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Inculcating Gratitude



When we initially thought of executing this campaign by meeting people in the thankless profession and trying to honor their job in a small way, we never thought that the response from them and the people around them would be so heartwarming.  It’s the just the beauty of gratitude that uplifts the people’s enthusiasm so much that it does not require anything more apart from that.

When we started our journey, we first encountered few watchmen at some housing societies. When we thought of approaching them for appreciating their work, we found them busy pulling and pushing the entrance gate for the queued vehicles. As it was our first engagement of the day, we ourselves were so nervous about the fact that how the people are going to react. But discarding that nervousness and following our heart, we finally met them and the first word that came to our mouth was ‘Thank You’. As it was possibly their first experience of someone thanking them, they were surprised. They might have thought that how is that possible or is that a prank. But when we finally made them comfortable by making them understand who we are and what we are trying to do, watching those blissful eyes was something which we dreamt off while taking this initiative in our hand.

Auto Rickshawalas, who are considered to be the lifelines of India’s chaotic streets, are found in huge numbers on Mumbai roads especially in the suburbs. Choosing a few out of them to cover their reactions was a difficult task. But we went ahead and met few of them, and it is very tough to describe those ecstatic faces. They were literally overjoyed. A lot of other Rickshawalas too joined us and a simple gesture of ‘Thank You’ from us was enough for them to start their day on a positive note.

For us, being less familiar to the city of Mumbai, it was a tough task in hand to go and meet few of the homemakers who are at work 24×7, 365 days. We decided to handpick and approach the home makers in our own society. We met an 85 year old lady who was still serving her home.Meeting her was an emotional moment for us (it made me cry), but at the same time was an excellent opportunity for us to highlight what she has been doing and why these people need to be thanked every day. She was such a person that she insisted us to have a cup of tea or a sharbat that she will be making. We refused initially but finally accepted her offer as it made her happy as it has been making her happy from past so many years. As it is said, saying “thank you” — sincerely and with heart — feels good. Not just to the person receiving it, but also to the person offering it. Thus, talking to her, recording her views, and saying ‘Thank You’ to her was a pure joy and satisfying for us. The broad smile on her face said it all.

What comes to our mind when we talk about Traffic Police? Challan? We intentionally stopped our car on the roadside where you are not supposed to be near the west end side of one of the railway stations to get the reaction from the Traffic Police standing nearby. They rushed to us and said politely ‘you cannot stop your car over here’, we told we are just here for 2-3 minutes, then they said ‘Ok’.

Then we came out, shook hands with them by saying thank you and appreciated the work done by them even on the day of Diwali. “Yaar humein toh koi kuch nahi samajhta, humein pehli baar koi thank you bol raha hai” uttered one of those traffic cops. Though we took it as a compliment for us but on a larger scale it reminded us how thankless they are in their job and why there is a need to appreciate and utter a simple ‘thank you’ to them occasionally to keep them rejuvenated.

Whenever we travel by train, how many of us get to meet the motormen or even see them. They are the hidden driving factors in our journey to reach the destination. And when it comes to Mumbai, where the Local trains drive half the population, the work of the motormen become even more substantial. Meeting them and recording their views and honoring their work on camera required approval from the authorities. We thought that it is going to take more time and much more effort. But sometimes when you are doing something good, God helps you. We got the approval for the next morning. We reached at around 7am at one of the suburbs station. On platform no.1, we waited for the train that terminates over there. In a small cabin, there was an unnoticed person sitting who has just made thousands of people reach their destination, preparing for another set of thousands of people to board the train. We boarded on the small cabin and said simple ‘Thank You’. They smiled and they were surprised. They told in their past so many years of driving people from one place to another, they have never been thanked. “People don’t even notice us. They don’t even know who is driving them to their place.” said one of those motorman who was in rush as it was time for the train to leave the platform. They were so happy clicking pictures with us that it actually showed it was their first such encounter.

Similar is the case with the bus drivers. Rather, they don’t even get the liberty of unobstructed railway tracks. They drive people on sluggish Mumbai roads with such tight scheduling. We tried meeting them at one of the bus depots where they can actually find some time for us. The driver whom we met was coming after a long tiring journey full of several halts. The mental status of that bus driver can be easily assumed. And thus we received an irritated response from him. And that was the perfect time for gratitude to show its magic. Believe it or not, when we told him that we were there to thank him for his job and that we respect the work they do for the people day in and day out, everything changed; irritation changed to politeness and that smiling face might not have been ever seen before.

Street Sweepers !! Do they need any other reason to be thanked? We met them early Monday morning when they finish off their work at the time when people get on roads to leave for their offices and schools. There was nothing but broad smiling faces when we interacted with them. The intensity of their happiness was something that we cannot describe in words. We shook hands with them even if their hands were dirty. We clicked pictures with them even if their clothes weren’t shining. A simple ‘Thank You’ from us was an incredible respect for them.

There is a critical need to withdraw the consensus that these people are paid to do their jobs and they don’t need to be thanked. Money help them to run their household but expressing gratefulness to them can keep them highly motivated in their jobs which will ultimately help them to serve us better and can provide us a heartwarming experience when we are with them. The difference a simple ‘Thank You’ can bring in their life is beyond imagination. So let’s not forget the all hard-working folks that serve us every day in some way or the other because there’s always someone, somewhere waiting for your gratitude.


–@Shahid Iqbal



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Shahid Iqbal

Having worked with Times Group as a content writer, he is now mostly involved in writing niche content on ‘Gratitude’ for IdoThankU.

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