Thursday, March 01, 2007

Pretty "Please"

I been irritated the last two months to write about anything specific. That’s it… … I did move homes, come back from a trip to India, Survive really bad colds… but the reason I didn’t put the keyboard to the word document was one – attitudinal irritation :) (which in my dictionary means wanting to firmly throw people into the Bay of Bengal, because they are a nuisance to general population)

It’s not against one person, or a whole community. But scattered people, who have one thing in common. They are RUDE and inconsiderate. A person can cloak it by saying they are frank or they care or even sometimes just plain “Office Communication”. I just think my tolerance has dropped several scales in the last month. This post is not directed at people who interact only with me, but with my friends and family.

When has being polite become a thing of the 18th century. I know minding the “P’s&Q’s” is something we read in old Enid Blyton novels, but to totally remove the line of distinction between informality and decent behavior and we really don’t have much left. I work with a team in office, who defines ‘work’ as something that is to be done by another. I know we come across people like that but to have a whole team adhering to that mantra is painful. I can almost expect every mail to start with “We cannot or will not” and every problem to start with “You were responsible”, “discussion and solution” doesn’t seem to be a part of their vocabulary .Where does rudeness come into this – its mail style which conveys the tone and talking to a peer as if they are your personal secretary doesn’t cut it. The worst part is this team is from India and to add insult to injury, my US colleague asked me if they treated everybody this way back home.. I did explain to him that Indian traditions install respect at a very young age, especially to elders and this was an exception. When I mentioned this, the other colleague quipped, that maybe we may have to refer the problem to their Manager, who was the only “Elder” they respected :D. I do think that office emails do convey a line of informality , but to step over into being discourteous is easy.

Family implies that these are the people you are close to and they are ones who are to be frank with you. I am generally a good sport. But this is extends to people I know and have known for ages. But to have people you’ve known only for a while, defined as extended family, take liberties on commenting on your life, your health and definitely your income drove me nuts back home. It’s an unfortunate conclusion that some people come to, that, anybody working in the States has droves of dollars stashed in some Swiss account. When I was visiting some folks back home, all they could talk about was my weight and income bracket. A smile is something that is beautiful but to have it permanently placed on your lips while all your hands want to do is throttle another, is hard.!! I remember watching an Oprah show where the physician said that the worst way to undermine a woman was to comment on her weight. One of girls in my family, who kept getting these comments from her “near and dear” ones lost almost 60 pounds. Now she is looks malnourished and definitely sick. She lost weight my simplyby not eating and this method is seconded by her mom. If only these “good will" people can look at how anorexia can destroy lives, they wont be a part of starving a young girl.

Next is the group who call themselves the “Advice Team”. They have an opinion on almost everything and even your personal life and are sure they absolutely right. I don’t mind listening to my elders on their views or I sometimes even ask my pals on some stuff. But to give free give advice is easier than listening to it!! I realize that suddenly a lot of people have advice to give on my marriage and my career. The best part is most of them didn’t have either or both :D...

I listen to ages to my parents telling me what to do, but to listen to a pal whose just starting out on how to define my life made me feel a part of a Calvin Hobbes joke, with this guy morphing into those space alien whose language I had didn’t have a clue on.I feel angry with people who assume they know all the loops which go into the complex tangle which is your life. And any explanation seems to them like a bucketful of excuses and the guilt that arises from them is enough to drown in. A friend of mine was so embittered with explaining to the whole world with why she didn’t quit her job on having her baby, which they felt was the best for her and her son, that she quit her job just to stay at home, and is currently is unhappy as h**.Yes it was her decision to do so, but constantly listening to a barrage of advice was her undoing.

And finally to end my tirade where has all the respect towards the senior folk gone? Right from my plane trip to a lanes of Chennai , I saw constant abuse and disrespect towards people over 60.I know life begins at 50 but to treat a senior person as if they are 10 is repugnant. Right from the autorickhaws of Chennai to the flight attendants of Lufthansa, there seemed to be a distaste to deal with the elderly. It’s always been my pet peeve that people bring their parents from India to work in the US. There is a restaurant in the Bay area where these old gentlemen are waiters and actually straining under the workload. I make it a point never to set foot in the restaurant (K agrees with me especially as the food sucks !!).But to find a blatant disregard to address an older person with some kind of respect really got to me. My mother’s neighbor who picks the flowers and vegetables, out of the garden, which is singularly grown by my mom , and actually cuts up the plants which ‘dare ‘ to creep to her side, doesn’t seem to have a word of thanks about her. Also the other day I was next to an Indian Kid, who was yelling at his grand mom (I’m assuming it’s her) to shut up, while the parents coolly looked on.

