Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Being Courteous

Please, Thank You and Sorry; the three basic words of courtesy. How often do we use them? I, personally, use the words 'please' and 'thank you' a lot; and I don't hesitate to say 'sorry' when I am wrong or hurt someone.

My close friends often ask me not to be so formal when I say 'thank you's. But for me saying 'thank you' is not a formality. It has become who I am. I mean when I say it. Since childhood, my sister and I have been conditioned to thank people around us. Whenever someone gave us anything, be it eatables, goodies or gifts, we were taught to thank them. If we received anything from a third party, we said our 'thank you's through letters or phone-calls. Today I thank anyone and everyone who does something for me--my family, colleagues, friends, shopkeepers, security guards, rickshaw-walas, auto-walas, behind counters and so on. I am fascinated by their reactions after that. The smile and the softened tone of voice never fails to 'warmify' me.

On the other-hand, whenever I need or want someone to do anything for me I say 'please'. Even if I don't use the word exactly, my tone of voice is that of a request. No, I don't do it consciously. It is just the way I am conditioned. Whether it is family, friends, colleagues or acquaintances; whether  the task or chore is big or small; it is always a request. A 'thank you' always follows. However, on rare days I have my  melt-down moments and the request tone does go haywire. I am a human after all!

Many a times, when we hurt someone knowingly or unknowingly, when we fight or argue, the result is always bitterness and hurt. And just by saying 'sorry' from the heart, we can sweeten our relationships again. But again, we hardly do that. Ego comes in between. Sometimes, we feel it's too late to apologise. But as the old saying goes, "Better late than never."

Surprisingly, off late I am seeing children below five years of age being reluctant to say 'sorry'. Even though they say 'thank you' at the drop of the hat, making them say 'sorry' is a arduous job! A few years back, my uncle's young daughter did some mischief and her mother scolded her. I asked her to say 'sorry' to her mother. On the contrary, she sulked and was mad at my aunt for scolding her. I tried to coax her to say the word, but she didn't budge. Finally, my aunt kissed her and made up. I was shocked. What did that little girl of five understood of the word 'sorry'? Why was she so adamant not to utter the word? I had a flashback of this incident on a recent holiday Az and I took with one of his friend, his wife and their three year old son. Whenever the little boy annoyed his parents, Az tried to make him say 'sorry' in all ways possible. But the kid was indifferent. His father remarked that his son acted as if he would lose some property if he said 'sorry'. Finally after three whole days, when we were on our back home, Az was able to make the kid say the s-word. And it was not that the parents were overly indulgent. They are a fair mix of leniency and strictness.

I feel people around kids should frequently use the basic courteous words. Kids pick up on negative words and mannerisms immediately but take time to pick up the good ones. Teaching your kids the right manners is a Goliath-an task. But it's an achievement in itself and the credit will always go to you.

There have been instances when I am being polite and the other person responds in a rude manner. I feel so hurt at that time. Most of the times I ask the other person in the same polite tone as to why he/she is talking to me like that when I am talking in respectful manner. In matter of children, I can't tolerate ill-mannered and rude kids. Being naughty is kids' right but ill behaviour is a big no-no.

I believe if each one of use the words Please, Thank You and Sorry generously, the world will become so much a better place. Quarrels and fights on roads will diminish, relationships at home and work will improve,  hard feelings and bitterness will vanish and consequently the place we live in will become a lovely. Also these words are ought to be spoken from  our hearts. Starting to say these words is a start though. They say, "Charity starts at home." So, please let's start by being courteous to our near and dear ones. And catch the kids young. After all, they are are the future us.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dilli Dilwalon Ki?

A Delhi Road
They say "Dilli hai dilwalon ki" (Delhi belongs to the bighearted). Well, it is somewhat difficult for me to agree.I have been residing in Delhi since a year and a half now and also have visited the city several times before that. And I have heartbreaking experiences all the time. Let me share some with you.

