Thursday, July 27, 2006

Courtesy common ?

"We often feel that we don't have the time or energy to extend ourselves to others with the small gestures that compose what we call common courtesy. It sometimes seems that this kind of social awareness belongs to the past, to smaller towns and slower times. Yet, when someone extends this kind of courtesy to us, we always feel touched. Someone who lends a helping hand when we are struggling with our groceries makes an impression because many people just walk right by. Even someone who simply makes the effort to look us in the eye, smile, and greet us properly when entering a room stands out of the crowd. It seems these people carry with them the elegance and grace of another time, and we are always thankful for our contact with them. Common courtesy is a small gesture that makes a big difference.

An essential component of common courtesy is awareness and common sense-looking outside yourself to see when someone needs help or acknowledgment. As a courteous person, you are aware that you are walking into a room full of people or that your waiter has arrived to take your order. Then, awareness leads to action. It is usually quite clear what needs to be done-open the door for the woman holding the baby, move your car up two feet so another person can park behind you, acknowledge your sister's shy boyfriend with a smile and some conversation, apologize if you bump into someone. A third component is to give courtesy freely, without expecting anything in return. People may not even take notice, much less return the kindness, but you can take heart in the fact that you are creating the kind of world you want to live in with your actions.

When you are out in the world, remember to be aware of others, lend your hand when one is needed, and give this help without an ulterior motive. Through these small actions, you make this world a better place in which to live."

Another nugget of common wisdom in my inbox courtesy daily om

I do feel that these little gestures are fast vanishing from my life. Maybe its the times I live in or the people I deal with , but when courtesy is shown, I appreciate it all the more, maybe because of its rarity. I do wish for the return of a better time. Amen

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Much too Perfect

Was in lab today and as is usual, was browsing blogs and came across an awesome read.
Am not implying my own perfection here, but quiet a lot in this post struck close to home. Do read.

Home is...

For a few days now, I've been downloading books and then reading them on my comp. on the monorail. As I've mentioned earlier, the monorail has picture windows that afford a nice view of the neighbourhood we pass by, and, the neighbourhood is beautiful, each second of the commute and each view is a Patel Shot.
But , however beautiful a thing might be , if you see it twice a day, every day for 20 minutes, you can get bored of it. Hence the reading. And that brings me to the point of this post. Sometimes during my reading, when I lift my head, it takes me a while to catch my breath- the view can still take it away. After having caught the breath, the first thought in my head is, " this is home."
And thats surprising, considering my lack of proficiency in nihongo(japanese) and the resulting frustrations. I've been abroad for most of my life , and this is the first time I find myself feeling like a foreigner. Most day to day transactions here are in nihongo and I've been conducting them with a mix of my abyssmal to absent nihongo and body language and mime. A prime example is the lady at the community store at work. I get in, say ohaiyo(good morning) and then proceed to get my bottle of gatorade. Once I bring it to the register, the lady actually tries to make conversation. Through a lot of mime, she gets her point across and I too mime my response added with a lot of hai's and smiles. Totally and absolutely back to basics. Communication at its most primitive and heartfelt. The one time, I don't mind having a face that mirrors what I feel and the ability to smile easily.
Not saying, that there aren't any rude japanese. Some have totally driven me up a wall with the pride they feel for their language and the resultant lack of will to help me out. But for the most part, the people here are the nicest I've met anywhere else.
That makes me wonder, I can be hopping mad at one japanese and be totally ready to pull rank and show him his place but curb that instinct , remembering the 10-15 that have gone out of their way to help me out. For the most part I am comfortable , but, am I home yet?