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.