Vishnu Kumar, the security guard in night shift at my office had become a good friend of mine, over the last few weeks.
Yesterday, when I greeted him with a “Goodnight bhaiyya” and was about to leave office, I saw the familiar face of Hari Ram, an ex-Security guard at Shopclues, smiling back at me. He wasn’t in his uniform. I was curious to know more about his whereabouts these days.
We conversed in Hindi throughout, but is translated to English here.
Hari Ram: “Sireenivaas Sir, you know, I am a teacher now.”
Vishnu Kumar: “Show your ID card to Sir, too. You haven’t left a single person alone.” *grins*
Me: *reading from the ID card* “Tuition teacher at Mera Parivar! Wow! When and how did this happen?”
Hari Ram, the tuition teacher
Hari: “Mera Parivar is an NGO Sir. My cousin introduced me to it. I teach maths to Class VI – Class VIII kids. There are 150 students in all, and 4 teachers. All these students are studying in Government school. Unfortunately, the standard of teaching isn’t great there. So this tuition is aimed at providing them with good quality education. And, it’s free of cost for them”
Overhearing our interesting conversation from a distance, Jeet Singh, another security guard, joins our round table. Throughout the conversation, Hari was my English translator, in case I threw a blank face to anything Vishnu or Jeet said.
Me: “That’s great Hari. So you no longer work as security guard?”
Hari: “I had taken a break so that things could settle in. I will join again by the end of this month”
Me: “Great! *looking at Jeet and Vishnu* What do you guys do during the day?”
Vishnu: “I just sleep throughout the day. In the night also, there is not much work. After you leave, I switch off all the lights in all floors, and sleep, till 6 am in the morning.”
Me: “If you are anyway sleeping for 8 hours in the night, you could do some job during the day also right?”
Vishnu: “Not like I don’t want to. I haven’t got any opportunities.”
Me: “What have you studied?”
Vishnu: “Engineering, till second year in my village. I wanted to complete my engineering, but you know fate takes it’s own course. My father had a deep fracture in his left leg, making him bed-ridden for months together. I had two elder sisters who were to be married. Mom stays at home. Who will earn? I had to”
I had, in the past seen Vishnu operate the computer to transfer some files and do other basic stuff
Me: “You can work with the computer right?”
Vishnu: “Yes Sir. Of course!”
Me: “Let me see if I can find you a day job”
Vishnu: “That will be the biggest help anyone would have done to me and my family, Sir”
Vishnu had become a bit senti. To lighten things up, I changed the topic.
Me: “So Hari, where are you from?”
Hari: “From Kherli, in Alwar district, Rajasthan. These two guys are also from a nearby place, Bharatpur”
Jeet takes off from there.
Jeet: ” Bharatpur fort (Lohagarh Fort) was impregnable by enemy forces. Aurangazeb tried once. The British tried many a time. They couldn’t move a brick. You search in internet if what I am saying is true or not”
It was indeed true.
Jeet: “There’s also Ghana Bird Sanctuary, which attracts tourists from all over the world”
Me: “Oh, that’s awesome! I have been to Rajasthan, but only to Jaipur, Udaipur, Ajmer and Pushkar. Will visit these places someday.”
Hari: “You should. It is a beautiful place, Bharatpur,”
Jeet: “Where are you from, Sir?”
Jeet throws a blank.
Hari: “That place in South man, which was initially called Madras.”
Jeet: “Oh, so you are staying alone here, away from family. Much like our stories”
All three have a hearty laugh at this.
As Vishnu goes to switch off the lights at office, Hari gives some career advice to Jeet.
Hari: “Look man, you’re new to this field. Don’t get stuck here. You’re still young. See if you can get a better job somewhere. There’s no job that’s as mundane as this. I am saying out of experience. 10+ years. It’s not even good for your body, sitting at the same place all day. Working as a labourer is better compared to this. At least you give some exercise to your body that way.”
Jeet: “It’s not like I want to work as security. I am not getting any other job. I will try.”
Me: “You knew these guys from before, Jeet?”
Jeet: “Of course! Vishnu married my sister last year. We are all relatives”
Me: “Haha, nice nice. Hari, what about your family?”
Hari: “They are in Kherli. Wife, three kids, I will send my daughter for PMT after her 12th, and my son for Computer training. Second son is just studying in Class IV”
Vishnu comes back and starts another random conversation.
Vishnu: “I used to be awesome at Maths in School and College. The only subject in maths I hated was *some hindi word I didn’t understand*”
Me: “Sorry, what subject?”
Hari: “That subject where you have x-square + y-square and all”
Me: “Oh, algebra!”
Vishnu: “Yes yes. That is one subject I fail to understand even today, after all these years. Apart from that, I used to score 75+ out of 100 in all my maths tests.”
Hari: “I would regularly score 45+ out of 50 too.”
Me: “Awesome! So Vishnu, you shouldn’t waste this talent. Make use of it. I will get some books sometime next week.”
Vishnu: “Sure. Also, did you know Hari has an awesome memory? Ask him about your two wheeler’s number”
Hari: “Oh sir’s number. It’s 5091 Black Activa. Radhika mam’s is XXXX, your old roommate Hari’s number was YYYY.”
Hari: “Hehe! Just to make our mundane job more interesting. Anyway Sir, I have to leave now, go home and cook my dinner.”
Me: “Same here. Bye! Let’s take a picture”
Jeet: *pointing near the reception table* “Lighting is good here. Let’s click here”
Vishnu: “It should be a selfie”
From left to right: Jeet Singh, Vishnu Kumar, Hari Ram and yours truly
Me: “I’ll share it via Bluetooth with both of you.”
Hari: “Bluetooth why. Whatsapp the pics to us!”
Talk about mobile internet penetration in India!
Note: If you have any contacts that can help get Vishnu a job in and around Gurgaon, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Btw, if you’re new to the “Humans of India” series, you might want to read them all, here.