No pressing matter

No pressing matter

I never understood why some people have one rule for themselves and another for others and more so when it came to people who are poor and less educated. We had a presswala, a man who ironed clothes for over seven years in the two blocks of an apartment complex.

Suddenly, one fine morning, a few residents demanded that he be replaced as he apparently seemed to be doing a lot of things other than actually ironing clothes. That made me and a few others inquisitive to understand what else was he doing as we knew that our clothes were ironed without fail and delivered well on time. What came to light was interesting.

He had by now employed two assistants who ironed the clothes in his absence, which was more often than not, while he went around helping people, residents included, sell their old goods, rent or sell apartments, find a driver for their cars in a city where the attrition of the drivers was the talk of the town, all this for a fee or may be commission is a better word. He also had mastered the art of running a chit fund for a set of people in his category even though he had no background in finances or investments, not having seen a school beyond the seventh standard.

The contention of these people was that he came in as a presswala and should continue only as that and not become a self-made entrepreneur that he was by now, or what else should one be calling him? Some, even considered him a threat as he knew every family in the block and is acquainted with them for these many years, the threat of what kind, no one was clear.  Why should he not be allowed to grow when he too wants to improve his living style and has dreams of educating his children in an English medium school, if not a convent and make sure that they did not land up like him, ironing others clothes for a living.

Interesting enough, such people on one side object to this kind of entrepreneurship and on the other preach the same at home to their children or at the office to their subordinates and team members or even more attempt at being one, themselves. They would do whatever it took them to achieve their goals. Ultimately, this person was let go but he kept his job with the other block and continued to hone his entrepreneur skills while this block kept experimenting with a new person to iron their clothes, on a quarterly basis. They possibly did not realise that after all a known devil is better than an unknown angel.