We are a nation of rude, boorish people. Take a pause and think before you start feeling all indignant. We are. And I don’t blame us. With so many people competing for limited resources, massive income differentials, an everyday struggle that leaves us sapped and frustrated, there is ample reason for us to not give a damn about our fellow human beings. I mean who cares about others when life for me is such a struggle, right?
Take for instance the crowded food court of a crowded mall last Sunday. People with food trays were constantly looking for places to seat themselves while the seated were zealously guarding their chairs while friends and family were away ordering. Into this chaos came a father with 2 absolutely adorable kids between the ages of 4-6. With 2 trays laden with McDonald’s goodies, they looked for a table. They were lucky to find a table. But there were only 2 chairs. The father seated the children but had no chair for himself. The children needed help being fed so the father too needed a chair. I saw him ask around for extra chairs at every table but with no luck. On the table next to me sat a family of 5. On one chair sat all their shopping bags. I watched interestedly as they watched the father look around for a chair. But not one from their family offered to give up the chair on which they had placed their bags. How rude is that. It’s a simple gesture but I’m surprised they didn’t even think of it.
I can never let these things go by without butting in. So I asked them if they would mind placing their bags on the ground and give up the chair. THE GUY ON THAT TABLE ACTUALLY HESITATED. The woman was smarter. She caught the look of intense irritation developing on my face and immediately said it was ok. But I wasn’t giving up. I pointedly waited till they had placed their bags on the ground and gestured to the father to take away the chair.
It’s not just this incident. I’m increasingly beginning to feel that we are turning more boorish with every passing year. Look at our behavior on the roads. We park in no parking zones, we honk incessantly, we fight in malls, we fight on the roads. And all for what? It leaves us feeling tired, frustrated and unhappy. Trust me. Learn to be a happier, more forgiving citizen. It will only help you.