Have you ever thought of these different personalities, how their job status differs yet their work profiles are nearly the same. Not many have perhaps tried to study in depth the realities of these different professions , one highly appreciated and loved , the others looked down upon. The air hostess is a glamorous proffesion, a high flying job. The sweepers, waiters jobs finds no glamour, no one would want to be one. All of them have their uniforms, all are well paid , they all cater to the public yet they are looked at differently.
Shantabai was the lady who cleared our garbage, cleaned our gutters . She was the sweeper in our locality . Shantabai wore the blue saree, the Municipal dress or uniform for sweepers then. The saree was mostly unkept and not very clean, she never cared. The chappals she had were worn out and dirty. Broom in hand she would sweep the streets , collect the garbage and carry them over to the huge garbage bin. She would clear the small gutters in front of our houses and the other open drains. She would call out to all families to pour some water into the gutters while she cleaned it. She would sit under the tree to take some rest in between. She usually lit a bidi while taking the break and would inhale deeply on the bidi smoke. After a while she would be back on the street. She would collect all our garbage and food leftover so that our homes would remain clean, alongside she would lecture us on segregation at source and home composting.She also would sell us Brooms, which she would make in her spare time. That was an additional source of income. After the days work was over , she would go back home , take care of her family , rest and get ready to repeat the same chores for the next day. She did her job well, the residents were satisfied, but no one ever seemed to appreciate her work, not a single kind word for her. The job though necessary to all was looked down upon.
Neelam was the smart, good-looking kid in the neighbourhood who had recently been selected for the job of an air hostess with a reputed airline . She had been working for 5 months now. Smart uniform, dark blue skirts, dark blue stockings pulled over her legs, black heeled shoes, a small cap, name plate across her chest, hair well done and tied into a bun, deodarant sprayed across her body, eye brows well done. She looked smart and beautiful. She had a decent paycheck and was happy with her job.
Today was her off day, no flight duty today. She woke to the sound of Shantabai asking to dump the garbage for her to collect. She picked up the garbage bag, opened the door and handed it over to Shantabai. She smiled at her and inquired if she was well, Yes said Shantabai and asked Neelam whether it was an off day for her. Shantabai colleted the garbage into her wheel barrow and moved ahead to the next house. Neelam stood there looking as Shantabai moved ahead, what a similarity she thought. Shantabai too had a blue dress just as she had. The only difference was, it was a saree unlike her suited skirt, ofcourse the saree was unclean unlike her dress which was always spic and span. Shantabai too was collecting peoples garbage moving from door to door just as she collected garbage from the passengers, seat to seat before the flights landed. Shantabai picked up garbage strewn around and put them into the barrow just as she did on the flights. How similar their jobs were she thought. Shantabai kept the locality clean, she her aeroplane clean ready for the next flight. Shantabai had a few brooms stacked at the side of her barrow, she would keep asking every resident if they would like to buy one. She would be all smiles when she could sell one. Neelam reminicened, she too would be trying to sell things, cofee, tea, cold drinks, sandwich, nuts and what not on the flights to passengers, she too would be all smiles if she could manage a sale, her commission would be there. Their jobs were different, the work they did was nearly similar.
Neelam closed the door and took the tooth brush and paste. As she brushed her teeth pictures of her job crossed her mind. Getting ready for take off, she would be demonstrating to the passengers how to tie seat belts and all safety measures, Shantabai too talked to people and demonstrated how to segregate waste at source and the importance of home composting. How funny, they both did educate the public in their own ways. Each time as the flights got ready for landing Neelam would walk along the asile , garbage bag in hand collecting leftovers and trash from each passenger to keep the aeroplane clean for the next flight. That was exactly what Shantabai did in her locality daily , what a striking similarity in their jobs she thought.
The pictures of her pushing the food cart and handing over meals to passengers came to her mind, that’s what waiters did in restaurants, she was doing the same in the flight. She collected the cash too, so she was the cashier too!! Clients called out to waiters for a glass of water when thirsty, on the flight passengers pressed the bell for water which she carried for them. Her thoughts went across to Laxman, the waiter at her favourite nearby restaurant. Laxman was well dressed in his maroon shirt and pant uniform. He too moved from table to table telling the customers what food the restaurant had to offer, asking them what they would like to have. He then took down orders and carried them on a tray to serve them on the tables. Yet Laxman’s job didn’t have the glamour her job had, though both of them were actually doing the same thing.
Air hostess she was. A waiter, cleaner, garbage picker and peddler selling wares all rolled into one. Yet there was glamour in the name….Air hostess. The sweeper, the waiter, the house to house peddler selling his wares all worked hard and earned their living but had no great status in society. The airhostess had status, glamour though she was doing exactly the same work that they were doing.
What’s in a name they said. Its there for sure, the name airhostess is a fine example of this. It has an identity, credibility and a psychological advantage. The work profiles may be the same but the name matters!!.