It was may first the International Workers Day, Shyam was supposed to be celebrating this modern day spring festival and forget about his wages and rights. But it was a mad mayday where things were going out of control, a war was being waged and every worker was supposed to work. The production rate of ammunition was to be matched with consumption of bullets by the military. Shyam had no idea why the war was even waged, all he remembered was some years ago there were protests to “get back the land” from a neighboring country. Now that protest had an impact but he did not know that a war would be involved and many people would lose their lives. It was playing out on the television. There was an exuberance displayed and an unhealthy amount of jingoism spewed. The armchair historians were debating the past events and intellectuals making excuses for the necessity of wars. Politicians giving raving justifications and displaying hate for the other, meanwhile shyam was thinking about his girlfriend, she wanted him to go with her on a vacation. The thing was Shyam neither had the budget or time for a vacation; he was juggling his life in between family, girlfriend and finances. Also other problems included his neighbor and his always aching back. These combinations always kept Shyam busy. He knew this was May 1st but his life was always a mayday so he didn’t bother to look up the meaning of the holiday which was canceled. He also did not bother to go to the doctor who had been prescribing him the same painkillers for his back which had not healed in 3 years. He hated that he had to do grocery shopping because all his grains, cereals and pulses were infested with some sort of pests. His girlfriend also demanded that he be there for her friend’s birthday whom he didn’t like that much.
So as he was working on the assembly line taking empty casings and shells to be made into fuel for weapons he was distracted. His productivity decreased and errors increased also his supervisor who was nice man was now starting to get impatient with him. Shyam felt the world was closing on him and the day would be miserable still. Yet life has its surprises and soon shyam would get one a positive in a world of negatives. The war was not over the girlfriend did not change her plans for him, the groceries did not magically appear on his door steps. But something mundane yet powerful happened the workers union had organized a small 15 minute event at the end of the workday. Every worker was given a gift by the union leader and he himself gifted a book to shyam, but while doing so the leader also awarded shyam the best worker of the year award. Others started cheering for him and a big cake was brought in and the union leader said “the best worker is not the most productive nor is he more political but he is the most consistent of us all, in this hour when the country is going through war Shyam here had cancelled his vacation and worked today, not because he supports or rejects the war but he respects his duty as a worker”. And he continued to take other names and then looked towards Shyam and said “a simple worker is the most important worker in the eyes of the union and so we congratulate you Shyam”. A small memento was presented to him, a shiny hammer holding statue with his name engraved. Shyam asked for the leader’s mic to say a few words and said “thank you all friends and colleagues, I did not expect such a wonderful surprise but I sure am happy that in these grim times us ordinary workers are appreciated by the union.”
And the mad mayday was over; hope is powerful, it is the ammunition to run our world. As long as the gears grind and production is in full force, everybody is fed and happy. The world is run by not the people who make policy but the people who run the machine and have elbow grease. Thiers holidays are precious and mean something to them. Maybe machines will be deployed to make things someday but for now the workers run the world. Hopefully the people who are in charge can make all Mayday’s worthwhile for the workers. Shyam will always remain hopeful for tomorrow and his vacation will be a sweet celebration and an artistic experience not an exercise in banality.
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Hello! I am Ruchir Prajapati. I write stuff and philosophise.