I am a journalist and many other journalists like me crib about their extended work hours and thankless job. Despite all this, what is more excruciating is the low pay scale.
I often complained about my job to my family members, close friends and myself. I wish I had studied harder to become an engineer, doctor or IT professional. Apart from this, there was no spice in my life. Either I was doing field work, reporting for the entire day or doing desk job at home, with my window slightly open. This window was very important to me as whenever I did work from home, it gave me clean glance of the outside world from the 14th floor.
On one fine day, while writing news articles from my room, I heard some not outside my window. After a few seconds, there was someone knocking. At first, I was discombobulated thinking who could it be? When I opened the window, I found a painter right outside.
Me: What’s the matter?
The painter: Can i get a coffee?
“Are you mad?” I asked.
The painter: I really need one.
Me: Go away.
I shut the window and continued my boring office job. After about half an hour, again someone knocked on my window. I knew it was him and it was clear his urged for a cup of coffee will not die easily. I opened the window and…
The painter: Can i get some water please? It is difficult to carry up here in these tall towers. I knocked many windows but some refused, while other did not open the window.
Me: Sure, hold on for a while.
I gave him water, he thanked me and the chapter was over.
The next day, I was standing at the window, smoking a cigarette and gazing at the world outside which looked nothing short of a race. And again, I spotted the painter. This time I thought to confabulate with him. The conversation spot was a bit odd. He was in the air on 14th floor, while I was inside my house.
The painter told me many things about himself. While I cribbed about my job which gave me an air conditioned office, and a few other perks; his job had nothing. He didn’t even know if he would get work after the completion of this project. I asked him to look for another job but all he knew was painting walls with colors.
It was obviously risky. Where I was unhappy with my profile, the painter had no complaints from life. While I wished to own a BMW, all he wished for is a good peaceful sleep. There was so much to learn from him. I always thought that my experienced senior could teach me but, they could teach me only work, not
“Lessons of life”.
He had four days of work left here at my colony. Next day, I spotted him again and we both chatted for hours. I even gave him a coffee. By exchanging personal life notes, he got to know about my profession and requested me to highlight the hardships a painter faces. Honestly, I was thinking about it.
To attain glamour and money, we tend to ignore things and difficulties of others because frankly speaking, we are a world of mean people. His simplicity, tension free life made me wonder why can’t I be like him.
Our conversation for the day was finished and I promised to make lunch for him tomorrow. The next day, I spotted him at 9 am. He had to wrap up things quickly as it was his daughter’s birthday. I served him coffee and prepared lunch for both of us.
After lunch, I went straight to the market to grab a gift for his child. I always looked for expensive gifts but today, I looked for something with heart as my painter friend taught me the real value of life without actually teaching me.
I purchased a nice gift and was back home. I opened my window and spotted him painting the wall on the 12th floor. I told him: “Hey friend, coffee at 5 pm, my place”.
He smile and I turned back to do some household chores. I had taken only 4 steps and I heard loud noises from the window. At first, I didn’t pay attention but voices grew loud. I looked outside and saw my friend lying on the ground. All I could see clearly was blood. He was no more. An ambulance was here in no time. They took him away.
There was many thoughts going on in my mind, the lessons he gave, his smile, his everlasting happiness. There was so much to learn from him. I did not work for 5 days. On the 6th day, when I opened my laptop I heard some noise outside the window. There was another painter. He asked for water. I served him water and requested him to never knock my window again.
He might have thought I am rude but, my reasons were different. I closed the window which now might never open again.
I approached my editors with the idea of making a documentary on painters. All I got to hear was people want to listen about Obama, Trump, US elections, not a small-time painter. This is our fault because we only pay attention to glory and many such people die daily but who cares.