Monday, May 2, 2016

Why Do People Find It So Tough To Be Kind To Others?

Courtesy - quickmememe.com 

A friend while driving got hit by a car that appeared out of nowhere. When he saw the car slow down he braced himself for a lengthy altercation; a norm in the NCR. People would rather kill or prefer dying than admit it was their fault. Just as he was rolling up his sleeves and taking deep breaths, the fellow got out and apologised profusely for his rash driving. When he offered to pay for damages, my friend couldn’t believe his ears.

A common courtesy in any part for the world but certainly not in Gurgaon.

In a city where everyone’s is always in a rush but no one ever reaches on time, we are forever engaged in mortal combat. We push, step on each other’s feet, honk louder, raise our middle finger and are ready to snap at even the slightest provocation. Rarely do we stop to let someone else pass at a busy intersection. We are like raging bulls, ready to charge at anyone who dares challenge us. When an odd soul does stop to let other raging bulls pass, let the hassled lady take the coveted parking-spot, all he gets is a dead fish look. The husband makes it a point to hold the doors of the elevators for women with kids in our apartment building, yet I’ve seen no one turn around to give him a grateful smile.

It’s as if saying thank you and sorry is a bigger sin than hurling expletives at strangers.

I get it, you’ve had a bad day. Your new boss is a fire breathing dragon and a blood sucking vampire rolled into one. The last time you got a bonus was before the big bang. And your girlfriend who can’t even spell loser just called you a looser. Of course you are &*%#&*)&$ mad! And the only way you can restore order is by making random people around you (usually lower in social hierarchy) as miserable as you are. Who in turn dutifully pass on their angst to yet another hapless soul. Sooner than you can say ‘tere baap kaa…,’ the world around you is like a cauldron of negativity. You hold your aching head in your hand and wonder, why is everyone one around me so nasty?

It’s like being stuck in traffic and complaining about it. Dude, you are the traffic!

Add to it a strange persisting mentality that equates aggressiveness as a show of power and niceness as a sign for ‘come trample all over me and take advantage’. So it comes as no surprise why people are almost afraid of being nice.


When it comes to getting work done, no one’s willing to move their butt till you scream at them like a banshee. Every time I have tried being nice with the plumber or electrician, they stretch my patience like chewing gum and a two day job threatens to become a two week nightmare. It’s only when I turn into a menacing mafia don and swing the kitchen knife suggestively, does the job starts showing signs of getting completed.

Does that make me feel good? Of course not! But certain people are extremely persistent when it comes to bringing out your hidden fangs.

Even in daily soaps that play endlessly on TV, it’s the evil bahu who has all the fun while the mild mannered one cries all day while she swabs the floors of her mansion. It takes five years and 692 episodes for her family to finally take notice of her and come to her rescue.

Am I making a case for aggressiveness and pleading with you to turn into a wicked warlord who expects others to obey him – if not by choice then certainly by force? Absolutely not! What I’m trying to say is, let us be more appreciative of the ones who are accommodating, are willing to listen to you and extend empathy. Someone’s kindness is certainly not a license for you to take him for granted. Rather they deserve your love and respect. Listen to the soft-spoken friend of yours whose voice often gets drowned in the cacophony of loud voices. More often than not, it’s she who makes the most sense. When someone asks you nicely to do something, make sure she’s first in your priority list rather than the last. Don’t make those good-hearted souls feel like useless pieces of shit who you think of only when you are in trouble and need a shoulder to cry on.

In this dog eats dog world, they are our beacons of hope for a humanity that often disappoints us and lets us down. Also, as tempting as it maybe, don’t try to counter someone’s snarkiness with yours. It only makes things worse. My most cherished memories are those of complete strangers who held doors for me, offered to carry my heavy shoulder bags, stopped to ask if I was lost when they saw me looking confused at a busy intersection, walked the extra mile with me to make sure I was safe. Besides filling my heart with gratitude, they made me want to be a better person.

It’s doesn’t take too much of our time to stop and try to make someone’s day better with a kind gesture. So, what’s stopping us? True, some of them may not be as appreciative but I don’t think their lack of manners should stop us from showing consideration.

If rudeness can perpetuate itself like a virus, why not kindness?





52 comments:

  1. Oh finally someone has said so beautifully what I think everyday.

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    1. Let's kill them with kindness :-)

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  3. Very well written. You capture the dilemma nicely. If I play a nice guy, others take it for granted and dont work. Other option is being a devil which gets the work done but adds a lot of poison in the environment.
    No easy solutions there.

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    1. I think taking the middle ground helps...be nice but firm.

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  4. Glad you said it. The post echoes with me on so many levels. I was reading a book where the writer Samuel Jhonson described good manners as ' Fictitious Benevolence'. You don't have to feel or empathize for the fellow human being. You simple need to act like you do. How difficult is that? Somehow people assume that being modern is akin to being being rude. And hate to say, but many Gurgaon women are very rude.

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    1. It's a worrisome trend. People have started equating bad behaviour with being honest! How can you feel good by making someone else feel bad?

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  5. Rudeness, impatitence and hurling expletives has become a norm , but unfortunately I have come across good people too though very few in number,but would like to follow them rather than the herd, Purba:)

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    1. Rudeness, impatience is taking the easy way out. It takes a lot of maturity and sensitivity to extend empathy towards others.

