Labor Day (A Forgotten Phenomenon)

His body was shivering. He could hardly breathe. About 57 years old but looking ten years above his age, he was shirtless. This was not his craze but fate. The first thing he would do after reaching the workplace is taking off his shirt to keep that apparently clean. The fact was that it was his only possession in the name of “shirt”.

The forced “sunbath” tanned his medium brown skin to dark brown. There were around 20-25 men of the same appearance with slight differences in height, color, and looks. They had one thing in common, but the endless pouring of poverty upon them. Many of you must be thinking that I am sketching a stunt man for a very high budget movie. His whereabouts match to the hero who would enter the frame out of nowhere and rescue his childhood friend or an innocent blond (compelled to be his future beloved).

The scene reaches the climax when he gets short of breathing and his eyes went red with the fire of revenge – the last punch, villain falls of the building, and happiness prevails after that. He wanted to throw away the stuff in his hands with the same feel and strength to get rid of the burden he had, that happens to be his life!. Wait, I won’t be paid for this heroic action ‘a thought crossed his mind’. He suddenly that he was not the movie stuff but the a crunched human being.  

Before he could catch the breath and put the brick filled trolly on the ground, a voice pierced his ears. You bloody lazy, hurry up or I will charge penalty for late. Yeah! I am almost there. He replied abruptly as a flashback of a very terrifying recent event gave him goosebumps. A few days ago he was punished when a pile of tiles fell from his hand leaving 2 broken. It took a major chunk of his whole day’s earning.

They all had the only happy hour of the day to cherish at the break as they never felt peace at home the way we all do. Being normal is a bit different phenomenon for them. That day I heard them comparing the number of meals they had in a day, one of them shouted after winning the buzz quiz. He had an extra cookie following day.

Are we all not trained to compare and envy each other for the social status and top brands? Two different canvas a mile away in the same city. The one who afforded the building and the one who build it up. Both are two different breeds sharing the one thing common, life perhaps. I wonder sometimes that how one can’t be happy when he ultimately enters the home and falls in bed, sleeping like a baby at his sleep time.

My concern got answered the day I followed him home. It was a slum and he had a camp in the name of a house where 3 kids were waiting for food impatiently. He called his wife outside the tent, whispered something in his ear, and walked away. The last voice I heard from the back was of a child asking “Are we supposed to sleep and wait for dad to come back in the morning with food”. The tyranny is that kids have grown up to understand the misery that their father’s earning is not enough to cover their basic needs.   

My hear shattered into million pieces and every piece named trillion labors who made any building  that I ever stepped in.

I stand worried.What future holds for them?

Urza Omar
  • Urza Omar
  • The writer has a proven track as a mentor, motivational trainer, blogger, and social activist. She is the founder of a blog intended for avid readers.