And No, I’m not being priggish and this is not a funny post either yet I may towards the end appear as if I’m not willing to let go of the social divide.
Anyways, this is how we found out.
After a month of being fraught with a new job and consequences of a runaway domestic help, I finally found 18 year old Hanif, who could drive and help around the house as well. His first impression came across as that of an honest and decent guy, thus got hired right away.
The evening he joined work, while making dinner I realized we were out of mayo; So I called out to Hanif and asked him to run & fetch a bottle from a nearby grocery store.
Used to explaining things or writing a chit in urdu for both the servant and shopkeepers benefit, I showed him an old empty bottle of a regular mayo brand. “eik choti botal maa-yo-neeese ki le ao.”
“Ma’am, Mayo? French’s ka le aoon?”
Both I and F, standing in the kitchen at that moment were stunned and delighted at his caliber. We could teach him in our free time and hopefully increase his prospects for a better job.
Later that evening, F asked Hanif about any schooling he got back at his village,
Hanif: “No sir, mai kabhi school nahi gaya, phir bhi thori bohat English parh leta hoon.”
“No sir, I have never been to a school though I can read and write some English”
F: “English seekhi kaise agar school nahi gaye? Kisi ne parhaya?
“Then how did you learn it? Did someone teach you?
Hanif: “Maine jo bhi seekha hai, mobile internet se seekha hai. Mere paas Z ki sim hai aur unka GPRS bohat sasta hai, us pe dekh dekh ke kafi kuch seekh liya. Meri Facebook ID bhi hai aur thori bohat chatting bhi karleta hoon”
“I learnt it off mobile internet. I have a Z sim which has a very inexpensive GPRS package so I tried browsing and that helped me to pick up quite a few things. Now I have a FB ID and can chat as well”
Hanif left a stunned couple sitting back in their lounge and went into his quarters for the night.
However, where there is immense admiration & respect for a guy’s initiative and dedication, and his method albeit unusual. There is also a nagging corner which wonders if this is a safe bet?
I thought of multiple SMS and WAP based programs that can be developed to help people like Hanif in mLearning starting with basic reading and writing assistance. But on the other hand, are we ready to accept people from that specific social culture on the same platforms as ourselves?
It troubles me to think that the dedicated crank callers and dirty talkers thriving on literally free call packages could soon be dedicated online stalkers with the peanut priced GPRS packages.
Go ahead, label this as social discrimination; but really would you accept them?