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  6. Very true; people of the north, especially those in and around the capital, some how got this in their genes. Perhaps the invasions of the past have been responsible for this genetic change! Here being gentle and good is mistaken for weakness; Aggressiveness and rudeness is taken for granted as most appropriate! Fear is the key for order here!

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    1. Blame the harsh weather, tough terrains. It's all about survival of the fittest..you either fight back or get swallowed up.

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  7. You are bang on Purba.Like you I too cherish the memories of strangers who were kind to me.
    They say kindness is infectious and I guess rudeness,brashness too is infectious nowadays.But being hurt by someone certainly does not give us the licence to take it out on someone else.
    This post gives us points to ponder.

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    1. I am glad you could relate to my angsty post, Indu.

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  9. Aye, it's the little things that matter. Social etiquette is lost in today's busy, no-time-for-nonsense-or-kindness world. It is best when we do something good without expecting anything in return, else we can have no peace of mind.

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  10. A one of a kind post which is much needed. The misplaced ego, anger and often violent cum unruly behavior doesn't help us at all. We need to show acts of kindness and it doesn't hurt.

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    1. Kindness is the most underrated emotion.

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  12. Rudeness will not give us the immense inner satisfaction that kindness does... Atleast for this selfish reason people must try to be kind...

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  13. Exactly ! Somehow, being rude and throwing attitude around has become the norm of the day especially among youngsters. Which is terrifying because they are the future.

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    1. And they must be told again and again, this is unacceptable.

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  14. I wish it was as easy but certainly worth trying to make the world slightly better place to be in. Simple gestures like not jumping red light, not honking can go a long way...

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    1. I see so much anger around me and it unsettles me.

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  15. i think for some reasons now it is in our genes, we only respect and fear a man if has money and or power, however ill-gotten it may be,

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    1. But there's a huge difference between respect that stems from fear and respect that's earned.

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  16. There are good Samaritans still in this world who show the small mercies and make our day great and yes..the scenes in all major metros are replica of Gurgaon..traffic, mayhem, sear words, chaos...a thought provoking post indeed!

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  17. Can relate to it so well. Try to speak like a soft spoken person and nobody hears you... yell as if you rule the world, everybody is all ears

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    1. And it's the empty vessels who make the most noise.

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  18. Very well said Purba. Not matter how much i try to be rude, I can't and often people have taken advantage of that. The tragedy is, I have often vented out on my loved ones for being irritated with a rude person i met on the metro... I really regret those moments the most.
    www.aparnamudi.com

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    1. It's the inherent goodness that matters the most. Many don't even realize how much they hurt others with their behaviour.

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  19. We had a story in rapid reading. The man in the story smiles, and thanks everyone even if they are rude. He says they may not have been kind towards him, but they are sure to pass that smile to someone else. It would lead to a chain of kindness. I totally agreed with that story, and your post. :)

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  20. Beautifully said Purba. You know what the problem is, those who should read this stuff and improve, they don't ... they are busy hurling curses and blaming the government. The good people end up on the sorry side.

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    1. But what if the good people outnumber the bad ones and instead of bowing to all their wishes, ask them to shut the eff up?

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  21. Superbly narrated, as usual.

    The very air of NCR is suffused with insanity. Even the Buddha might rethink his Middle Way if he drives in the NCR for a day.

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    1. Even the mild-mannered ones turn into feral beings once they start driving on Delhi-Gurgaon roads.

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  22. People take kindness as a charity that they are in no mood to offer.
    If only we teach it as basics for life, we can inculcate a kinder society.

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    1. We teach our children how to succeed but fail to teach them how to be happy.

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  23. Its true, everybody is in a mad rush (for no reason at all)
    I simply fail to understand the lack of common sense of the general Indian public who actually spend five years and watch 692 episodes of that sub standard serials. I know of a lady who has done her MBA and then not working and watching Saas Bahu.

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    1. I'm sure that lady has her reasons :-)

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  24. The reason for our unkindness is the accumulating of the past which may be past hour, week or year.We always carry the burden of the past that we hardly see any beauty in the present.But if we have a clear mind completely free of the past we can be kind automatically.

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  25. This address a very fundamental problem within us- we suppress the already suppressed and fear the strong- and such acts on the road and elsewhere is a manifestation of this very thing.

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    1. Anger stems from fear and like Anurag mentioned, too often we carry the burden of the past.

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  26. That is a point that I have frequently thought of myself and as you said, its the fear of being taken from granted that I think stops people from being nice. Unfortunately nice has become a byword for weak and that's such a big pity because we have forgotten even basic courtesy. Even TV shows, I get quite put out by how often judges of some of these reality shows often insult the participants unnecessarily. Rudeness is the order of the day. The more sarcasm we can heap on others and pull down others, the better we feel we look.

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    1. I feel it stems from low self-esteem. Only those who hate themselves derive perverse pleasure by putting others down.

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  27. I wonder if this is a Delhi phenomenon. I remember every time I used to visit, I would be struck by how aggressive and intimidating people used to behave.

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  28. "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."

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Psst... let me know what you are thinking.

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