by Jigyansa Mohanty
The other day I got the number of one of my school friends, the eagerness to connect after long was such that I immediately dialed hardly realizing the day and time. Two missed calls and then her customized voice mail message was enough to bring me back to my senses with me realizing that ‘Oh! Today is Monday, so all busy’. Why these Mondays preponderate over other weekdays as we humans attach utmost importance to the day the week begins. The pivotal role it plays as it stands out amongst all other days depends mostly on how one perceives its very existence.
I hate Mondays…something I am used to since my childhood. After a playful weekend when mom used to give a wake up call insisting “its’s Monday,you need to rush………..” I seriously used to hate it like anything. As an ignorant kid I used to wonder over it’s very status “Why these Mondays come, oh my God! Same usual routine, school, classes, can’t I get some extra hours of sleep.” May be the hatred germinated when my dad used to leave us on Monday morning for his work place which was three hours drive from my native. Being an engineer he had the so-called privilege of touring the remotest corners of the state something which even he disliked. For me it was like a forced separation from my dad for five days with me cursing the nerve wracking Monday and my eager eyes awaiting his arrival on fabulous Friday.
Again Mondays are the days when you cannot expect any softness from your so called elders as everybody seem to be hell bent on taking you to task and you have no other option than listening to their words with thoughts pondering about the harshness in their behavior on this very day. The same tone mellows down with each passing day of the week and finally turns into an euphonious one on Fridays.
For the very first time I fell in love with Monday was when I got my appointment letter and I had to join on a specific Monday. The idea of job was strong enough to give the so called Monday jitters a back seat. But my relationship with Mondays never improved and rather took a downward spiral.Post job the one hour bus travel from Wadaala to Colaba in Mumbai was worse on week’s starting day with me struggling to get a seat till the end, my hands searching for support,my eyes hooked onto the road and my ears to the sound of the honk.Not that other days wore a rosy picture but to get a seat on week beginning was a tough deal to crack.To add to my woes my desk and mail box used to swarm with loads of stuff requiring my immediate attention.
Seniors and colleagues all tensed as if Monday sought answers from each one of us and we had to prove our mettle the same day. Even the joyful boy Arun who used to bring tea to our office and fill the atmosphere with his light-hearted humorous talk used to wear a grave look on Mondays. When I asked him the reason behind this he replied rather innocently “What to do, today is Monday na mam, lots of work to do". Leaving me to wonder when he does the same work every day then why this self-imposed rigidity on Monday. Not only Arun but Sulekha Aunty who does our office cleaning work seemed to have a different attitude on said Mondays. With lightning speed she enters, does the cleaning and vanishes within no time. Any additional work on Mondays is a strict no for her excepting when it coincides with a month end or a Diwali eve when her advance is due.
Gradually, with increase in responsibilities, my hatred for Mondays and my eagerness for Fridays both went up until I met Sanchi. That day I was fully engulfed in my files when suddenly a frail looking girl entered our office. My eyes just caught a glimpse of her and then I was neck deep in work. There was this soft voice.........Madamji, which made me stop my work midway and look up. The same girl was standing next to my table, and addressing me.
“Yes, how can I help you?” I asked looking one more time to the paper which was handed over to me by my senior and required my immediate attention.
“Can you please let me know where the broom and mopping cloth is…,” she replied.
The defaulter list itself was highly disturbing as despite their promises people had not turned up for payments and hence it was enough to fume up my anger.
“You can ask Tarun, as he is our office boy and he will be in a position to explain you properly,” I answered putting my
head down into the files again.
After some time, when I got up to fetch myself a bottle of water I saw this girl lifting the bucket with one hand and the mopping stick with another. As I noticed carefully I saw it was becoming difficult for her to balance as she was limping badly. Suddenly I stopped myself there and called for Tarun to help her. But as soon as she heard this she immediately refrained me from doing so.
“I am used to it, you don’t take stress, I can handle it.” What a great amount of confidence she had! With a cheerful smile she went on dragging the bucket to the corner and started on with the cleaning work.
I too walked into the cafeteria and by the time I came my desk was perfectly cleaned hardly leaving any scope for me to complain. Desktop was dusted, mouse was put back on the mousepad, files were arranged one above the other and scattered pens were back to the place where they belonged to.
I was elated, as after a long time I was finding everything in order which reminded me of my mom who used to arrange my table the same way while I was a teen. Now after a long time someone has been able to place my things aptly, the feeling was refreshing. Suddenly my eyes fell on a yellow slip of paper which was placed on my desk.
“Happy Wednesday…!” followed by a smiley. As I looked up I saw the same girl who by then had moved to my colleague’s table smiling at me.
I too as a goodwill gesture gave her a return smile and soon I emerged myself with work and forgot about this girl who wished me with a smiley. Next day again I found a yellow paper with “Happy Thursday” written on it and as I looked up Sanchi (by then I had known her name) had moved on to the next cubicle. Notes with “Happy Friday” and “Happy Saturday” followed and finally Monday came armed with tasks to keep us occupied. Being Monday we all were neck deep in work, but there was this girl who didn’t forget to surprise us with her words “Happy Monday” along with a smiley. For next couple of days Sanchi would come limping, finish her cleaning work and leave without disturbing anyone but by the time she left we all would find such yellow sheets on our table. Gradually we all started loving this small girl and her dose of love……….The yellow piece of paper. She was like a fresh air in our mundane office. All would start smiling once they got the tiny paper with the golden words forgetting about the day and the challenges it had in store for us.
By that time my quest to know about her increased manifold and to pacify my curiosity I called her to my desk and asked‘Thanks for the notes but how do you manage to give these to each one of us and that to every day…?” to which she replied innocently…
“Oh! These slips …… I made them out of the paper which I got while cleaning SG’s office downstairs, I did their office cleaning too when they shifted to MG road recently,” she said with a twinkle in her eyes.
Again, she added “For us everyday is the same madamji, the day we go for work we can feed ourselves, else we have to sleep with empty stomach. We can’t complain, the only thing we can do is take up each and every day with a smile on our face but here you have everything but still no one smiles.”
Her answer dragged me down to deep thought. Despite her limitations she has taught us the real essence of life. We need to live every single day with full enthusiasm, hope and of course a radiant smile. A new dawn comes with its set of challenges but we have to rise and shine with full optimism. Hence, with Sanchi’s yellow slips, Monday was no more an unspoken enemy but a friend whom I can look up to with high spirit and a tank full of energy.
That day I with my office colleagues decided to help Sanchi with some clothes and books. We raised money and thought of surprising her with a gift. But next day as soon as we entered office Tarun broke the sad news that Sanchi won’t be coming anymore as Sulekha aunty is back from Solapur and Sanchi who was her replacement has left. The entire office was in a state of gloom.
Suddenly a yellow slip of paper caught my attention, no doubt it was blank but it was enough to bring back the smile on my face and that to on Monday. ***