband, was the national head of a particular business division. As both men saw me approaching, they stopped their banter, and acknowledged my presence. After exchanging the initial pleasantries, the colleague remarked, “I was just telling your husband that you guys must plan such days more often. I would love to be able to meet my wife multiple times during the day. The possibility of meeting all my professional commitments, along with an opportunity of intermittent personal conversations seems quite exciting. In fact if need be I don’t mind being the driver for my wife on such days. Waiting in the parking lot once in a while is not bothersome if there is an opportunity of catching up during eating & travelling breaks.”
With these words he took our leave. And yet again I stood there, pondering at his words.
Thankfully my husband decided to call it a day. As we headed back, I gave him a loving smile. The day had proved to me that not all love is lost after marriage. It stays. At least for a few.