“How soon can I expect to receive more daal?” One of the hostel wards yelled at the mess boy, “You don’t even know who I am; you will lose your job if you tell this to your supervisor.”
As soon as he finished shouting, another person started from the other corner, “I am sitting here for the last 15 minutes and nobody has even looked at me; what kind of service is this?” “Not sure why we are paying so much money for dining charges.”
Abuse from all corners of the room for the mess boys, who are responsible for serving food to all the wards. Their job is to get a clean serving tray, which has separate sections for rice, dal, curries, roti, and pickles, fill each section with different items prepared that day, and then serve the plate. They try their best to do it on a first-come, first-served basis. So that the person who comes first gets the food first. But the size of the vocal cords, muscles, body weight, and father’s influence used to disturb the first-come, first-serve rule. But they still used to try their best without bothering much about the abuse.
A man from a small town who was skinny, unattractive, and dressed in an uncool manner entered this dining hall on his first day. He stood there to find a place for himself and to understand the situation there. He was astounded by the conduct and demeanor that people were exhibiting in order to finish a plate of dinner on time. He found a corner where nobody was sitting. Nobody ever chose that place because you are not visible from there. He went and sat there, as there was no other vacant place. His roommate said, “Don’t go there; otherwise, you will get that food at the end. At that time, the quality of food that would be left would not be edible”. He suggested standing and waiting in any high-traffic area where your voice can reach the mess boys and you will be visible as well.
This guy observed the situation carefully and thought for some time, then said to his roommate, “let me try my luck”. He went and sat in that corner. The last time he had food was when he left home for the hostel. His mother ensure he finished as much food as possible. That was 12 Noon. It was 8:00 p.m. when he sat there, and it was 10:30 p.m. when he got his dinner plate. As usual, there was no good food left in the kitchen to serve him. He ate whatever was served quietly, and when done, he found the only other people sitting in that mess were the mess boys. He smiled at them and left the mess. When he reached his room, his roommate was sleeping peacefully. He was still hungry. Leaving the comforts of home did not let him sleep easily and he started recalling how his mother used to force him to eat every morsel and remind him that in the hostel nobody will care about him and he must prepare himself for that.
He asked, what preparation can he do. His mother said, “Mentally be prepared to give yourself time to win people through wit, kindness, and patience. Physically by having proper food now”. He recalled the motive to win people through wit, kindness and patience.
He kept doing the same thing. At 8:00 p.m., he will enter the dining hall, find a seat, and be quiet. He occasionally received food by 9:00 PM, but more often than not, he received his plate after 10:30 PM, when the dining hall was deserted. Even his name was scrawled by some in that area of the dining room. He only responded with a smile. After almost a month, the mess boys have begun to take notice of him. They discovered one of the rude individuals who used to smile at them and never shouted once. Nearly a month later, one of the mess boys went inside the kitchen to get an omelet for him, that was not on the menu. Looking at the out-of-menu item with surprise in his eyes, he turned to the mess boy, who responded, “Eat, sir! I made it ready for you. That curry is completely empty.” He smiled broadly, acknowledged her, and expressed his gratitude and mother. He began receiving his plate progressively earlier and occasionally with extra items as the days went by. The same extras for which others had to prove their strength in terms of their physic, finances, or social standing. Almost two months later, his plate would be prepared at 8:00 p.m. and would be served to him immediately upon entering the dining hall. Many influential people voiced their opposition to this, but the mess boys showed no interest. Every day, they used to serve him extra food. This persisted for the following four years, or his entire stay at the hostel. He hardly ever spoke to any of them, which was surprising. These boys used to bring his plate to his room when he was late or when he was ill and unable to attend the dining hall. Never did they anticipate getting paid for this service.
During the four years, the people with different powers kept showing off how strong they were, but they didn’t really get anywhere.
So ultimately, he got special treatment from an unknown bunch of people only through his consistent and patient effort. We often confuse power with money, social status, designation, physical buildup, etc. Being different is the first characteristic of a powerful person. Then remaining different is the ultimate characteristic of a powerful person. Like a bad person among a bunch of good people, a good person among a bunch of bad people can become powerful. Above all, it is important to be consistent.
6 thoughts on “Invisible Corner”
Sakti, another great story that kept me enrapt with its details. I could imagine the mess boys slogging away setting up the food trays as the impatient bullies tried to push ahead. What a wonderful message that’s certainly universal!
How could I miss this? Lovely!
Thank you Nisarg 🙂
Excellent… as Bapu said, Vinamrata se kaam lene ka… 🙂