Tuesday, August 02, 2011

No Name Face

He didn’t even have to look today evening. Or maybe I didn’t see him see me. But my glass of tea was ready when I reached the counter. It always is. Because the guys at the counter know that’s what I always order…at least they believe so. So on an odd day when I feel like coffee I don’t bother; I can’t bear to tell them they went wrong with their assumption or took me for granted. I quietly pick up my glass and pay. Sometimes they make conversation…small talk really. Have I had lunch, it’s raining very badly, they finished lunch long back, have I finished work. They seem to mean it. What else can we, with half a minute on our hands and with a constant stream of parched employees flocking the counter for their preferred beverage, talk about? Lots if you ask me but we just keep it this way. I don’t even know their names and they don’t know mine. We are no name faces.

There are the security guards. They seem to change every day and a new guard seems to check my bag as I wait to enter the facility. But they catch me unaware sometimes with questions like why am I so late today? I mumble something and move on, mostly pleasantly surprised that they seem to care enough to remember who comes in when in a building with 10 floors and more than 2000 employees. 

The guys at the snack counter always, always remember that I need my salads/chats without onion in them. Or that 90% of the time I eat Chopsuey Salad. The lady clearing the salt and pepper shakers off the lunch table during the late lunch hour smiles as she picks them off my table and watches me eat with my book for company. 

There are so many such faces – the lady at the grocery store, the guy who runs the bakery (and asks before I utter anything – ‘Maggi?’), the breakfast counter folks at college (who have, in 4 weeks, already started to ask me if I don’t need Frooti that one odd time when I don’t buy it and also know that tea goes with both my breakfast and lunch orders), the guy at Snoways laundry in JP Nagar (who knows we almost always pick up our orders late and even lets us enter the store to look for clothes we gave in a few weeks earlier).

No name faces. They populate that space in our lives that is truly no man’s land. No names to call anyone by. No relations. But they know something about us that the closest of our folks miss sometimes. Even if it’s just a habit. They seem to care when they are least required to. What does one call that space and residents of those spaces in our memories? It is an understatement to say that they don’t matter to us. Recall that time when the laundry guy or the guy at your neighbourhood store changed and you were left looking around even if for a few seconds for that familiar face. What does one call those people, those relations that make a difference in inexplicable ways?

Lifehouse did me a service by calling their album No Name Face. Because that’s the only term that fits. Unpolluted by a term to call each other, I will always remember these folks by their smiling faces, for what they did and how they showed their care in small ways down this difficult road called existence.

Dedicated to them all, Somewhere In Between by Lifehouse from…No Name Face.

Somewhere In Between by Lifehouse on Grooveshark

16 Thinkers Pondered:

Nirupama said...

My thoughts exact! It feels so great when strangers care for you, in their small ways :) It's an unmatchable feeling! Very well written D!

Divya Kamath Hundi said...

Very well written! I have a lot of no name friends too.. Loved this post

-Divya

Shilpa said...

Jaise bina matlab ka pyaara rista ho koi

Yeh to asha ki lehra hai
Yeh to umeed ki seher hai
Khushiyon ki nehar hai
Kho na jaye yeh
Taare Zameen par

Well written...Made me feel good!

Shilpa said...

Jaise bina matlab ka pyaara rista ho koi

Yeh to asha ki lehra hai
Yeh to umeed ki seher hai
Khushiyon ki nehar hai
Kho na jaye yeh
Taare Zameen par

Very well written...Made me feel good!!!

thegalnxtdoor said...

Strange! I have been thinking about this very thing for the past week or so, and even wanted to do a post. You have penned it all down so beautifully. Lovely and touching post! :)

Vandana said...

It really touches your heart when the no names care for you... I am sure, the fact that we care and respond to them touches them too... Lovely post Anu... as always!

Sathej said...

Beautiful ! A very touching eye for detail, could connect so much with it - be it trifles (ah that word reminds me of Holmes!) such as salad without onion (don't know if that is an element of fiction woven in or is from non-fictitious sources. Given the personal touch pervading through the entire post, am inclined to think its the latter!) that is so my preference as well, or the no-name laundry person, security person at the gates of my erstwhile college et al..

Beautifully penned down..

Sathej

Bradz Blog said...

Sublime if I can say so...one of the best posts...and kudos to dedicate the post to them....its an honour that most of the times they are deprived of and courtesy is shown by few thinkers yet....I hope more population becomes empathetic to these No Name faces...thanks for giving me such a wonderful read

Raksha Bhat said...

I tipped this for SSP yesterday and I knew this would make it.Here is the link Anupama:)This one like always touched!:)...http://amomentarygainofreason.blogspot.com/2011/08/no-name-face.html

Ira said...

Well written! Can relate to it. Love it when a stranger shows care :)

ravindra rajput said...

Awesome post....
There are so many such smiling friends who know us so well....the guards.the chaiwala,the subjiwala et al...

very well written...

Rachit Aggarwal said...

Nice thought. While reading your post, i remember dozens of similar incidents when the person on the other side of the table remember us, a bit embarrassing too sometimes when we are not able to recall them.

Ms.Nobody said...

Amidst those nameless friends, who sends us a warmth of air through their words, through their smile, I wonder why , at times, we still feel so lonely ..

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Anonymous said...

Words are not enough to appreciate it

Venkat said...

Every blog I read from your collection is pushing me to reboot my own blogging...

Well crafted words around a concept that is very unique and just simple.

Will be keeping my ears to this ground for sometime, to hear more of the rumbling of your words.