Being the Best Sweeper in The World!

I remember, when I was a kid, we had a lady who used to come to our house to collect the garbage. Her name was Jasodha ben, and she used to be an excellent sweeper. One day, while talking something to Appa, I wondered what he would have to say if I said I wanted to be a sweeper.

Appa replied, of course you can be a sweeper, only remember that you should give sweeping your best, so that people don’t find faults with your sweeping.

AT that point of time, I learnt a lesson (which I realised only later, I was elated and had all plans to be a broom girl! and hey at that time Harry Potter was not even conceived in JKR’s mind) that there is nothing called bad work or good work. A job is a job. Whether you are a sweeper or a CEO, it doesn’t matter. What matters is how well you do your job.

I have a colleague whose father is a watchman. This guy has really come up in life you know. He stays in a slum in Mumbai but works for an MNC. Initially when he had joined in he was not very comfortable revealing his background, but when he realised that I was really impressed (and I genuinely was!) he told me the whole truth (Before that it was only feelers he gave!) . I mean, here is a guy whose father is a watchman and mother is a homemaker, and yet he has come up in life. Now I have noticed he tells people very proudly about his background. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters HOW you do it!I think it’s very important to teach our children about dignity of labour. There is absolutely nothing wrong in being a sweeper or a cook, as long as you do it with the right intention. We need to teach our children that there is no big job or small job, all jobs are equal and everyone who performs them are equally important.

One way to inculcate this in children is to talk with the same level of politeness to everyone. Whether it is house help or the person who drives your car, when you are polite, you automatically give them respect and your child learns that each work is important. I have often seen people being rude to their house-helps or the person who collects the garbage, or threaten their child that if you don’t study, you will end up being like that guy who collects the garbage. I don’t think that’s a very right attitude.
In India, what we seriously lack as a society is ‘dignity of labour‘. I have someone who told me that she knows a guy who is a taxi driver in Oz and earns a LOT of money..but when he comes to India he never lets anyone know about it! Why? because people will say that he left a lucrative career in India to go out and then become a taxi driver. What people fail to understand is driving a taxi gives him a lot of satisfaction and money!

My Appa plans to become a bus driver for school children when he grows older (now how much older he wants to become, that I don’t know *rolls eyes*) But that’s his long term plan.Buy a tempo traveller and take children to school and back. He says he will learn a lot then!

The point I am trying to make is, whatever you do, do it happily and try to give it your 100%. That’s what we need to teach our children. I hope the next generation values hard work and appreciates that work is work, no matter what it is!

Cross posted on IMC (


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42 Responses to Being the Best Sweeper in The World!

  1. Beautiful post! 🙂 Love you for writing this!

  2. Jay says:

    You are absolutely right, R’s mom.

  3. Neeli says:

    a great article RM… 🙂 the next generation will only learn when today’s generation inculcate this learning in them… leave the next gen, even today’s gen need to learn this first…

  4. Shweta says:

    Loved eeeettt!! 🙂

  5. Smita says:

    Woh 3 Idiots ka dialogue tha na, “jo karo dilse karo koi kaam chota bada nahin hota” and like you I truly believe in it.

    Lovely post 🙂 and U can say a topic that is quite close to my heart!

  6. simple girl says:

    RM what ever you said I believed in it.. but not anymore. this is because in our country imagine the life you would lead if you were a sweeper? How will you do the job happily when there is a constant stress of your basic needs being not met..Like you said – ‘ This guy has really come up in life you know’ – what is meant by come up in life ? could not he come up in life if he would chose to be a watchman and loved to be one ??Perhaps dignity of labor is not there because labor is super cheap..

    • R's Mom says:

      I dont think you got my point here…to come up in life, I mean, come up financially….

      I am not sure sure that dignity of labour is not there because its cheap labour, I think its more to with our mind set than anything else?

  7. Every word of this post could have been mine. Couldn’t agree more with what you are saying. I hope I am able to bring up our children with the same kind of values.

    Your Appa is super cute re! 🙂

  8. Tharani says:

    I love your appa. He is super cool 🙂

  9. Sri says:


    I remember my Maths teacher in Intermediate used to tell us-Whether you are a Star in the Sky or a tree on the side of a mountain, always aim to be the best!

    Even my colleague’s father used to work as a watchman..but this was in our office itself from 7pm to 7am…he never told anybody but i came to know from another person…it gets a bit awkward if its the same office…

  10. summerscript says:

    This is such a beautiful post. Very nice thought 😀

  11. Seema says:

    I have only one thing to say… RMD is the best. I rest my case 🙂

  12. Smitha says:

    Absolutely beautiful! You had me nodding away. My dad taught us the same, no matter what you do, do it to your best of ability. And as you say, I’ve seen my parents always treat everybody the same, with the same respect. That is so important. Especially today, in India,,when I see people setting such a bad example for their kids by treating their domestic help badly for instance.. Loved, loved this post! And do tell your colleague that there is one more admirer for him.

  13. Excellent post! I fully agree that ‘what we seriously lack as a society is dignity of labour.’

    Bharata Ratna Sir.M. Visvesvaraya had said: “Remember, your work may be only to sweep a railway crossing, but it is your duty to keep it so clean that no other crossing in the world is as clean as yours”.

  14. Aakanksha says:

    you right RM…very well written..!!!

  15. Very true…and that’s quite coincidental..i had just blogged something on this line yesterday….……:):)

  16. uma says:

    Loved the post, RM! I echo your views 🙂

  17. paatiamma says:

    Wonderful Post RM!! I too admire at people who give their hundred percentage to the work at hand.

  18. divya says:

    Lovely post MM. Lesson to parents here 🙂
    When I was younger, I lost a pen and thought a girl sitting next to me in school stole it ( how uncommon was Reynolds pen, really?). When I asked her, poor thing she claimed that pen was hers and I accused her of stealing it because she could not afford because her father was my dad’s driver. Yes that was so awful of me, I still regret it & that’s why I still remember it. That’s when my dad told me how he grew up and all the hardship he had to face and I realized how easy I had it. Years, later the same girl came to my wedding because my dad send an invitation her father, in-spite of me forgetting all about her 10 yrs prior to my wedding. Showed me how being a better person(which my dad is) is more important than what position or job you do. I agree its a lot to do with ” dignity of labor” concept in India. I hope I do better with my daughter.

    • R's Mom says:

      oh loved loved loved the fact that you are magnanimous to admit it here…I doubt whether I would have done that…little things in life but they matter so much…hugs to both you and your dad and your taught me an important lesson in life today!

  19. Amit says:

    We look down upon people who do our household chores and other work for us. We do not realise how difficult things will be if they do not exist.

  20. Ashwathy says:

    I’d say that it is more so to one’s credit if one comes from a humble background and still works hard, get educations and rises to good levels 🙂

  21. pixie says:

    I agree RM!
    Thank you for this post. My dad always says that – “Even if you are asked to sweep, make sure you are the best in the whole wide world!”
    This taught me to put my best foot forward, to give my best always.
    And your colleague is a really inspirational guy! Wow!

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