SM was the chief manager in a office. The setup was new and so was he. Being a stickler for perfection, he would personally supervise the day’s transactions. His quiet demeanour was different from the friendly atmosphere around. As a result, no one was comfortable around him.
He was considered arrogant and bossy. All this was more of hearsay, but it had a psychological effect on his co-workers. They all kept their distance. Sima was in a different department and had very little interaction with him. Whenever sima did, he came across as polite and helpful. But he wasn’t the genial type like the others. SM was by and large left alone. He was never invited to any group outings or family functions. He had no friends in the office.
There had a subsidized canteen facility in the office. A very negligible amount was deducted for providing us lunch. We had about fifteen temporary staff members and the same was available for them too. One fine day, they came to know that the temps will not be provided lunch facility any more. They would either have to pay the full cost or get food from outside/home. This was shocking!
While the entire office kept discussing the unfairness of this action, SM proved to be different. He wrote a mail to HR lodging a complaint against this decision. He told them that he would not be availing of the subsidized lunch facility. This did not stop here. He booked the services of a nearby dabbawalla (caterer) for supplying food for the temps!! He started eating with them. This man who was considered an unfriendly person had a heart of gold! We wanted to contribute towards the cost, but he refused.
This triggered a chain reaction of sorts and everyone from the office wrote to the HR. They had to retract their statement and restore the privileges for temps. People saw SM in a new light. He continued to be the same quiet person. But the people around him and their behaviour was different. He was accepted as one of the gang.
You will be judged. Not due to your ill-deeds. But because it is easier to judge than to look past the obvious and see the person within. You will be treated unfairly. Not because you deserve it. But because you may not conform to others’ idea of normal. You may have to face criticism. Not on the basis of facts, but on the basis of popular opinion. All will be okay in due course. But you may have a long and arduous journey in the meantime.
Life is not easy. It is seldom fair. That’s the hardest truth about it. But… this is what makes it beautiful.