Many times, the way we look at situations could be how we see it; the reality maybe quite different or perhaps the same as we see it. In situations where our perspective does not harm anyone and remains just for our own way of looking at it, it is ok to see the way we see it, I guess!! This is how it was when I saw a few people performing in their professions in the ‘Tri’land – how did people here view these people or the professions they were in, I don’t know.. But to me, every one of them merited a dignity for what they were doing..

Be it in Ireland or England or Scotland, the way people go about in their profession was a different sight for me.. I may not have seen it all, but what I saw made me think. Here’s sharing what struck a chord in me..

The first one – Many restaurants and stores big or small that we went to, had more or equal number of women working there as men; and the women were of different ages, from the twenties to the sixties. This kind of took me by surprise because though I have seen many women at work in the places I have been to in India, the numbers in the ‘Tri’land was far more. As always, many questions occured to me..

  • Why are there so many women at work in stores and restaurants?
  • Are these people at work because they want to or they have to?
  • There is so much of informality around in restaurants – a shout of a ‘hi’ to a customer walking in, a hug or a back slap to someone walking in – is it a friend or a frequent customer?
  • In that hug or back slap or the ‘hi’ between the customer (if it was so) and the person working in the restaurant (and both parties could be from different genders), there wasn’t a sign of “you are working here” and “I am a customer” or the aspect of “You are a man” and “I am a woman” or vice versa.. Is it a part of their culture? At any workplace that I have seen in India, it is not a sight that I have often seen of a man and a woman giving a hug to each other. This most certainly could be due to our culture.. The informal hug that I saw there though had a pleasing look that brought a smile on my face.. It gave that sense of ‘jolliness’. I believe that every culture comes with its own uniqueness though I could not but think, “Should we always be serious in what we do? Can’t we be serious in our work but have that approach of fun?”
  • Restaurants are open till perhaps 9 or 10 in the night and the pubs even later than that. How safe is it for the women to travel alone from their workplace to back home? If they have their young children back home, who takes care of them?
  • These countries may have also gone thru their own struggles to make women empowerment happen. How did they make this happen?

The second one – Closer to the Edinburgh Castle, one of the famous sight seeing places at Scotland, there were these people who were performing in their own ways.. Men playing the famous Scottish pipes, which made me thing of the story – The Pied Piper of Hamelin… a few people dressed in a costume that set them apart and yet they became what they attired.. And each of their office was the road and the money that was their earning was from people who felt that they needed to pay them then. If they walked past without paying, chances are that that earning is lost.. Their earning depended not on their performance but on the frame of mind of the passersby.. The thought of Bhagavad Gita flashed ‘You have the power over our actions but you have no control over the results of your actions’..

ere is a brief of these people, along with their pictures..

This gentleman in his Scottish Kilt and his pipes caught my eye.. There is always something fascinating for me to see a Scottish Kilt and one that I would love to try out someday :-).. This gentleman appeared as though he was in his sixties and while the music he played was pleasing to the ears, it seemed as though every time he played, he was putting in his immense effort or perhaps his shaking jowls gave me this feeling.. After a few minutes, it was difficult for me to stand there because it was tough to see that strain that was there in his face. All this for those few cents and pounds??

This man was enthusiasm personified.. Though he did explain his attire, I am not able to recall now. I was fascinated at his make up and his dress and more than all that, the way he drew people to him. With every person who wanted to take a picture with him, he would make them laugh and he would give a message to them.. I don’t know how many people who were waiting after me would have mentally cursed me, because I struck a conversation with him which went on for a few minutes. He said that performs in theatre plays and in schools; in the latter, he says he enjoys himself and he also ensures that he gives children a message that they would perhaps learn to live by.. He was particular that though he gets opportunities to perform and address corporate events, he would pick schools any day over corporate events. Being here near the Edinburgh castle is what he does in his free time.. This was certainly a few moments of rip roaring laughter..

This lady caught my eye when she was much further away from the spot she was walking toward.. What caught my eye was the way she had dressed.. There was something Grecian about her, not sure why I felt so.. I was just wondering how long she would have taken to dress up in this attire, which to me looked cumbersome enough.. There was a seriousness about her and many walking past her took photographs of her, but never approached her to take a photograph with her.. This was a complete contradiction to how it was with the man in the earlier photograph. I guess the way they were perceived by the people made this contradiction.. Her only statement to everyone who took her photograph was “If you want to take a photograph of me, please also drop a coin in the box.”.. Many people just took a photograph of her but did not drop any coin. I stopped by her to speak to her. When I asked her how long it takes for her to do her make up, she said that she takes a short time as she knows what she needs to do.. She also said that she changes ‘what’ or ‘who’ she wants to look like, and dresses accordingly.. Well, to dress like this certainly needs patience!!

This man’s one hour laughter drawing street play drew quite a good crowd and much of this crowd stayed on for the entire duration. Alert he was, to who was coming in to watch him and moving away as well while getting on with his act. His double entendres though was a little tough to digest at times.. He had the crowd rapt with attention.. What was captivating was what he said when his play ended. He emphasised on the value of his play and how much he would earn per ticket if he was to perform in a theatre. It sounded as though said with audocity but there was so much of a feel in his voice when he said that while he thinks people watching him on the street could pay him as much as they would in a theatre, he did not want them to drop a small change and thereby insult his value.. His “Even if you don’t want to drop the small change in which case you would have watched this for free, but don’t leave without saying a thank you for making you laugh for whatever time you watched me.” is still ringing in my mind.. What a powerful way to command his earning!!

Watching these people working in restaurants or stores or literally working on the streets, a few questions that stayed

  • What is meant by earning money?
  • Does where we work qualify it as a ‘good way’ to earn money?
  • Does it matter where we work or does it matter where we work?
  • Is there a difference in the way these people are looked at, in the Western countries and in India?
  • Am I talking from how I have seen people looking at the different kinds of professions during my days of growing up? Or have situations have changed now?

Wll, this brings an end to the blog posts on The journey to the ‘Tri’land.. A memorable and much needed journey that culminated with the last leg, to the Scottish Highlands.. This trip to the Scottish Highlands is so difficult to pen down, given that I am unable to snap out from the memmmmmmrrrable, enrichhhhing moments there..

Ciao, until the next blog..