At the strike of 5:00 am Mohan would wake up every single day. He would say a quick prayer and only then step down from the cot. Vaijanta, his wife would bring him a hot cup of tea and two milk biscuits. Both of them would discuss the world events over tea and talk about their future. They had three kids – Raman, Ranjan and Radhika. At exactly 6:00 am Mohan would step out for work. Vaijanta would go for work at 7:30 am after making breakfast and lunch for her family. Mohan was a milkman.
Everyday Mohan would go to the Dairy Distribution Centre (DDC) at 6:00 am pick up the milk and go on his distribution round. He would greet everyone with a pleasant smile – some smiled back, some would chat, some would be hassled with morning errands – but one thing all the customers had in common – they all relied on Mohan to get them their milk. For 37 years he had never been late and had never got a delivery wrong. After distributing the milk he would go home to collect his tiffin and then go to the DDC where he would do all the entries of milk distributed, cross check the stock and the tokens. The owner of the DDC was very happy with Mohan as he had never made a mistake in his work. Mohan would work at the DDC till 7:00 pm. In the evening, he would help his kids with their homework and also help Vaijanta with housework. He was a good storyteller and many a times you would find neighboring kids gathering at Mohan’s house for a story session.
Mohan was a simple man. He chose to simply focus on task at hand and that was the reason he was very good at his work. He did his work with utmost sincerity and had an aura of pleasantness around him.
Raman, Mohan’s eldest son had passed his Chartered Accountancy exam and got a job with a MNC. Raman was very happy that day. He brought a box of sweets on his way home. He offered his father (Mohan) sweets and said that “Appa (father) you can now stop working so hard and sit at home. I have got a great high paying job.” Mohan quietly replied” Baba Raman – I don’t work, I simply worship and there is only devotion in worship – no hard work.” Raman did not quite understand what his father meant. Raman was excited with the thoughts of his new job and went to sleep.
A year passed by.
One night Mohan found his son sitting quietly and appeared sad. Mohan asked Raman the reason for his sadness.
Raman said “Appa, I do the same thing at work every day – I sit in front of the computer everyday and simply update data. I am neither using my knowledge nor am I learning anything – I am feeling very frustrated. I can’t do this every single day.”
Mohan smiled and said “Dear Raman – you are confusing knowledge with syllabus. You are not working with the entire Balance sheet and are managing just one loan account. That is syllabus not your knowledge. I am a milkman. I am not using my syllabus of my 10 years of school but I am using the knowledge that I gained in those years”
Raman – I don’t understand
Mohan – In my schooling years I understood that by smiling one appears more pleasant. By being on time and paying attention to details, one does well. By helping others one makes more friends than enemies. By working in a team, problems are solved in a lesser time. By conversing with others you get an opportunity to understand how the other person approaches a similar problem. Your consistency as a student gets rewarded at the end of the year and not instantly. I went to school every day at the same time, with the same friends to the same school building and to listen to the same teacher and study the same subjects. The syllabus changed but more importantly knowledge grew! At my work, the work does not change but everyday gives me an opportunity to apply my existing knowledge to do my work better and every experience adds to my knowledge base – it is indeed satisfying!”
Something changed Raman after this conversation – he started enjoying his mundane work. He no longer only focused on what work he was doing but also on how each day’s experience made him wiser and better at his work. At times it was apparent and at times he had to silence the mind to feel the experience!