My guest and I looked up to find that the Captain had summoned Max, the waiter who had served us. We continued our meal.
After we finished the main course, Max came to take our orders for dessert. I asked Max why the Captain had addressed him as China. “All the people here call me China because I’m from Manipur,” he replied.
“Don’t they know Manipur is in India?” I asked. “They know, but they still call me China,” he replied sadly.
“Why don’t you complain to the Manager?” I asked. “I don’t want to lose my job. Some months back, another waiter had complained about this. The Manager told him that it’s his personal matter. But the others got to know that he had complained about them. They harassed him so badly that he had to leave his job. That’s why I’m not complaining to the Manager.
“This job is very convenient for me. I study in the Catering College. I work here from 7 pm to midnight on week days and from 10 am to midnight on weekends and holidays. The salary pays for my room rent, food and all other expenses. I want to reduce the financial burden on my parents, so I tolerate their insult even though I feel very bad about it.”
To cheer him up, I asked, “Isn’t Mary Kom also from Manipur?” His face brightened. “Yes, she’s from Manipur. When she won her Bronze Medal in the Olympics, all these guys cheered and clapped for her. For them, she is Indian, but I’m a foreigner!”
Under normal circumstances, I would have complained about such a matter, but I decided not to. I felt miserable about it, but that’s how Max wanted it.
As we were leaving, the Captain was deferentially leading a group of foreigners to their table!
Atithi Devo Bhavah! A guest, foreign or Indian, is treated as God. Why do we make some of our own compatriots feel unwanted in their own country?
Can we not make every Indian feel that he/she is an equal citizen of our country? Yes We Can!