Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | October 27, 2008

Kit

Kit is now around 60-65 years old. He used to be a school principal and science teacher when a major illness made him pre-maturely retire from his work. Once he recovered  he decided he needed to do something which will keep him occupied, provide him confidence that he is not ill any more and teach him something new. Thus, he chose to be a building manager along with his wife.

As a building manager Kit and his wife are responsible for every apartment in the 18 level building with 8 apartments in each level. They stay in the building itself and a large part of their own apartment is their office. Responsibility means they are the bridge between the tenants and the owners and thus they are the ones who welcome the tenants into the building, facilitate the transactions, help the tenants understand the norms and the Government regulations of such transactions, give them receipts – virtually every aspect of the deal with so much perfection and thus the tenant never gets to see the apartment owner. Kit ensures that he is personally present to welcome any guest that the building may be expecting at whatever time it may be.

Every morning Kit gets up early and with a huge hose washes the street in front of the building. He washes considerably large portion around the building – even parts which he may have left unattended. He and his wife through out the day use vacuum cleaner to clean the floors, lifts and common areas. In between they always provide patient hearing and solutions to any problem that the residents may be facing. Any problem that one may face inside the apartment be it the operation of dishwasher or a need for a spanner, Kit has a solution. I remember once, our washbasin stopper got stuck and Kit when informed came with a huge toolbox – so big that I have never seen such a box ever in my life.

Whenever I meet Kit, he always smiles even when he is working on something. He can discuss on anything under the sun from politics, cricket and of course one must not forget science.

I remarked at him once, ‘Kit, you look tired’. He said, ‘It is an understatement. I have been so busy and active.’

Kit has time to fullfill many family obligations too, watch films, have a beer at a nearby pub, play with his grandchildren when they visit him, talk proudly about his son’s career. Most importantly Kit always smiles and greets.

No, this is not an advertisement for any social security scheme. This is a thanksgiving to Kit, whose warmth has made my life here a bit beautiful. He does not do anything which is beyond his usual job but it is his spirit, hardworking nature and service with smile which makes me feel good.

It is so funny that in Delhi, all my landlords treated me as if I should feel privileged to have been granted an option to stay in their place by paying nearly INR 17,000 or so every month.

I wish Kit well always. I wish more and more people back home who cannot fathom a life beyond retirement from their usual job learn a lesson from people like Kit.

With his small actions of washing the street, calling up the city council to mend the pothole in one of the streets (which is not where our building is), moving the waste-bins in the side while walking thus ensuring that they don’t block anyone’s walking way, he has taught me that you can be contributing to yourself as well as to the society by not making any noise about it. Also, there is always so much to do, only if you want to.

I am thankful to him and I do believe he still has so many things to teach.

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Responses

  1. Tanmoy,

    Its a nicely written anecdote on Kit. I remember you spoke to me about your building manager once in the recent past. But I think it would be very difficult to compare your Delhi landlord with Kit…These two are different human beings with extremely different cultural upbringing. I personally think being treated politely when you are outside India is a culture shock for us with the greates impact:) Anyways, keep writing….


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