Today, after an era, I went to a cobbler to fix my shoes. I threw in the outdoor essentials in my cloth bag, took the community e-bike, and rode up to the cobbler my mother recommended. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I really wasn’t expecting an old man sitting in languid peace chatting with his friend and being given a small cup of tea by a travelling vendor. I told him the problem, asked him to fix it, and was about to leave when his demeanour suggested I wait. He put his chai cup aside, picked my shoe, and what ensued were measured and patient minutes of mending as if he had all the time in the world. I found myself wanting to be done quickly and then, I consciously stopped. I stood there and watched him do his job with a determined focus that is hard to find these days. He spoke to me, too. He told me what I could expect from the mending, how I should take care of the shoe, and next steps. All of it in Marathi. After I was done, I rode my e-bike so fast towards a new destination that now that I write about it, I realise that maybe I was trying to fill up my minutes quickly after being shown what it meant to slow down.
I work with a lot of young people. They’re almost all filled with some imaginary legacy of entitlement, and they’re full up to the brim. It’s almost as if you can’t teach them anything. I certainly cannot, so I have stopped trying. But I notice the entitlement. They call feedback triggers. They treat their jobs with disdain; jobs they have chosen themselves. They show up never wanting to learn anything. They always appear as if they know better. In the past, I would have been pissed off at such people or even raged at them, but now, I honestly couldn’t care less. Adults tend to worry too much about the kids. What about the “kids” and if the “kids are alright”. Me? I think the kids are also going to get what they deserve, just like the rest of us did. So, what is what, really?
The reason I bring this up is because just after I rode away (very fast) on my e-bike, I visited my usual nursery to buy some indoor plants. The owner asked of his employees to help me. The guy who was asked to help me couldn’t care a fig about my questions to him. He was so distracted, so fidgety, so uninterested in his job that his generation would be proud of his lackadaisical attitude. It was such a huge contrast to my mind, less than 15 minutes apart, that I am here writing about it.
One of my friends once told me, “It’s my life, it’s my choice” or some such variant of this in an aggressive tone. This is a friend I’ve known for a decade and I find it unnecessary to state the obvious. I know the obvious. I know that generations are different, that people have choices, the earth rotates on its own axis, and children in developing countries are made to bottle sunshine which is then sold to the richest of the rich who drink it to become immortal. I get it, I really do.
My only point here is that there are tons of people who take up jobs and don’t know how to do them. They’re so uninterested in what they do for a living it baffles my little mind. The more one sees the world, the more one realises that most jobs are around to keep the society functioning, and that is that. What good is coming out of people trying to chicken their way out of jobs that puts the food on their table? I don’t know.