In the Quest to Survive and Thrive

At the time when all my Ghazal crazy peers loved Jagjit Singh sahab, I stood out and loved Pankaj Udhas sahab more. I liked him for the certain cheerfulness in voice and style, as well as the simplicity of the lyrics. The lyrics of his Ghazals were more understandable, and that is what I loved a lot!

Till date, there are two of his songs I remember by heart, the evergreen classics – Chitthi Aayi Hai and Chaandi Jaisa Rang Hai Tera.

Chitthi Aayi Hai evoked in me some very hard hitting emotions. It made me feel sad and happy at the same time, along with love and longing. And thought I always felt those words, I did not give them a thought until very recently, until 22nd February, 2018.

I have been to a few countries and have interacted with people there who are Indians and have come there for work. I have many friends in India who have left their home towns to work in cities. This movement of people from their home town to alien places for work or leisure is very normal.

But somehow, when I began my Dubai trip on 22nd Feb, it all felt very different. Every step I took, every second person I met was either an Indian or someone from the subcontinent – Bangladesh, and Pakistan mainly. And here, I talk of people serving at restaurants, taxi drivers, janitors, salesmen, sweepers and cleaning staff, housekeepers in our service apartment, security guards at the Airport as well as the many dazzling malls, and the list can go on!

I interacted with them all, normally.

However, the moment that hit me hard was a quiet moment. A moment where I did not interact but watched.

It was a moment when I saw 50+ people exit a construction site and wait for a bus. All these 50+ people were clad in grey jumpsuits, dark grey in colour. Because of this dark colour, I could only see their silhouette and get an inkling of what is it that they were doing. Some were listening to music with their headphones on. Some were surfing their smartphone screens. Some were looking here and there, and perhaps, literally, nowhere!

I could not see their faces but what I could make out was that they shared the same skin colour with me. They came from where I came.

I closed my eyes for a bit and underwent a sensation. Jaise ki ghutann ho rahi ho, jaise andhera ho andar, just like the dark grey jumpsuits they were wearing.

In a while, their bus came. They started climbing it one by one.

I kept thinking ki kya karenge yeh ghar jakar. Koi nahi hoga wahaan. Bas khana khayenge aur so jayenge and subah uthkar fir same kaam par.

My eyes shed a tear, making me realise ki kitne hi log hain mere aas paas who have left their hometowns and are working around us.

They have come to their city of work to Survive and Thrive. To Learn and Earn.

As of now, I am lucky to be working in my hometown and staying with my parents. But there was a time, when I had remained away from them for 5 Long years! This is when I was sent to a Hostel at the age of 6.

I cried for the first few nights. I vomited the first night and messed my hair. I was slapped by my Ayah and eventually i gave in to the fact that this is the reality and I have to accept it.

I know that in a few years my children might also travel abroad to study and/or work, and stay there for long duration. They may settle there too and I will have to adjust to this reality.

But that is a thing of the future. Today, I want to Salute every person who stays away from his or her family so that he could Learn, Earn, Survive and Thrive, along with taking care of the same family he/she is forced to leave behind.

It’s not easy jee, but you are doing it.

Keep Smiling, Keep Climbing 🙂

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Gurpreet Singh Tikku

Meet Mister Tikku – a food influencer, hardcore entertainer, and smile spreader extraordinaire! With a passion for all things delicious, Mister Tikku has spent years exploring the world of food and sharing his experiences with his followers. With his infectious personality and knack for finding the best bites around, Mister Tikku has gained a loyal following on social media and has established himself as one of the most trusted voices in the food & beverage industry. @MisterTikku