Sunday, October 30, 2005
some disjointed thoughts on the last comments
Here’s a somewhat disjointed string of thoughts on the last couple of comments:
I will call it a sense of “social cleanliness” to distinguish it from personal cleanliness. As Sharat says, in his comment on the previous post, it is no secret that Indians are extremely clean people – when it comes to their own homes. When it comes to the outside, well, I guess most of us feel that what is outside our homes does not concern us and so it doesn’t matter how our environment looks or smells. This has nothing to do with whether you are rich or poor, because rich or poor alike, in India we seem to be quite unmindful of how we treat our surroundings. Which is why it seemed to me to be some kind of cultural trait. And yes, of course, as Suresh says, it would be good to look at how to set things right rather than to just crib about it or get sarcastic.
On the other hand, Suresh’s reaction cant help make me think about yet another pronounced tendency among us Indians - to take offence at just about everything. (Of course before Suresh says something about this I will say it meself and that is, the Americans are at times far worse!) But on the whole, we dislike being criticised, are ever ready to give in to feelings of hatred rather than to look at why we need so much to “hate” and we look for the earliest opportunity to pick a quarrel with any person with whom we disagree even a mite.
The truth is that as long as we are human each of us is bound to sometimes feel irritated, angry, or disappointed. To express these feelings from time to time is natural. (Waaaah! Sometimes I just want to be allowed to be a bit sarcastic without being subjected to a long diatribe about it. The sarcasm itself doesn’t mean too much. It’s just me airing a bit of my true feelings at a particular moment, I guess ... which I thought was the whole point of a blog ... and honestly, once I’ve done a bit of that I find myself much more clear headed and in a better mood than before).
It seems to me a pity that we don’t give ourselves - or each other - enough space to simply let off a bit of steam now and then. What would happen if we did?! When irritation is spontaneous and not some huge carry over from the past, it tends to settle down as quickly as it arises. And that brings me to another point. I have had this experience, that long after a particular event has taken place and loooong after I have forgotten all about it, someone or other who has been harbouring a mountain of resentment against me, will tell me (sometimes years later) how hurt they were, or how upset etc. by what I said and by the time they bring it up it is rrrreaaally hard for me to figure out what the hell they are talking about.
So ... okay, what was I trying to say? Oh yes. At least as far as I’m concerned, I try not to react to other people’s tantrums or shows of temper when it happens. I tell myself, poor guy's having a bad day. Don’t always succeed of course. But when I do, I notice that people cool down soon enough. Things get back to normal. The discussion goes on. That’s how life is. True tolerance is also the readiness to accept the other person’s flaws and not to make a big deal of it. Maybe that is why, these days I just say what I feel and am reluctant to get into long winded arguments with people, regardless of the theme!
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