I recently saw a picture on my Facebook feed by a news daily, of a person renaming the board of a famous road in Delhi. While the nation was interested in this news, some factions were pro and some against, as is always the case, the picture spoke to me about another unlooked factor.

I wondered who were these men of shadows, who work while we sleep peacefully, recover our strength and our beauty? There must be thousands of such nameless-faceless people labouring silently in the dark, while we wake up to realize in a miniscule way the change in our ambience and mostly go our ways without so much as an acknowledgement.

Tell me if this sounds familiar- you are going to work or to movies or simply somewhere. The traffic is bad, but it’s always bad. You see that today, though, there’s a new reason- a part of road is being remade or re-painted, because of which the section is closed and the road has in effect narrowed down, causing the traffic to block and choke. You pass the narrow neck and breathe out, cursing the “men at work” and the government, thinking ‘why don’t they do this at night?’ You ignore the heat of the road and the day. You ignore the sweat drenched clothes. You ignore the stain smeared arms and legs. You ignore the tanned faces. But you curse the delay, sitting in your air conditioned car, windows rolled up, clothes looking crisp.

I tried to rake my brain to find the word  that is used to describe them, but it returned “zero results” for my query. Is the society so ignorant or heartless that it thinks that these people don’t even deserve a name? What if I don’t want to call them “labourers” or “blue-collar workers”. If we can have ‘plumbers’, ‘electricians’, ‘mechanics’, ‘linemen’, ‘miner’, ‘welder’, then why no name for them?

Nobody ever spares a thought for these men – the men of the glue, the men of the paint, the men of the words. They stick those posters we see on the walls, put up and change the hoardings that entice us to shop or invest our money and possibly save our lives in grave times, paint the roads we walk on, guide us on the multiple signs along the roads, and do so much more. They carry the lamp that allows us to see our path, they silently work to make our life easier. Yet, we never spare a moment’s thought.

Today, I want to thank these men and women

Thank you for making my life easier! You are doing a great job!!

© Shivani | forewordMarch