Friday, April 26, 2013

The "A" Repellant - 'Arrogance'

"Arrogance is a creature. It does not have senses. It has only a sharp tongue and the pointing finger" (Toba Beta)

Hi Everyone,

This article is first in a series of 26 articles that will follow. The theme of these articles is simply whatever word or phrase comes to my mind when I think of a letter; will be the topic of that day.

I would like to dedicate this entire series to Mr. Amit Madan (head of production that is organizing current IPL) who gave me this wonderful idea. I had the opportunity of meeting him on one of my travels and we hit off wonderfully. A very knowledgable and down to earth person who gave a whole new perspective on seeing things. So here is the first article in a long series.

Just few hours back I saw two people on one side of the road signalling to an auto person on other side of the road whether he will go or not. The auto driver declined and the two people started swearing at the auto person. I was walking by the auto at that time and even though I cannot hear what they were saying I could easily make out the words from their lip movements. Why were they swearing?

Going back few days,  I was in the lift of my office and I rested my shoe against the lift wall. The operator suddenly asked me to remove my foot and that too in a bit rude tone. I did as he told me to but I was a little angry at the tone he used with me. But he continued saying that everyone dirties the elevator walls  without even considering that the housekeeping has to clean it everyday at as early as 5-6 in the morning. Then all of a sudden all my anger left me because I realised that it was actually my fault and in my momentary arrogance I got angry without even thinking one bit about my fault. Why? Because he interrupted my comfort?

Going back a few months, I went to  mall and there were many autos lined up. A person came up to an auto and asked if he will go to certain destination. He declined and the person started manhandling that auto driver. Why? Did that person own the auto driver? Doesn't an auto driver has the right to decline?

Going back many years, I was travelling by train and my stop was coming. With me was one of my friend. We were standing at the door and there was also a tea vendor at the door. He was trying to gather all his things. He asked us to hold one of his boxes for a while. Actually we both looked at each other thinking who would hold. Finally I held the box. The vendor realised that we were hesitant and once he has settled his things he said to us one thing - there is no shame in doing a small work - and alighted at the station. Why did we feel hesitant? Did we think that holding that box was beneath our pride?

There are several other instances from my own life that I can recount. And in fact in every person's life there will be instances where that person has looked down upon someone with arrogance because in his opinion that fellow was beneath him. Why this arrogance? Recently I have been thinking a lot on this. And Finally I have come to the conclusion that if we have something that others don't we feel superior and its this superiority that breeds that arrogance. The arrogance in turn freezes sensible portion of the brain and our dislike for people beneath us overtakes us.

But I have also realised that by being arrogant we are only alienating the people around us. In fact if we show a little smile to any person who we are dealing with you will never know when that person will might come to our aid in future. My sister has this wonderful quality of talking to everyone with a smiling face. She makes it a habit to greet everyone even if its a street vendor, cashier in a shop, sales assistants etc and properly thank them once the work is done. A habit which I have picked upon and made my habit too. And you won't need to wait for months to see the effect of this habit because the effects are instantaneous. The whole demeanour of the other person will change and his behaviour towards us will become friendly and warm.

A smile, a friendly greeting and a proper thank you does not cost more than a minute and the difference it make in a person's day is huge. I was shopping at Pantaloons with my sister and it was a very busy day because of some discount offer. There was a long queue at the checkout counter. The person in front of us was talking to the cashier rudely. When our turn came we saw that the cashier was a girl and she was so flustered with customers' behaviour that she was not able to focus on the work. So we asked  her what her name was, joked with her and then invited her to have an ice cream with us in the food court. Her mouth was open and she thought we were joking. When we said we were not joking and she needed a break she was genuinely surprised. Even though she could not come with us That day but after few visits she did accept our invitation. Now both me and my sister knows that if we ever had any problems she will help us out.

This is how much we can get by spending a minute of our time and showing a warm and caring behaviour towards other people. Everyone just wants a little respect. They don't expect that you invite them to your home and hug them, they simply expect a smile and respect.

Next time before you yell at someone in arrogance just because you thought they were beneath you, pause for a moment and think how you would feel if you were the one being shouted at and whether your shouting is justified or not. Smile and embrace people rather than repelling them with arrogance.

Genie Signing off