Thursday, November 4, 2010

Anjali Hands Me A Lesson In Handling Work

Yesterday I set out to clean my car which was dirty as much from its travels as from the dust of Pune. To make my task more enjoyable I asked Anjali if she would join me in cleaning up the car. That was it. She instantly latched on to the idea and whatever thoughts I had about finishing reading the paper and starting the job were instantly gone. 'Come nanna, let us clean the car, we must do it now,' she insisted and started crying when I asked her to wait for a few moments. I used some other tricks to postpone the inevitable - asking her to get the wash cloth, a jug of water - which she got in a jiffy by scooting off in search of her Mom and her Grandmom and putting them on the job instantly. Once she appeared with two cloths and a jug of water I had no other go but go to the car.
Anjali at the job

Anjali was all enthusiasm of course and instantly chose the lower parts that she could reach to wipe. And after she started her work I hardly heard a word from her. I wondered if she went away after getting bored with this chore but when I peeped in behind, I found her scrubbing away with all seriousness. She saw me, smiled, confirmed that she was cleaning it and continued. 'It is so dirty na nanna,' she said pointing out to the dirt on the number plate. And after a few strokes with her cloth she said gleefully, 'See how clean it is now.' I nodded and went about my job.

It was not that the job was good of course by any standards but she was fully immersed in her work. She did it to the best of her ability and took full pride in whatever she did. And as far as she was concerned, it was a good job, irrespective of what any one else thought. How many times do I look around to see how I am doing a particular job, wondering about the fruits of the labour, criticizing the job, all the  factors involved, resenting others jobs good or bad and when I am done, seeking others approval and judging myself by it. It would be so simple if I just took Anjali's attitude of going at it full steam, give it my all and admire whatever I did.

One thing is doing her job, and the bigger thing is what she brings to the job - the happy environment that things are going well. That is all we need isn't it, that its all going well and we are doing our best in our limited capacities.

Much after I am done I see Anjali still at work in her little area. 'It is still dirty nanna,' she said pointing out to the state of affairs on her number plate which had not changed much really. She kept making trips to the jug of water, bending down, kneeling by the side of the car, until she was satisfied. Then and only then, did she sign off from the job, happy and tired, and moved off into some other thing that interested her.

No wonder its great to have a team of small children with you when you are working. It is not that they can do the job well, it is the enthusiasm that they bring to the job. They do their thing, do not interfere with you, try and figure it out by themselves in their own way, learn by imitation. We expect nothing from them so we are happy that they are around in this enterprise. Wonder why we cannot take the same attitude to the other teams we work with, the same tolerance, the same love and good humour - families, office. The job will be done anyway, and it can be as enjoyable as working with a team of children.      


Rajendra said...

That's one of the reasons why I enjoy being in teaching- young people with lots more enthu than we have for everything. Though we don't always agree on everything, the enthu is infectious.

Harimohan said...

So true. The energy, the enthusiasm, the perspective are all so different that you wonder why we can't be like that a bit more.