Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I am sorry, I can't be polite!

A popular hindi proverb says, " Aisi vaani boliye, mann ka aapa khoye, auran ko sheetal kare, aaphun sheetal hoye".. which means that "Speak such words that not only soothe your mind, but also bring joy to whoever listens to your words".

This one used to be one of my favourite dohas that I had read in school. About living what it says, I do  not know if my speech could bring joy to others, but yes, at least I can say without a doubt that my words were not rough and harsh, not crude that could hurt anyone.

But now, being rude is the need of the hour. If I don't be rude, I am stuck, I am exploited, I am fooled.
They say, "My dear, there is a difference between rudeness and assertiveness, there is a fine line..."
 I fail to draw that.

The other day, I was travelling by a shared cab, with all males except me. The driver stopped on the waving of an old man.

I had my earphones stuffed into my ears with "Allah ke bande" going on. The man was trying to fit in which meant the guys were shifting closer to me.

Without thinking for even a second, I blurted, " Aise thhussna hai toh mujhe utaar do".. ( If you want to stuff passengers like this, then let me get down) .

Before the driver could say anything, the old person looked at me and got down from the cab. If  his eyes could speak out loud, they would have said- " Madam, why do you shout, you can be softer.."

The cab moved ahead. After a while I realised that all I  had to do was shift to the front seat so that the males could accommodate themselves at the back seat. And I understood why the old man looked at me like that.

That very moment, I wanted to go back and say sorry to the old man.

This incident made me reflect deep. If I shift this whole setting a couple of years ago, had I reacted the same way?


Around 3 years in a city, and now I believe that when one packs one's bags to a metro, one has to come armed with boldness and a catalyst, the adequate amount of which can help you regulate the level of boldness required as per situations.

Another example. I was travelling by an auto rickshaw... (All my boldness comes handy while I am travelling by public transport, especially autos! )

The auto wallah and I mutually agreed on the fare he would charge. But to my disgust and surprise, when I got down handed over a 100 rupee note to him, he got ready to leave, while he was supposed to return 10 bucks to me. He said, "madam, change nahin hai"... in a very "oh-you-miserly-lady" look and tone...
At this moment, even if I had tried hard to be polite, the rude Ritu in me would have slapped the polite ritu and would have then slapped that idiot fellow!

It is not about 10 bucks, it is about the attitude. I shouted like a lafanga at the top of my voice, attracting attention of a few people around... he got scared a bit and took out 10s of 10 rupee notes, threw one at me and went off..
Did he think I was foolish... I would not have mind  letting him go with that extra 10 had he been genuine and honest, but he was a cheat fellow, which I could make out from his face!

Now how can I expect myself to be polite and soft...
And these encounters are a part of the routine in a city life.

Shout at the customer service people, else they don't turn up to put right the internet service.. yell and scream at the plumber else he would keep dodging you for weeks together.. pester the land owner else he does not give the rent receipts... and the tussle with the auto wallahs- enough of it!

May be Munna Bhai can deal with all such situations with his gandhigiri... but I wonder if it works in real life..

A temper, the remote control of which is in on your hands, is very much needed to survive in a place where every other person in the lookout to take advantage of your softness - One of the life lessons I have learnt the hard way...

Not that I like the way I have become. Because the remote control does not work well all the time.


  1. Allah ke bande !! abhi bhi sunti hai.. :P

    1. All time favourite :)

      Thankus thankus, atleast iss baar tune blog padha toh sahi.. :P

  2. I personally think that it is our responsibility as an individual to appreciate things which are good and complain when it is not proper. if all of us take this responsibility, we will probably the best place in world to live in.

    Some people dont speak and I think they are responsible for all bad things happening around us (Specially when young people dont speak). I personally do speak irrespective of what kinda of criticism I have to face. :) Come sometime, I can show you Railway complaints I made in writing, stories of different complaints I made verbally, etc.

    I am proud to know a gal who is doing her part. Feel good about it. But do take care and check the pulse before opening your mouth. All the best!!

  3. When the young lawyer from Gujarat was thrown out of the train in South Africa, he could have shouted at the ticket collector or pelted stone on the train to show his inconvenience or irritation and continued with his routine life. But, he was not just irritated – he was angry! So, he channelized his anger in starting a noble mission and his anger later uprooted the English from India. Gandhiji showed us not only the power of non-violence but also the power of anger.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Very true..these type of incidents are very common in city.Specially in city the monopoly of auto walahs are at peak.They charge watever they like and behave in any way of their choice.Its our sole responsibility not to bear these.And i say it without any doubt its because of we people.I have seen people paying 100 bugs for distance less than even 50.These people just dont care to argue or bargain.Going away without returning the change has just become a habit or I may a tradition with autowallahs.In these circumstances raising a voice or our temper is necesity.No one understands the same words said softly..

