To Be or Not To Be
A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well.
-- Louisa May Alcott.
...........hmmm....that more or less describes my situation !!
~A Wise Man Said~
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
~My Photo Blog~
...Worth a Thousand Words
Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
I used to wonder why Indians visiting from abroad would be extra polite in their mannerisms such as saying Thank You or Brilliant or Sorry at every possible and not possible opportunity. I could have put it down to showing off one’s new self or something of the kind. Now that I have lived here for 2.5 months I realise that people tend to say these words a lot and you have no choice but to imitate them if you do not want to be seen as impolite or rude, and over time it could well become a habit that you can’t shake off wherever you go. So if you are in a mall and have barely brushed against someone or maybe just about not collided with them while moving to get some item of dress, you would still say sorry and they would say sorry, though exactly what we’re sorry for is difficult to pin down because we only crossed paths, didn’t even touch each other much less caused any grievous harm.
Now if you are from India and you have had experience in a public bus or in a market, you know what happens. Random people push you, pinch you, grab you, grope you, fall all over you…and apologies in such situations are the last thing one looks for. We do say our Thank Yous and Sorrys but mostly in elevated company or occasions. Say you received a birthday present from a friend or were congratulated or appreciated by your boss. Such situations come to mind. How many of us thank the communal area cleaner who collects our garbage or the maid who washes our vessels or the waiter who brings over our food? I know that I didn’t, and I never thought about it. But being here, and noticing how people thank people for small acts, not going into whether they genuinely mean the sentiments or not, the very act of thanking someone who does something that you take for granted makes you see things in a different light. Makes you wonder about the cultural difference. Maybe because here people do their own chores be it washing vessels or cooking food they tend to value the labour or effort going into these manual activities more and appreciate it when others do it for them even for a price? Maybe they see the people who do these activities as people and individuals unlike in India where we are used to unseeing them? Where if we were to see misery and poverty in the eye we would not be able to be at peace and carry on with our lives? Where saying a Thank You or a Sorry may also seem fake in the context of how those people are treated overall. I don’t know.
A funny incident happened that showed to me that old habits die hard and when you are least aware they can make you act in ways that expose your conditioning. I was invited to a student social which is nothing but snacks and chit chat with other students and as I moved to get some soft drink, possibly I had something on my mind, someone was pouring a drink for the girl ahead of me in the queue, and I extended my glass after her. They started laughing and I suddenly sprung into consciousness realising that this wasn’t India! The guy wasn’t a server and I wasn’t in a queue where there were waiters to pour tea or juice! It was an embarrassing moment indeed!
In other news, I am going to India for a Christmas holiday! Can’t contain my excitement is all I can say! Wish you all a very Merry Christmas! J