Being in the human resources division, Medha was the face of the company she was with. She loved her role. Every now and then she gets to interact with new people, different personalities, different work profiles. Medha was someone who was never in a rush to judge people. She took her own sweet time to know and understand people. She rarely shared her views about other human beings with others. The reason being, she was too busy in her world of professional and family chores, and she knew if she judged everyone, there will be no one under the sun whom she will be able to talk to.
Today, there were 10 new joiners in the company. She went ahead to conduct induction. There she came across a lady who had joined the company in a senior designation. She had short hair, pixie cut. In terms of make-up, she wore a light lipstick, however she had a thick layer of kohl on her upper eye lids. Just when Medha came, the lady excused herself to go to the washroom. The lady walked with a different gait. Her footwear was immensely stylish with heels. When she walked, she walked as if she was walking down the ramp. The people around her stared at her when she walked. Medha went back to her work. She inducted the new joiners into the new roles they have joined. Just then the lady came in. She smiled at Medha and went to her seat. She spoke with no one. If she had any queries she asked Medha and that’s about it.
It has been a month since the lady had joined and everyone in the office knew her. Every time she walked into the cafeteria, Medha would see some folks giggling and say, “Oh, our snob lady is here. Look at her hair style. Such short hair style does not suit her personality. Look at her eye make-up. Who puts that amount of kohl in a corporate? And to add to that, her gait? Oh my my! Ramp walk it is.”
Today, when Medha came for lunch in the cafeteria, the lady saw Medha sitting alone. She came near Medha and said, “Can I join you?”. Medha smiled warmly and said, “Sure!’ Just when she sat near Medha, some girls walked past them and casually while talking to each other, they said, “Oh Lady, You are a snob!” That lady smiled and looked at her food. Medha was embarrassed. She could not have questioned those girls because there was no evidence that those words were for the lady sitting beside her.
Medha tried changing the topic. She warmly said, “I love your hairstyle. Where do you get your hair done?” The lady smiled and said, “Thanks. However, I don’t like this hair style. I miss my long silky hair. My dad left for his heavenly abode 3 months ago, followed by my mom, 2 months ago. My elder sister died in child birth, 4 months ago. I shaved off my hair during my mom’s last rites. It’s taking time for my hair to grow back and hence this short hair style.” Medha felt a lump on her throat. The lady smiled and said, “You might want to taste this fried rice. I made it”.
Medha said, “Sure!” While eating Medha said, “How do you manage to keep your eye make-up prim and proper throughout the day.’ The lady smiled again and said, “I have to. Otherwise the black bruises on my eye lids will be visible”. “Bruises?” asked Medha. The lady replied, “Well, I was a victim of domestic abuse. I was hit by my husband because of my deformities”. Medha could not say anymore. To continue the conversation, she continued, “You have a beautiful collection of footwear”. The lady looked at her footwear and said, “Umm, I don’t have a collection as such. They are made to order. I have just two pairs. I can’t buy shoes from shoe stores”. Medha asked surprised, “Why so?” The lady replied, “Well, both my legs and feet and not even. My left leg is shorter than the right one and one of my thumb toes is twisted. So, when I walk, I limp. To avoid that, I got my footwear made when I landed up with a job. Hence when I walk, it seems I walk deliberately in that catwalk gait”.
Medha looked at her. The lady said everything nonchalantly. She did not want anyone’s sympathy. Hence, she barely spoke with anyone. Medha was the first human with whom she shared her lunch in her professional world in all these years. The term ‘Oh Lady! You are a snob!’ did not make any difference to her.