The Indian Shopkeeper
July 10, 2005 3 Comments
This morning, I went to my local corner store here in London which is run by a family of Indian immigrants. Since it closes at 2pm every Sunday, I asked whether it was because of some government regulation. ‘No’, came the answer,’ I work everyday of the week and take Sunday afternoons off to relax’. He has been following the same routine for the past 15 years he added. Other than being awed at the level of commitment and persistence this implied, I was struck by the fact that most of the shop’s clients live in a large council estate nearby. I asked what he thought of working so hard to serve people who in the main do not work and are taken care of by the state. His answer was very brief and all the more profound because of it: ‘People here have been destroyed, there are druggies in here all the time shouting and abusing me. But we just ignore them, agree with them and continue working’. That is the difference between people owning themselves and building their lives on that understanding and those who are owned by the state.