Jamming up: One thing I noticed immediately that I couldn't see a single car without a dent. You see, nobody has the time to stop for a second in this city. Everybody wants to surpass the other. Vehicle drivers just do not want to stop and do some mindful driving. If we are more patient on the road, traffic jams can be averted and everybody's time could be saved. Many a times Az has stopped our car at a crossing so that some other car could cross us diagonally or in the middle of the road so that a person can cross it. And in most instances, the driver and the person looks at us with disbelief spelled across his face.

Rough and rougher: Majority of the people are so rough tongued in this city! From autowalas (auto-rikshaw drivers) to sabjiwalas (vegetable vendors), from shopkeepers to normal public, I have encountered so many rude and dishonest people. Namz, who had been working in the city since three years, sometimes answer back so roughly to a autowala that I am astounded. I tell her that it's not necessary to be rude when someone is rude to you; you can rebuke him/her politely also. She tells me the rough style of talking has rubbed on her too and now the response has become automated.

Cunning cheats: 
  • In a recent professional encounter, I was denied what I was promised. Suddenly the person refused to acknowledge that he was aware of a situation. He indirectly termed me a liar because he is in a position of power.
  • Sometime back, an aunt came down to Delhi on a office tour. At the railway station, she stood in line for her turn at the prepaid taxi counter. A taxi driver tried to woo her to take his service and quoted a fare saying that he is charging less than the prepaid fare. She refused consistently and waited for her turn at the counter. The prepaid taxi charge was half of what the other taxi driver had quoted.

Civilly Nonsensical:People here hugely lack in civic sense. They believe in just keeping their house indoors clean and they don't think twice in littering their own threshold. So you can have an idea what they do to public places.
  • We stay in an individual building with five floors. Last year, our ground floor neighbours decided to keep hens at their place. Just imagine! They made the hen pen in the triangular space beneath the staircase and let them graze around in the parking lot during the day. The hens would litter the entire place with their droppings. No, they didn't ask for the consent of the building dwellers. No, we didn't say anything because they are so rude that you will be embarrassed at last. We had other situations with them in the past and now we chose to interact only when needed.
  • Namz resides in a DDA flat. The DDA flats on either side of the gully are separated by a few metres. The lady across the gully at the same floor rinses and spits out the water on the road below. She drops her garbage bag on the road to be collected by the garbage collector.
  • On narrow roads, people often leave their vehicles on the side causing unnecessary traffic jams. Some drivers even try to form three lanes on a two lane road.
Delhi is rightly called the 'melting pot of India' for anyone who comes here melts to blend into the cunningness, shrewdness, rudeness and nonsensical ways of the city. Delhi seems to be city of "Me First" attitude.

I know people who adore Delhi will love to kick my butt. I am not saying all people are same here. But in my case, only two out of ten people I have encountered in the city seemed to be genuinely kind and honest. The other eight came across as either thugs, rude, shrewd or ruthless. And that eight persons overshadow the other two most of the time.My experiences in the city doesn't make me believe that "Dilli dilwalon ki hai". At times I feel as if people will not think twice to cut out my heart and sell it.

You see, Delhi is not all about world heritage sites, majestic malls, clubs, broad roads, fairs, exhibitions, restaurants and street food. Real Delhi is made up of people, people from all parts of the country, people like you and me. Since childhood, I have heard that Delhi is a place of thugs, the brand only denied by Delhiites themselves.Why so?

There are a number of other places in the country which have been endowed with positive attributes like simplicity and honesty. These attributes are not of the city or the town itself, but of the people who live there. If each and every one of us in Delhi try to shed selfishness, dishonesty and shrewdness, bit by bit, and strive to be at least more patient and polite, the city will become so much a better place.

I don't want to hate Delhi. Really. I want to love it like the way I loved like the previous cities I have lived in. But I can't seem to do that just yet. I wish I could at least one good experience everyday to keep me sane. And I am hopeful that Delhiites would make Delhi proud.