Really! Courtesy is an age old grace that matures as we grow older. Some people criticize without thinking that they are hurting the person they are talking to. Why do they feel that they have the upper hand in words? It all boils down to the fact that these people do not have the courtesy to be gracious. Family members are notorious for that in my opinion.
A young child of twelve or thirteen takes a written essay or a sketch, and shows to her/his parent. Instead of appreciating the child’s work and the time he has spent on doing the project, the parent says, “You should have written it in a different way and make it sound better.” Or, “This is a hopeless piece of NOTHING. Don’t waste my time.” (My mother had said that to me when I was about ten, and had written a story. I don’t know why I cannot forget that.) The child of course is heart-broken, and walks away. This used to be the norm in my childhood. I think the parents are more sensitive to the child’s needs and potentials these days, more courteous and more tolerant.
Not only is this kind of criticism harmful, it is also damaging to a child’s psyche.
When I was in my fourth year of medicine, the chief of Ob-Gyn was a lady. She sent for me one day and when I went into her office, she said, “I hear your uncle is a commissioner of some big department; (I forget what), my niece has applied for a job in his office. Can you please talk to him about her?” I told her that he used to be our neighbor in Tiruchirappalli, and his children spent a lot of time in our home. We called the folks ‘uncle and aunty’ out of respect and that he was not really related to me. She didn’t take the hint, and again asked if I could say a word about the niece to him.
It so happened that I was going to their home for lunch that weekend. So I told him that Mrs. K at CMC, has a niece who is seeking employment at his office. Uncle was so kind and said, Zakiah Ma, I will definitely keep that in mind because it is coming from you, and if she has good credentials, it shouldn’t be too hard.
A few days later I saw Mrs. K at the hospital. She called me to her and said, “My niece got the job at your uncle’s office. Well, I am not sure if she got the job because of your recommendation, or she just deserved to be there!” Damn! Like an arrow straight at my ego! I felt betrayed. She needn’t have said anything at all. It was like a hidden barb at me. I just smiled at her and didn’t say a word, shrugged my shoulders and walked away.
I have always tried to bend over backwards to help people and make them feel good. Always! I love to give gifts. Simple nothings of life. Some food, a dessert, some toiletries, and I just feel so good in my heart to do that. Ninety percent of the friends appreciate what I give. Then there are a few who always have to say something negative, say, about a dessert for example. “Oh the dessert was okay, there was too much icing on it, or, the one you made the last time was much better!” What do I do then, take the dessert back and say, “Well okay then! Too bad. I will make for you some other dessert if and when you develop the courtesy of grace and appreciation!?”
Why do people forget that everything is not about them, and that there are people who go to a lot of trouble to get something, just so they would like it? A simple word of thanks or a touch on the shoulder, would suffice, me thinks.
Had a friend from Kerala. She liked the biryani I made, and wanted to learn the preparation. That and the mysore pak that I make. She would come home and would want me to show her the way to make these two dishes. I was young, and I was a fool! I would not only show her how to make the dishes in my home, but would also go to her home and make them for her. Grrr! She was a good cook, and used to make one dish of fried meat. It was a typical Kerala dish. It would be almost dry and have pieces of coconut (copra) in the dish. The Dude loved that meat, and told me to get the recipe and make it for him. So I asked her for the recipe and asked her to show me the way to prepare it. You should have heard all the excuses, and the fake laugh that went with it.
Oh I don’t have the recipe.
My mother makes the masala and sends it.
It is nothing big. You just have to boil the meat and add the regular masala.
And finally, I cannot give the recipe Zakiah, it is a family thing!!!
Words like arrows dipped in poison, right into my heart!
Like I said, a couple of decades ago, I was a fool. Not that I am any better now! I still run to do things for others, only to have some snide discourteous words thrown at me.
Why can’t people be more gracious?
Sorry about this rant. Just felt like upchucking it. 🙂