The other day I got the number of one of my school friends. The eagerness to connect after so long was such that I immediately dialed without realising the day and time. Two missed calls and then a customised voicemail message ‘Oh! Today is Monday, so all busy’ was enough to bring me back to my senses. Why do Mondays preponderate over other weekdays? Why do we humans attach utmost importance to the day the week begins? For it to stand out amongst all other days depends mostly on how one perceives its very existence.
I hated Mondays since my childhood. After a playful weekend when mom used to give a wake-up call insisting “it’s Monday, you need to rush…” I seriously used to hate it like anything. “Why do Mondays happen? Same routine, school, classes, can’t I get some extra hours of sleep.” May be the hatred germinated when my dad used to leave us on Monday morning for his work place which was at a three- hours drive from home. Being an engineer he had the so-called privilege of touring the remotest corners of the state, something which even he disliked. For me it was like a forced separation from my dad for five days with me cursing the nerve-wracking Monday and my eager eyes awaiting his arrival on fabulous Friday.
Mondays are days when you cannot expect any leniency from your so-called elders as everybody seems to be hell bent on taking you to task and you have no other option than listening to their words with thoughts pondering about the harshness in their behaviour on this very day. The same tone mellows down with each passing day of the week and finally turns euphonious on Fridays.
The very first time I fell in love with Monday was when I got my appointment letter and had to join on a specific Monday too. The idea of getting a job was strong enough to give the so-called Monday jitters a back seat. But my relationship with Mondays never improved and rather took a downward spiral. Post-job the hour-long bus commute from Wadala to Colaba in Mumbai was worse on the week’s starting day with me struggling to get a seat till the end; my hands searching for support, my eyes hooked onto the road, and my ears bugged by the honking sound; not that the other days bore a rosy picture. To add to my woes, my desk and mailbox used to swarm with loads of stuff which required immediate attention.
Seniors and colleagues used to be all tensed as if Mondays sought answers from each one of us and we had to prove our mettle the same day. Even the joyful boy, Arun who used to bring tea to our office and fill the atmosphere with his light-hearted humorous talk used to wear a grave look on Mondays. When I asked him the reason behind it, he replied rather innocently, “Today is Monday ma’am, lots of work to do”. Leaving me to wonder when he does the same work every day then why this self-imposed rigidity on Monday. Not only Arun but Sulekha Aunty who is responsible for our office cleaning work, seemed to have a different attitude on this day. With lightning speed she enters, does the cleaning and vanishes within no time. Any additional work on Mondays is a strict no for her excepting when it coincides with a month end or a Diwali eve when her advance is due.
Gradually, with an increase in responsibilities, my hatred for Mondays and eagerness for Fridays both soared until I met Sanchi. That day I was fully engulfed in my files when suddenly a frail-looking girl entered our office. My eyes caught a glimpse of her and then I was neck deep in work. A soft ‘Madamji’ made me stop my work midway and look up. The same girl was standing next to my table, addressing me.
“Yes, how can I help you?” I asked, looking one more time at the paper which was handed over to me by my senior and required my immediate attention.
“Can you please let me know where the broom and mopping cloth is?” she asked.
The defaulter list itself was highly disturbing, despite the promises people had not turned up for payments and hence it was enough to pump my anger.
“You can ask Tarun, as he is our office boy and he will be in a position to explain you properly,” I answered putting my head down into the files again.
After some time, when I got up to fetch myself a bottle of water, I saw this girl lifting the bucket with one hand and mopping stick with another. I noticed it was becoming difficult for her to balance as she was limping badly. Suddenly I stopped myself there and called for Tarun to help her. But as soon as she heard this she immediately refrained me from doing so.
“I am used to it, you don’t stress out, I can handle it.” What a great amount of confidence she had! With a cheerful smile she went on dragging the bucket to the corner and started on with the cleaning work.
I, too, walked into the cafeteria and by the time I returned my desk was perfectly clean, leaving hardly any scope for me to complain. The desktop was dusted, mouse was placed on the mousepad, files were arranged one above the other and scattered pens were back in one place.
I was elated, as after a long time I was finding everything in order which reminded me of my mom who used to arrange my table the same way when I was a teen. Now, after a long time someone had placed my things aptly and the feeling was refreshing. Suddenly, my eyes fell on a yellow slip of paper which was placed on my desk.
“Happy Wednesday!” followed by a smiley. As I looked up I saw the same girl who by then had moved to my colleague’s table smiling at me.
As a good will gesture, I smiled in return and was soon engaged in work and forgot about this girl who wished me with a smiley. The next day I found a yellow paper again with “Happy Thursday” written on it and as I looked up, Sanchi (by then I had known her name) had moved on to the next cubicle. Notes with “Happy Friday” and “Happy Saturday” followed and finally Monday came armed with tasks to keep us occupied. Since it was Monday we all were neck deep in work, but there was this girl who didn’t forget to surprise us with her “Happy Monday” along with a smiley. For the next couple of days, Sanchi would come limping, finish her cleaning work and leave without disturbing anyone but by the time she left we all would find similar yellow sheets on our table. Gradually we all started loving this small girl and her dose of love in the form on yellow pieces of paper. She was like fresh air in our mundane office. Everyone would start smiling once they got the tiny paper with the golden words forgetting about the day and the challenges it had in store for us.
By that time my quest to know about her increased manifold, and to pacify my curiosity, I called her to my desk. “Thanks for the notes, but how do you manage to give these to each one of us, and that too every day?” to which she replied innocently, “Oh! These slips… I made them out of paper which I got while cleaning SG’s office downstairs; I did their office cleaning too when they shifted to MG road recently,” she said with a twinkle in her eyes.
Again, she added “For us, everyday is the same, madamji. We can feed ourselves on the days we work, otherwise we have to sleep with an empty stomach, and we can’t complain. The only thing we can do is take up each and every day with a smile on our face, but here you have everything but still no one smiles.”
Her answer dragged me down to deep thought. Despite her limitations she has taught us the real essence of life. We need to live every single day with full enthusiasm, hope and of course a radiant smile. A new dawn comes with its set of challenges but we have to rise and shine with full optimism. Hence, with Sanchi’s yellow slips, Monday was no more an unspoken enemy but a friend whom I can look up to with high spirit and a tank full of energy.
That day, I, along with my office colleagues decided to help Sanchi with some clothes and books. We raised money and thought of surprising her with a gift. But the next day as soon as we entered office, Tarun broke the sad news that Sanchi won’t be coming anymore as Sulekha Aunty is back from Solapur and Sanchi who was her replacement has left. The entire office was in a state of gloom.
Suddenly a yellow slip of paper caught my attention – no doubt it was blank but it was enough to bring back the smile on my face, and that too on a Monday.
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