Posted by: cochinblogger | October 18, 2010

Just Who Is a Worker?

This is the puja season, and the city of Calcutta would be decked out in all its finery. Schools would have closed for three weeks. Pandals housing gleaming idols would have sprouted all over the city, and crowds would be comparing the artistry on display. I have fond memories of the hustle and bustle, the bright lights, and the film music playing from the pandals during the puja season. Kerala, in comparison, has nothing much to offer, though the proper comparison, I suppose, is with Onam.

Here is an amusing Calcutta-based puja anecdote from my father. The institution my father worked for in Calcutta used to host a sumptuous feast for the workers on the occasion of Vishwakarma Puja. Vishwakarman is the presiding deity of craftsmen (and more loosely, workers). This was an annual feature.

A few years down the line, typists said that since they worked on typewriters, which were machines, they too were entitled to partake of the feast. The director reluctantly gave his consent.

A few more years elapsed thus, until one day clerks demanded that they too should be included in the feast, as pens too were machines.

At this, the director threw up his hands and from then on, all staff, from A to Z, were invited to the feast.

What does this illustrate? The thin edge of the wedge? The democratization of work?

Your guess is as good as mine. 🙂


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