‘Un’common Wisdom !

At 7.50 in the morning i wait at the lift. Press once. And for a full 3 minutes and change, the lift remains stuck at the previous floor. There is substantial anger that is seeping in me.

I think of ‘sensitive’ people-experiences that i have had in the past. ‘Husband-gets-in-keeps-the-lift-open-for-wife’ types ! Those kinds are numerous in the complex where i stay ! My chest swells with anger. Today, i resolve, i am going to have a few things to say to such ‘sensitive’ husbands and wives, i decide.

The lift opens. There is a lady, with her two children there. The children, all decked for school. Except for the hair. The little girl’s hair is still getting combed. The lady looks up at me, and says, ‘we are sorry’. ‘They have the bus to catch’. My anger dissipates.

I smile. And say, ‘thats not a problem’ !

The lift arrives at the ground level. I point to the door, and say, ‘ after you ‘. She herds the kids out, looks at me and says, ‘thank you’ !

It feels nice. I wonder where my anger went. A few minutes later, as i drive i reflect. Common courtesies are so rare these days, that the most simplest of them : Sorry and Thank You, are so rarer than honest politicians !

In the high rise that we stay in, there are educated & well endowed folks ( with money et al, just in case you thought of something else), who reek perfume and drive mega wheels. And there are the others who would like to belong to this set !

While ‘everything else’ is present in abundance, Common courtesies seem to be in short supply !

To be able to say ‘hello’, to smile, to give way to the elderly, to say thank you & sorry !are simple things to do !

I wonder why the arrival of money dispels courtesy ! I wonder. Thats some thought for the day.

I think i value and practice a fair degree of courtesy. By corollary : I cannot have money and mega wheels right ?!?

Ah ! Now, i know why i cant make that money ! Atleast now, there is a reason !

This morning, wisdom arrived through the lift !

15 thoughts on “‘Un’common Wisdom !

  1. very true friend…
    nice write up..!!


  2. nice read. the perspective is good, with everything, why need courtesy. bt what about understand and wanting to say, that too are sht by ego. its a sad world today.

  3. Jairam says:

    Reminds me of the numerous occassions where my anger has been subsided by one or more of the below-
    – a housekeeping person struggling with his three or more cartons of heavy stuff in the lift
    – an old lady/man struggling to get in and out of the lift
    – a differently abled colleague
    – a mother with more than two toddlers

    I guess this is life’s way of teaching us just that little more patience.


  4. Ganesh says:

    Very nice read, Kavi.

    Though I think common courtesies have less to do with arrival of tons of money than the upbringing and values imparted by parents during the formative years.

  5. You mention folks in ur building being well educated and well endowed. Dont know the “endow” part, but I am convinced that education has nothing to do with it. In our high rise, the lift rings continuously if the door is left open even a centimeter. I live on the top floor and have often seen grown people chitchatting with someone who has one foot in the lift (and everything else outside, so to speak). The lift keeps ringing and buzzing a few feet from where they stand. Doesnt register on any cerebrum.

    It really has something to do with your bringing up. Degrees and finances are almost a disqualification.

    I must say, my household help bai, uneducated etc, has more courtsey and understanding than these folks.

  6. Ms Cris says:

    Ahh if thats the case I will have to stop being so courteous! I could use some money and mega wheels :-p

  7. dinu says:

    big lessons learned from small incidents ..

  8. Aleta says:

    I’m grappling with the idea that it is upbringing or is it wealth? I think it’s a little of both. I know some wealthy people who weren’t born into money but earned it. Those people show common courtesy.

    It’s a sad thought, that people don’t treat each other kindly. We are all the same, human beings. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.

    Wishing you a good day and hoping you find more courtesy along the way.

  9. manuscrypts says:

    the old saying goes that ‘money changes people, just as it changes hands’ .. however, i still think its subjective… like most things in life, it affects you, only if you let it 🙂

  10. Niru says:

    Reminds me of the quote by Stephen Covey “Empathy is the fastest form of human communication.”

    Guess you made new friends today!

    I sincerely hope money has nothing to do with been courteous considering that I have plans to end up rich sooner or later! 🙂

  11. Pearl says:

    Hi, Kavi.

    My perspective? That the world has grown smaller, and within this enforced familiarity grows contempt. People need each other less — or believe they do. Whole segments of society no longer need to rely on others — the threads that have connected us in the past have frayed.

    It is interesting, isn’t it, to speak of the loss of civility, the loss of human connectivity, with someone thousands of miles away?


    And then, of course, some people are just rude because that’s what they grew up with.



  12. HOBO says:

    Tit for Tat – Read or not ?

  13. Kavi says:

    Vinu : Thank you ! Welcome here.

    GP : Thank YOu ! It indeed is a world in need of love & sensitivity to the next door human being !

    jairam : I can clearly see your situations ! CLEARLY ! Thats were i have seen some amazing lack of courtesy too !!

    GAnesh: Thanks Ganesh. it is a bit of both i guess. With who we were and how we were brought up playing a major role !

    ugich Konitari : Thats such a common scence isnt it ?!? LOL ! So common in the indifference. Has it been robbed by education and money ? am not sure. Or was it absent in teh first place ? maybe !

    The story of your ‘bai’ was so touching and deep. Will quote it sometime

    Ms Cris : 😉 So could i !! so could i. But i atleast know of a reason now !

    dinu: Somehow, all my big lessons seem to come from small incidents. Is something wrong with me 😉

    Aleta : Welcome here..I guess that was so convincingly said ! That it requires a bit of both. And thats the bottom line..!

    Manu : Money is so very funny and it has this deep impacting possibilities that it does get scary many a time !

    Niru : Am not sure about the ‘friends’ part. But it sure did feel nice !

    Pearl : Yes..The world has grown smaller in geography and in the minds too ! These are interesting times. To be able to stay more than connected yet being able to live an indifferent life !

    Hobo : didnt quite get that..

  14. Jeevan says:

    ‘She herds the kids out,’ lol! It happens where not, even a smile and greet are hard in complex system, and people skate in there routine.

  15. Pooh! says:

    this has been on my mind since my last trip to India. One of the things I missed a lot during my visit this year is the common courtesy. I mentioned about this to my bro and he said, “you talk like u were born in US, remember u r a Trichy gal afterall” But it is so easy to get used to it. The “please”, the sorries, the excuse-mes are so easy to say and get used to. I missed it. I felt uncomfortable as the cashier at the store stared at me as I was a little slow in transfering things from the cart to the belt. I felt as if I was breaking into a private party when I had to step over the group of supermarket workers decided to take their tea break in the middle of the aisle stocked up with ghee that my mother had on the list… I can go on… I miss the small courtesies and yes it makes one’s day when a stranger says good morning and wishes you a good day

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