Published on May 16th, 2008 | by drkkr3
We arrived at Chennai on a hot, summer, weekday morning. My friend and I hired a taxi to take us to M/s.Mind studio -Brand Building Consultancy where we had to attend a ‘Business Convention’ at 10-15 a.m. sharp. We were in a hurry and I was fretting and furning as the driver maneuvered through the peak-hour traffic. The mercury rose in tandem with the sun, which was edging closer to the zenith of its trajectory. Though the taxi was air conditioned, we could see the tickles of sweat flowing down the faces of riders on two wheelers and see their shirt backs soaked in sweat. Everywhere drivers, motor-cyclists, scooterists, moped-riders, heavier vehicles and even cyclists were maneuvering to get ahead of others in the rat-race that is the synonym for peak hour traffic. We reached our destination with hardly 15 minutes to spare for the commencement of the convention, after innumerable hold ups at traffic signals. I was not in the best of moods and was therefore amazed to hear my friend tell the taxi-driver, “Thank you! You did a good job and I appreciate your driving in these conditions”. The driver too looked stunned. “Are you late for your work sir,” he asked, as though he couldn’t believe his ears. “No I really appreciate your driving. I couldn’t have got here in time in this traffic, My friend said in a reassuring voice.”thathan- thank you sir” the driver stuttered , as though still unable to believe what was happening. And then as realization that the compliment was intended and genuine sank in, his face beamed out a smile and in a firm and grateful voice said, “Thanks a lot sir!. Have a good day sir!”. “Are you mad, “I asked, after the taxi had left. “No!” he said with a smile and added, “But I have made one man happy and started a ‘chain reaction’ of goodwill and pleasantness”. “You have done what(!)”, I exclaimed. “Well!” said My friend, “A taxidriver’s usual day is full of complaints and frayed tempers. You saw his face and his reaction, when I complimented him. I’m sure he will be in a a pleasanter frame of mind for at least a little more time. Naturally he will transfer a little of his mood to his next few passengers and each of them in turn to a few others. ‘Voila!’ We have a chain reaction that would make the nuclear chain reaction seem tame by comparison. “Surely you don’t think that you can make the world a pleasanter place single handed – do you,” I countered. Pat, came his answer,”No! but neither can a candle dispel all the darkness in the world. Yet a candle can throw a limited patch of flickering,pleasant, useful light. I too can throw a small patch of consideration and its derivative pleasantness and by doing so motivate those around me to do the same for others. By this time, we had reached the hall, in which the conference was to take place and had to concentrate on other things. In all probability I would have forgotten the whole conversation but for a strange coincidence.One of the executives attending the convention invited us to his flat. It was a ground floor flat and the postman, who was making the evening delivery had just put the letters into the flat’s letter box. I was surprised to hear our host’s septuagenarian father say, ‘Thank you” in a pleasant voice.I put it down to the meaningless formality of an older generation, until I noticed the postman’s face light up with a smile as he answered the courtesy with a heavily accented, “Valecome Saar [Welcome Sir].” My mind traveled down memory lane to the English classes during my school days. One of the essays that were prescribed for us was A.G.Gardiner’s “On Saying Please”, in which the author points out that the consideration that we show for others through appropriate expressions is the lubricant, which makes inter-personal relationships smoother. Like many of the indirect lessons on human relations that our school and university sylabii contain, I had like many others studied it for the examination and forgotten it thereafter. A teaspoon full of sugar makes coffee, which is by nature bitter, enjoyable. A modicum of consideration and an iota of appreciation dispel the bitterness of life and make it pleasanter. Hence let us bring a little sunshine into the lives of those around us and form a chain reaction of consideration and appreciation for what others around each of us do.