While I was driving a scooter at dusk, an insect flew in to my eyes causing severe burning and blinded me for a while. I had to stop on the road side and, though “men don’t cry,” tears rolled down my eyes. What is my reaction? Curse the insect? That insect is dead, entering my eye that came on its flight-path. Effect on me? My eyes were cleansed by tears. May be it is good to shed tear once a while even for men.
I caused the death of an innocent insect, and still curse it for the minor pain and inconvenience to me.
This is an extreme contrast. In everyday life we face milder variations of our inconsiderate thoughts and actions.
Think of a situation when we jump out of a car and rush for a meeting without telling the driver how long it would take. He waits with uncertainty, which makes hours seem eternity. When we step out and take minutes five to find the driver or find him sleeping and not answering the call on mobile phone, we are justifiably irritated – he is expected to be waiting for us whatever is the time, irrespective of if he could get a cup of tea or a plate of meal.
Five years ago on an early morning I stood in a queue for an hour to buy stamp papers at a branch of State Bank of India, the papers needed for documents related with registration of a new company. After I paid for the papers, the clerk on counter asked me to get the company seal in the afternoon to be affixed on the papers. I returned in the afternoon with a round office stamp. The clerk asked a regular stamp with the address of the office. Then it dawned on me that there was nothing official about the stamp. He wanted to save the effort of writing the company name and address in the stamp papers and for that he expected me to spend a couple of hours and trips to the bank. I could not remain polite when he insisted that I had to return with the kind of rubber stamp that will save him a couple of minutes of work.
In many of our relationships we assume a superior role and anoint the dealings with the other party with arrogance. This happens in varying degrees at work place, at home, in transactions in public life – any place – if we do not treat different views, opinions, efforts, and pains equally and fairly.