What is the definition of a slave? I Google it and it says “a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them”. In my head, it wasn’t any different either.
In ancient times, Pharaohs had people do their job for them. In return, they would be given food or shelter – their idea of a currency.
So let’s say they had a Sphinx planned up in their next quarter. To build that up you wouldn’t see a Pharaoh bringing rocks from the bottom. No. He is the apex, the CEO of his company. He doesn’t move. But sits in the most comfortable chair the planet has, with his hands steepled as he overlooks the progress.
Right underneath him stands the Vizier, the Vice President, the next guy you wouldn’t see bringing rocks. He is a Pharaoh-whisperer. Then come the nobles and the priests. The higher level management, the delivery heads and managers, who make sure the job is being performed correctly. It’s hard not to imagine a guy with his hands behind his back as he monitors people from an unsafe distance. He wouldn’t get his hands dirty but he doesn’t mind occasionally stabbing someone in the back when he perceives leniency.
Then come scribes and soldiers who have chosen their jobs very carefully. They didn’t want to be a part of higher level management because that would mean being in direct contact with the Vizier and the Pharaoh, in short, a lot of balls. But they are fine with taking orders. Because what they get is what they deliver to the bottommost strata. You know, maintaining the order of emotions.
The team leads are in direct contact with the bottommost level. They are the merchants who report their produce to the lower level management. Thus keeping them in the loop about what’s being done, whether or not the rocks have been lifted and what are the problems and challenges being faced while execution of the job. They work alongside the slaves thus confusing the lowest level people about their stratum. They are not on anyone’s side. They are two-faced serpents who can twitch on either side, dissing you nevertheless on encountering slightest of pressure from above.
Finally come the slaves, the farmers and the craftsmen who are at the bottommost level of this whole job cycle. The order has been passed that a piece of bread will be given to everybody if they work hard. They work the hardest, despite the weather. Getting their hands dirty in the muck for a job that is not going to give them anything but a piece of bread. They are whipped by the lower and higher level management if they do something wrong, flailed if they fail and replaced with a stronger hand. So even if they are constantly crumbling under immense pressure, they stand up nevertheless with that heavy rock and carry it like it’s the only salvation they know.
They are treated like insects, because hello! Aren’t they at the bottom already? They are the ones who actually do the job. In our world, the one who perseveres is the one who is scorned at by everybody. Are we so blind that we don’t see it? That despite the apparent flaw in this age-old system, we are still following it, eyes closed?
In my six years as an employee in IT, I have felt no different. I am an insect, treated like one. Pushed around holes that I never wanted to enter. I can’t get out because my life depends on it. There is nothing else around that pays the fodder that I can have to go on without hiccups. It is an “honorable” living in the minds of the society.
I am bound by this invisible contract with the company, the pharaoh, that I lose my importance the moment I wish to quit. Even if I did, there would be yet another pharaoh in line waiting to dig his dirty hands in me. I go from one Sphinx to another, but nothing changes. The face on the Sphinx remains the same. The slab that I put in this gargantuan edifice gets lost among a bazillion others. And I have no clue if I contributed something. Scorns and insults have become a part and parcel. While the upper order earns their fat checks, they throw down bones at us to feast upon.
You might think there is a way out if you stay good and play everything by the book. But no! The longer you persevere, the more experience you get at perseverance. They give you one grain at a time and then ask you to keep moving for another. And you do, like a brazen person, because you have no choice. You can’t go anywhere. They have you by your balls and they will squeeze it the moment you try to throw a tantrum.
I cannot call that sphinx my creation at the end of it, because it wasn’t my dream, to begin with. I didn’t know why I was gathering rocks apart from the fact that it was ending up becoming something that fed me. I cannot call it mine because, Hey! It was everyone else’s effort too. When it got built, the Pharaoh turned toward the world and announced that it was him who made it. He even branded it with his name saying it was “his” property. That it was his hard work that paid off. Now the world will remember it as something that’s his.
Then I can’t help but imagine what if the Pharaoh is good and he decides to feed all the people working for him? You know with perks and incentives.
Here take a bite from this awesome fruit and then pass it down the line.
By the time the fruit reaches slaves, it has been devoured so badly that the poor slave could only have its seed. And then the slave decides to grow one for himself using that seed. Because you know slave is, after all, a human brain. He is smart! He sows it in his backyard. But then he has no time to look after it, and the plant eventually ends up dying because in the morning when it needs the sunlight and water to grow, the slave is out there toiling ignoring the plant in the making.
But then somehow the plant grows despite a world trying to stop it. Its growth happens slowly, so gradually that the slave witnesses the toughest of all times. By the time he is ready to have his fruit, he realizes he is left with no teeth to truly enjoy it.
Slaves are us. We have been born and bred into it. Trying to get out will leave us bruised. With hopes to become a Pharaoh one day, we secretly fuel our wish to continue this age-old cycle. But have you ever thought about changing the inevitability of this cycle, making things right and just for once and all?