Gig Workers on Eid

A majority of salon workers, hair stylists and beauticians in Bombay as per purposive non random sampling happen to be Muslims from Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, and these include women too. Today at a branded salon in an even more branded mall in Navi Mumbai, I found both the staff who tended to me were Muslim on Eid, when I asked them why they were not on leave, they said- ‘jab sabki chutti hoteen hain, hum kaam kartein hain’, he said with a whiff of sadness in his voice, his eyes were sad. As a weekend the salon was packed with patrons and as folks who work on commissions, weekends and public holidays are income generally days. Most of the workers in the salon are Muslim. But they were dressed in glittering salwars, marking the presence of a Muslim holiday among a Savarna clientele.

The articulations of the presence of young Muslims as well as families in the food court with prominent identifiers through clothing and smiles was refreshing as caricatures don’t help us see a polity which wants to express as one, rather than the other. Pathaan has helped in mainstreaming efforts, as well as G20 year in the election run up in 2024 has meant the BJP giving posters wishing Eid Mubarak along with Akshay Tritiya.

I was thinking of the service led sectors who serve us while we are on holiday, and a replacement holiday we all know does not cut it. Wishing solidarity to all who work harder while others chill.

We are all gig workers in a way, only some have normal holidays on weekends.

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