    3. Saravanan Sir, the power of anger made me write this blog post :P

      Yeah, I completely agree that anger can be a great weapon if used properly..

  4. Bismita Didi,looks like you are a big victim of auto walla's atrocities :)
    This one does nt fit here accurately, but makes sense: "Laaton ke bhoot baaton se nahin mante" !!

  5. Ritu.. it's a very natural that you have encountered such autowala in the Metros. But its not like getting rude or not.. Its like that you have to speak the language he understand.. You can not speak English in Germany or German in England.. So do not think yourself as rude.. You just spoke the language, one understand.

    1. Rightly said bhaiya, "Laaton ke bhoot baaton se nahin maante". :P

  6. Arey main har bar padhta hun tera blog !! baki comment nahi karta.. :P

  7. "I want to change their minds, not kill them for weaknesses we all posses."
    One of my favourite dialogues from Gandhi, the movie.

    Imagine what would have happened had you told the auto wallah looking straight into his eyes and with a gentle smile:

    "Bhayya, we've agreed on Rs. 90 and we should abide by that. I won't let you leave with my Rs. 10. I'm ready to sit before your auto for my Rs.10."
    Sounds awfully Gandhian, eh? :P
    Yes, in a way, it is! But I think this would make him think.

    By shouting or being "rude", you're being just another tough customer he deals with everyday. By making him learn a lesson, you'd change him for the rest of his life. Tell you what, many similar incidents happened with me. I fought to ensure that I brought about some positive change in my "adversary", if you will.

    They don't get into a scuffle with you(ladies/girls) generally. It so happened that an auto wallah threatened me that he would punch me in the nose if I refused to pay him a rupee extra (Lol..in my good old college days when one rupee was hundred paise and not one fiftieth of a dollar!:P). Initially I refused to pay but later I had to concede for the love of my face. I thought I shouldn't leave him, maybe because of egotism. I noted down his auto's RTA Registration number and complained to the police. I went to the PS the next day and saw the auto wallah being roughed up by the police. He pleaded with me for clemency. I had that sense of elevated ego (I think I needn't emphasize much on this feeling as you girls keep hearing apologies from guys for various reasons that don't matter for the purpose of this article :P) and accepted his apology. I remember seeing him at least five more times in the three years that followed. He never appeared angry. Maybe he was scared that I would drag him to the PS again or maybe the incident would have brought about a genuine transformation in him. But I was convinced that the incident had changed him and was hopeful that he would think twice before getting into a brawl next.

    All this happened well before I turned a pacifist myself after watching "Gandhi" and reading some of Gandhi's speeches and write-ups. And let not the reader(s) of my comment think that the above was the sole event in my life that changed my perception. I can tell you at least ten more instances where I felt convinced that the person(or rather his frailties) I fought against has/ve positively changed for good. In the most recent incident I had written a letter to the police complaining against a person(who eventually turned out to be the Ex-Upasarpanch(Vice-President) of the village(Hyderabad suburb has many villages) I reside in) who threatened to manhandle over a minor issue. Ultimately he had to apologize in writing. He did it reluctantly, though.

    In Gandhi's Hind Swaraj, he makes a very valid(at least as it appears to me) argument that our reaction would be different to a theif depending on whether he's a stranger, our friend/neighbour or our own father/brother. I don't intend to tell you to treat the auto wallah like your brother. I'd say that that think that your fighting against the idea of cheating you in that person and not the person per se. I tell you, it's immensly powerful. You wouldn't lose your cool and sometimes intimidate the other person with your confidence.
    ( Watch this video and you'll know what I mean:


    I was like, OMG, LOL, goosebumps and whatnot when I watched it for the first time in my late teens!:D;) )

    I know this write-up of mine lacks the brevity of comment.:P But couldn't help it.Lol

    1. Satish, you express awesomely well!

      I do agree with you that "burai se nafrat karo, bure se nahin".

      But if you keep facing such issues in every step of daily life, it is quite difficult to keep pace.
      May be that autowallah would have had his realisation if I had adopted gandhian policy, but the next day I meet another one who again is all there to cheat...
      That concludes that our country needs another Gandhi,this time to oust the evil... :)