When I decided to write on Gratitude, I took some good time in deciding who will be the sole beneficiary of my Thank You. Then I thought who is the one person that has been giving me all through my life without expecting a thank you; the answer was my domestic help, Narayan.
Now to capture Noorie (I gave him this name out of affection as he often complains that he became almost a women doing womanly chores for my mother and me) in words is like trying to collect all the sea water in a Coca-Cola bottle. He is a panorama of talent. Let me start from the beginning. He came to us when he was merely 10. Yes, it was child labour. He was desperate to find work and let me confess, that some 20 yrs ago people weren’t so aware of the sins of child labour. But, somehow, our association with him was never of a servant and employer. He was always like a family member. He was new in Delhi, just ten days ago he came from his poor fishing village in Bihar when we found each other.
My parents are humble people. My mother can not treat anyone less than family member when he lives with us, and my father was always magnanimous. They both welcomed him warmly. He was never aloof either; he embraced us like his very own. He was uneducated, I was a little girl who was just starting to learn things, and we made an instant connection. As soon as I would come from school, I would finish the meal and engage him in games. We played ludo, carrom, even cards I taught him. But then we all noticed something peculiar about him. He was brilliant and a very fast learner. I got someone to share things with, the missing fourth wheel to our family, I shared all my pizza’s and Lindt’s with him.
One day a person came to fix motor (to fetch water), he observed him keenly and learned his art, next were the men to service AC, he wouldn’t budge from that place and saw everything like he was at some workshop to learn it. Our house was renovated soon, and those were best times for him as he picked up every art from them, plumbing, carpentry, electrical work. And let me confess since then we have never called anyone to repair anything, he became the SRK of My Name Is Khan, “repair almost everything”.
Next was the time when my school promoted “each one teaches one” campaign and distributed school kits to us with the motto to educate any one person at least. My target was Noorie, who better? I told him no play from today it’s study time, and I religiously taught him letters, numbers, simple sentences. There too he excelled and learned pretty quick, from then he would write his letter and read them himself. My most proud moment was when he signed his name anywhere, he swelled with pride.
Then came a time when we fought a lot, I remember I have slapped him hard once as he dropped a heavy table on my leg and blood flowed out. It was a reflex action, but I still regret it. Then I got busy with my life, studies and other engagements and Noorie got more occupied with his inventions. He turned a kitchen into a small lab, asking mum money now and then to buy various tools and stuff. He had promoted himself to the inventor from the handyman and made many small but excellent inventions. The only thing in my home that was spared by him were my laptop and E-gadgets.
On festivals he gets real excited, his most favourite is putting up Diwali lights in the newest and most attractive possible ways. Mine is to tie him a Rakhi. At this point I must mention his obsession with television, he watches everything, just for his sake we got a TV in the kitchen, and you would be surprised to know he watches cartoons, cricket, news, Hindi movies, English movies, and even GOT! He is more aware of the whole demonetization fiasco than me. But wait, I haven’t yet mentioned his mastered art to you. He is a master chef. He can cook like he was working for gods till now. Any cuisine that me and my family palate, he can prepare exquisitely. From Mughlai to South Indian and from Chinese to Italian, he can cook anything. People invite themselves to my home for the sake of his food. Special demands are made for exotic dishes. My personal favourites are the chilli paneer, dal makhani and Vada he makes. He can make fantastic non-veg, but he left it after living with us as we are pure vegetarians.
Today he is married with two kids, but still, he spends ten months of a year with us, and I am grateful to him in so many ways. He has stood by my family and me like a pillar of strength in every hour of need. My father always gave him generous gifts and bonuses; my mother always told him to serve his plate himself; she never made him feel that he was not one of us. My father had himself taken him to hospitals for the three operations he had, paid his bills, went with him for his tests, got him discharged. But yet, he has done much more for us.
When my father passed, he was there more than anyone else. I have held him and cried, I have been force fed by him when I used to sit like a dead person. He has forced me to live many times; he made me see my mother, showed me her pain. He kept me sane when I was going insane. He brought me back to life when I was walking towards death. At one point I went a little mad, and when my pain would be unbearable I would laugh uncontrollably, hysterically, he had even slapped me to break my stupor. I have been pacified by him in nights as I screamed in my sleep and my mother would go to pieces. I can say that if Noorie wasn’t there, I might not have been here.
Since then he has considered himself to be the man of the house. He advises my mother. He guards her and me like a ferocious lion. He stands in front of us both like a wall to protect us. Ironically, the world can’t understand our bond. When Papa passed, my mother and I were told to be wary of him, as he can bring harm to us. I pitied them all. For they can never understand his loyalty. He saves and guards every penny he can.
Can’t thank him enough for his 20yrs of services. There are no words to say to him which will be sufficient to show how much grateful I am for him. I hope that in time to come, you will be able to get whatever it is that you want from life. He truly proved that he is the man of the house, in way more than one. I cannot imagine my life without his constant love and support.