They say change is the only constant. The same happened to me about a month back when I had to shift to start my MBA here at IIM Indore. New girl to the city, to the hostel life, to an MBA program. It was all completely different. From the fact of going to eat by myself to prepare for the class on the following day, none of it I’d done before. I’ve never been good at accepting changes and I go through a series of denial before I start accepting it. Life at Indore was no different.
It was almost the end of the week when I was as usual in my mess, alone, trying to get my food while talking to my parents over a call. The moment I kept, I found an uncle coming over to me, asking me if I was from Chennai. I merely nodded my head. I wasn’t keeping quite well and when I tried to answer him, it was pretty evident in my voice. He immediately noticed it and went over to bring me something from the kitchen. Believe me, there are 1000 students alone in the mess and a whole bunch of other people who come over for every meal. Imagine cooking in bulk, thousands of rotis, kilos of sabzis and tonnes to rice. That’s how a routine meal is in the mess. Add it to thrice a day. It is definitely not a “happy” job, one would think. But happiness is what we make of it is what he made me realize. While I was sulking about a new place, not quite settling in, there was a man from the same place, away from his family for god knows how many years, working all 7 days a week, all 3 meals a day and still managing a smile, talking to a few students that he was fond of, making sure the food was fine.
The following day I went over to thank him and conversationally asked if he had his dinner. He said it’ll take at least 11 o’clock for them to wind up. Imagine us telling our mothers to eat along with us and not to wait until everyone was done. That’s 3 or 4 people in a family. This person here has a family of 1000. Mornings start by 5 and nights close after 12. Yet he said I was the first one to ask him whether he had his dinner. How guilty should we all feel. If food equals god and despite us claiming food not tasting good enough as it is at home, shouldn’t we all respect the people who serve us that? I did absolutely nothing “extra”ordinary. But the way he smiles at me everyday after that just made me realise the same. The little thing that we do can go a long way. Here was a person who found another who “cared” to even talk to him and another girl who found someone to “ask” her if she had her food and why she didn’t turn up the previous day for lunch/dinner. Just a few days back, he said he was going home for a few days and asked me if I needed anything and that actually welled me up. It might sound silly but at the end of the day, all of us long only for those “silly” things.
Home isn’t everywhere, but doesn’t mean you can’t create one where you stay, right? All it took was that one little question for a father staying away to remind him of his daughter and a girl staying away to remind her of her home. While you are sitting somewhere, feeling alone, there might always be someone sitting next to you, feeling the same way. All it takes it to look up, take the initiative and understand their perspective. After all, that’s what Managers are “supposed” to do, or rather that’s what humans are supposed to do. Networking doesn’t necessarily restrict itself to peers, right?
Until Next Time