The other day I asked my daughter what she wants to be when she grows up. She said, “I want to be a garbage collector”. And on being questioned “why” she gave a quirky reply “it doesn’t need much education, but if I want to be a doctor then I have to study really hard and I can’t” 😁. Actually just before she arrived at this choice of her, I told her in a casual talk that to be a nurse or doctor you need to study really hard, six-seven years after your schooling, and excuses that you give now won’t do. Just five years of age and she got many answers and options changing according to her mood. I am waiting for her to settle with one choice and focus on it diligently. I promised her that I would back her no matter whatever her choice is provided it is ethically, morally correct (this is unspoken to her though given her age).

1. Gardener,
2. Garbage Collector,
3. Artist,
4. Caretaker,
5. Bus Driver,
6. Deliveryman/ woman,
7. Engineer,
8. Nurse  

Literally, whatever, I don’t mind provided she is happy in her life and never wrongs others, end of the discussion.

Why I am indifferent to her choices? Do I really don’t care about her future? Yes, I am. I am more concerned about her happiness therefore reluctant to pressurize her into something she is not happy with. And secondly, I firmly believe that no job is lowly or less important. If a person is taking care of his/her family needs, proving to be a contributor to the working of machinery called Economy however minuscule or indirectly proportional it might be, then how can we question its Importance? Every job irrespective of the prestige it carries, influential power tagged to it, income package & perks, social treatment it receives, organized or unorganized sectors to which it belongs holds a prominence/importance in our lives. Every person doing their respective jobs sticking to moral and ethical conduct deserve equal importance. I have learned this from my father. I have never seen him talking to or about any person to no matter which strata of the society he or she hails from and whatever the job description of that person is in a disrespectful manner. He throughout his life has maintained and practiced one value “Every person who is WORKING honestly deserves respect. Respect isn’t related to the position or income”. He is my source of inspiration who shaped my beliefs. One recent example that rekindled his memories in this context: In January 2020 there was a strike of the garbage collectors in the Brussels region. Just in a week, the entire city was flooded with the sticking garbage sacs. Had it been one more week there was a probability that we could have encountered serious health issues much ahead of Covid19. So aren’t they essential for our well being?

The new word on the block: Seems this pandemic Covid19 along with its tumultuous impact on our lives have made a strong impact on dictionaries (read added volume) across the world 😁. New words never thought of before or never heeded to or heard much about before are marching in our lives from left, right and center every day. “Essential Workers” is one among them. It is used in reference to the sanitation workers, Doctors, Nurses who are working tirelessly to provide treatment to the affected patients (read article Caring for Caregivers). A big salute to them for their never say die attitude and selfless service. But I feel the ambit of the term “Essential Workers” should encompass more professions or workers who are in one or the other way making contributions to make our routines unimpacted or seamless.

Few examples:

  • Teachers giving online classes to our kids so that their education isn’t hampered.
  • Delivery guys delivering goods amidst this chaos so that we are safe in our homes.
  • The pilots involved in rescue operations of bringing the citizens back to their families.
  • The non-profit organizations making sure that the basic needs of food and medicines reaching the most vulnerable sections.
  • The police force working 24*7 to ensure that law and order situation isn’t compromised even if it means risking their lives.

Neither the last nor the least the homemakers whose work has only got doubled. To cut it short, I believe every person who is working to make sure that the normalcy isn’t derailed is an Essential Worker.

Thank the pandemic: One positive aspect of this otherwise murky situation is that it brought forth how we undermine the “others” job and unabashedly declare ourselves to be independent but the fact is we are not. We have all the way believed that few works are respectable and important while the one at lower pedestal and be jeered at, faceless contributions in our lives be it of a farmer or a cobbler or a weaver, were (most of us) never acknowledged. These testing times are not only testing the dexterity of socio-economic conditions of the counties but have been a litmus test to our understanding of what we consider to be “Essential”, isn’t it?

Coordination, Co-operation, Respect – Essential for a well-knitted society irrespective of the times and trends.