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A kindred soul

By Heera Nawaz Feb 9 2018, 1:45 IST

It is sometimes inferred that only the affluent, so-called "advanced" folk are wired to be compassionate. Yet, I would refute this fallacy by recounting a recent rendezvous I had with a simple, unassuming but absolutely down-to-earth maid who won everybody's hearts with her kindred spirit. This woman, Sujatha, is tall and sylph-like with a willowy structure but is also strong and sturdy, and more importantly, has a heart of pure, untarnished gold.

Sujatha stood out in the milling crowds because of her hard and selfless work. Never one to give flimsy excuses, she would be at the library where I worked, always ready to carry to the office stacks of specimen copy books and periodicals, never for a moment complaining or passing the buck. Walking gingerly with her loads, she would climb up and down the flights of stairs, getting her work done fast and efficiently. Her dedicated personality was complemented by a cheerful, hearty disposition.

But why I recall Sujatha is because of her innate goodness of temperament. She was subtly aware of the office goings-on, also termed 'office politics' and she had a streak of winning attitude. An observant woman, she was vaguely cognisant of the Management's mood and, though not obtrusive, she knew much about the employees' standing in the institution. To the employees she took a fancy for, she would be the 'Good Samaritan,' giving them a gentle nudge or warning.

Thus, when I used to pass from the classroom to the den or 'control room' (as we called it), she would give communicate through signs what may ensue inside. A hearty beaming smile from her could mean that the coast was clear! Whereas, if she was too preoccupied with vigorous swabbing to even look up and give a smile, that could mean the Management mood was bleak: time to pull up your socks!

To set the record straight, she was not always right nor was she always stationed outside the "control room" but as far as she was concerned, she gave these small insignias to help. In the eventuality she could not help, never would she harm or hurt. Evilness, cunningness and playing diabolic 'mind games' were never a part of her behaviour.

Instead, with an admirable attitude and character, she was one maid everyone grew to love and appreciate. She was a 'woman of substance' with a heart as pure as Swarovski crystal. Sujatha was quiet, shy and never said a word, but her sweetness was definitely not wasted and those gentle, light brown, empathetic eyes said it all.

The words of the poem Elegy by Thomas Grey have some memorable lines which could apply to Sujatha: "Full many a gem of purest ray serene/ The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear/ Full many a flower is born to blush unseen/ And waste its sweetness on the desert air€"

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