He was yelling and abusing at the top of his voice. After a while, my ears turned red while the muscles on the side of my jaws began to twitch. I looked around and saw that there were a few others who were looking uneasy, glancing sideways and not quite sure what to do. After all, we are all taught not to unnecessary meddle into other peoples’ problems. But beyond a point, it was too much to see that rude man shouting endlessly at the scantily clad small kid who had made the grave error of wiping the windshield of that man’s car at the traffic signal — in the hope of getting a buck or two.
As much as I’m against encouraging begging or child labour, I found that man’s display of anger utterly rude. At the same time, I also realised how, watching even an absolute stranger behave in an uncivil manner, can make a lot of us stressed. Bharat, a very good friend, shared an incident where his sister went to a restaurant with some friends and saw a bunch of extremely rude people mocking and making crude remarks at the waiter. “They were downright rude to the waiter, as if he’s not a human. After a while, my sister couldn’t take it anymore, went upto them and picked a fight,” he said.
Well, I don’t know if those buffoons ended up learning any etiquette, but I’m sure the sensitive girl’s evening must have been ruined. Now, this is not to suggest at all that she should not have taken them on, but I wonder if getting stressed because someone else has left his or her manners at home, is being fair to your own self, and those with you. If you think about it, each of us has certain things that we are sensitive about.
A friend of mine can’t stand it if she sees someone litter on the street. My three years of college went by in stopping the car every now and then, so that she could get down and pick up something that someone had thoughtlessly thrown in the middle of the road, so that she could deposit it in the trash bin. And every time she did it, her face had the most stressed out and exasperated expression. I salute her for thinking so much for the cause of cleanliness, but I only wish I didn’t see her so tense while she went about doing her bit. I too detest people who jump queues, litter on the streets, speak rudely or talk on mobile phone in a movie hall…but I think of one small thing before setting out to educate the ill mannered souls — my blood pressure.
Oh, how much I wish for the world to become a polite, clean and pleasant place to live in, but not at the cost of my peace of mind. So here are my calmness tips — first, don’t be rude or ill mannered yourself. If all of us did just that, the problem would be solved. Second, if you see some fool being uncivil in public, by all means try and make him realise his folly, but in a humorous and easy going way. Remember that raking a fight with someone who’s anyway rude will only make his or her behaviour worse. The key is to subtly make them feel ashamed of what they are doing and not to give them a chance to apply their ‘skills’ on you. And finally, if you’ve done your bit and the manner less idiot still does not get it — don’t fret and get tense. Take pity, give them a smile and wish that they ‘get well soon.’
Sonal Kalra once saw a man insult a waiter badly in a restaurant. Before she could go upto him to teach some manners, she saw the waiter quietly spit in the man’s coffee.
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