Are you being served..!

ONCE I had been invited by an organisation to deliver the keynote address for a writer’s workshop. I drove my car up a hill to a sort of monastery where the organisers had hired a hall to conduct their four day session, as I parked my car I saw the watchman waving frantically and advancing threateningly to me. “Don’t park there!” he shouted. “It is reserved for priests, you cannot park there!!”
Two days ago a commuter who wanted to renew his train pass stood in a queue, when he had just about reached the window, another man came from the left and advanced to the counter. “It’s my turn,” shouted the first man. “I don’t have to stand in line,” said the second, “I am buying a first class pass.”
According to newspaper reports, there was a scuffle, and the first man who had protested as beaten up badly by the police. Poor man, he did not know that the man who spent more money on travel had a head start to getting his pass faster..!India became a republic in January 1950.
After a few months communal fighting broke out in Delhi. Many were killed, many were made refugees and many more were made shelterless. Jawaharlal Nehru turned half his bungalow into a refugee camp. Food materials were supplied to the people through ration shops.
There were long queues in front of such shops. One day Nehru was found standing in line in front of a shop for wheat and sugar. Noticing him, shopkeeper said, “Sir you need not stand in queue.” Said Nehru, “I do not need any special treatment. I find nothing wrong in standing in line as any of my countrymen!” Nehru kept his queue till his turn came.
In the movie, ‘The Passion of The Christ,” Mel Brookes has interspersed the horror of the crucifixion with beautiful tender loving scenes, one that stands out is when Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. He pulls off his robe, wraps a towel around him, pours water into a basin and begins to wash their feet and to wipe them with the towel he has around himself.
Imagine washing anyone’s feet! I’m sure you and I would shudder at such thought. The disciples do. “You can’t wash our feet,” they shout. “You are the Messiah. You are God!” And as I visualise this wonder and moving scene, my mind goes to reserved parking places and special queues. I also see the mind of our first prime minister and what his views were on service to the people.
How strange that we all work for positions of service telling people we aspire to serve, but when we arrive, service is thrown out of the window. The very people we are supposed to look after are made to serve us, bow down and kiss the ground as we pass by.
My prayer as I end this piece is that you who serve, may be as managing director, manager or president of your club, mother or husband will stand in line with those you serve and be ready if the occasion so warrants to stoop down and wash feet..!
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