Respect, Politeness, Integrity, Honesty are qualities which are endorsed by the religion, tradition and culture of every part of the world. To have the first two submerged under the veneer of modern communication is sad. Is it too hard to include a please and a thank in a conversation. Just doing this to some people feels like an old government communication clip. But these words are not just alphabet’s put together but an indication of how much the person or his/her time means to you. Funnily enough being nice to someone may just constitute a smile or sometime just keeping your thoughts to yourself. That’s not too hard to ask people is it ??!!

And for the laughs as usual

Have you ever spoken and wished that you could immediately take the words back or that you could crawl into a hole?

I was at the golf store comparing different kinds of golf balls. I was unhappy with the women's type I had been using. After browsing for several minutes, I was approached
By one of the good- looking gentlemen who works at the store. He asked if he could help me. Without thinking, I looked at him and said, "I think I like playing with men's balls."

My sister and I were at the mall and passed by a store that sold a variety of candy
And nuts. As we were looking at the display case, the boy behind
the counter asked if we needed any help. I replied, "No, I'm just looking at your nuts."
My sister started to laugh hysterically, the boy grinned, and I turned beet-red and walked away. To this day, my sister has never let me forget.

Have you ever asked your child a question too many times? My three-year-old son had a lot of problems with potty training and I was on him constantly. One day we stopped at Taco Bell for a quick lunch in between errands. It was very busy, with a full dining
room. While enjoying my taco, I smelled something funny, so of course I checked my
seven-month-old daughter, and she was clean. Then I realized that Danny had not
asked to go potty in a while, so I asked him if he needed to go, and he said, "No."
I kept thinking, "Oh Lord, that child has had an accident, and I don't have any clothes with me." Then I said,” Danny, are you SURE you didn't have an accident?"
"No," he replied. I just KNEW that he must have had an accident, because the smell was getting worse. Soooooo, I asked one more time, "Danny, did you have an accident?"
This time he jumped up, yanked down his pants, bent over and spread his cheeks and yelled.” SEE MOM, IT'S JUST FARTS!!"While 30 people nearly choked to
death on their tacos laughing, he calmly pulled up his pants and sat down.
An old couple made me feel better by thanking me for the best laugh
They’d ever had!

This had most of the state of Michigan laughing for 2 days and a very embarrassed female news anchor who will, in the future, likely think before she speaks. What happens when you predict snow but don't get any? A true story. We had a female news anchor who, the day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn't, turned to the
weatherman and asked: "So Bob, where's that 8 inches you promised me last night?"
Not only did HE have to leave the set, but half the crew did too!

While on a flight from New York, the Stewardess was busy passing out peanuts and cokes to everyone. There were about sixteen flights lined up waiting to get clearance
to take off. Then the other Stewardess got a message from the Pilot that the
tower said the wind had changed 180 degrees and they were first in line to take off, and to have everyone buckle up. Without thinking she just announced” Please buckle up, grab your drinks and hold your nuts, we're taking off!" No one saw her for the rest of the
flight to Houston, and all the other Stewardesses were laughing all the way and so were half of the passengers.

Keep Smiling




Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

Good to see you back.

> It’s an unfortunate conclusion that some people come to, that, anybody working in the States has droves of dollars stashed in some Swiss account.

- Agree with you whole heartedly. They think of the same for ppl working in UK as well. :) Whenever my mom goes to T.Nagar from Nanganallur, half of my relatives think that she is going to buy jewels from the money i have been sending her in gunny bags.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Raju said...

Welcome back..

Mmm.. i can understand u.. but, what to do.. we are like that only.. procrastinating coworkers, spoiled kids, curious relatives, nose-pokers.. are all gonna be around always.. take it easy..

2:26 PM  
Blogger mitr_bayarea said...


Great expression of thoughts throughout the blog, was able to connect most of the dots. Yes, quite true that some folks think that those working in the US make tons of money, unfortunately, they fail to realize that those living in CA owe a significant chunk to taxes...

Absolutely true on the senior citizens not being treated very well back in India.

On the free advice part, truly admire ur ability to smile away while u really want to throttle the person :) keep it up, it helps in the long run!!!

9:25 AM  
Blogger Anu said...

NExt time will include UK Too :D

I do chill,.. but sometimes i feel we chill too much on some stuff, that needs to be corrected.. do we want the next generation to be totally devoid of manners?!

Thks.. its hard..but anyone who survives the "Indian Reception" will be experienced in the stuck smile part :D

12:26 PM  
Blogger Castelgard said...

Interesting Post ..that about 60 pound girl :)...have posted some thing new...check it out

6:58 AM  
Blogger Subbu said...

An interesting post.

12:38 PM  

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