Today I had an hour between my two sessions of Creative Writing at Just Books Library, at Siddhachal. It was not long enough to go home, but enough to have a quick lunch.

I decided to go to Little Bite, a restaurant in Amrapali Arcade, Vasant Vihar. It has been one of my favourite eating places for years. Their pav bhaji is really amazing and their filter coffee is pretty decent.  But that is not why I am writing this post.

tapan 23Today, I was the only person in the restaurant; the occupants of the other table having just left. The two cleaning boys were having a conversation.

“Did you clean the table that was just vacated?” asked one of them. (His name was Tapan, as I got to know later.)

“Yes”, came the surly answer.

Tapan went to make sure and found that it had not been cleaned properly.

“This is not clean”, he said. “Even the seat is dirty. There is food on the seat.”

“Then why don’t you clean it yourself?”

Without a word, Tapan took a cloth and proceeded to clean the table and seat thoroughly. Since the restaurant did a brisk home delivery business as well, the manager sat outside in the open part of the restaurant and we were in the dining area. The waiters too seemed to having a conversation with the manager, so there was not one in here besides the two boys and me.

There was no one to watch Tapan as he cleaned the place, but that didn’t stop him from doing a good job. This reminded me of a poem by Patience Strong, “The Salt of the Earth” which tells of people who just go ahead and do what has to be done, without expecting praise or reward. And it got me thinking.

We always praise people who do great things in life. People who show courage and dedication in tough situations like wars etc. But what about the normal everyday people who do the small things that make a difference?

Things that hold the fabric of life together; small things that often go unnoticed. What Tapan did may not have won a battle but it made sure that the mood of the next customer did not get spoiled because of a dirty seat. Otherwise who knows how far that bad mood would have travelled around, affecting other people’s lives as well.

Thank you Tapan, for doing your job well!

monday musings

This post is part of the Monday Musings hosted by Everyday Gyaan.

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