The other day, at my local library, I saw a little girl approaching the heavy glass front door. Now, this door is one of those -push-or-pull-with-all-your-might-contraptions, you know the kind where you push when you're supposed to pull, and vice versa. I knew that little girl wouldn't be able to budge it, so I moved forward and held it open for her. And right behind her, breezed in her mom, dressed in casual pants and shirt and probably in her early 30s. And probably at least five years younger than me. So there I am standing there holding the door open, and there's the young mom, walking in happily, with not so much as by your leave. As if I wasn't there at all. I felt like a doorknob.
Whatever happened to little courtesies? If a stranger opened the door for me, let alone for my child, I would thank that person. But no, not this young mom. So now, that little girl will grow up thinking it's fine to not say "thank you" when someone does something for her. Sad.
That experience left a bad taste but it's not just me growing old. The world is an uncaring place. I have a travel agent friend who works extremely hard. Her job does have quite a bit of travel--for instance, one trip involved 10 days in South Africa and boy, that was hard!! The trips abroad are fun but not frequent. Her daily work involves ticketing, planning trips (from the best airfares, to hotel/taxi bookings) for her clients, processing visas, and often, checking if clients' passports are valid. "Sometimes I have clients mailing me at 1 am or 2 am demanding immediate action. Others think that I am supposed to do their work on Sundays too, or even if I am actually ill and at home. Yes, getting the details done is my job, but not once do my clients say 'thank you' for all the work I do. That is what gets me down," she tells me.
In the movie Maine Pyar Kiya, a young Salman (with real hair intact, but shirtless, as usual), tells his young love, Bhagyashree (who had lovely hair, incidentally!), that "Friendship mein, no sorry, no thankyou". That line was a huge hit too. Just like the movie.
But for me saying 'thank you', and 'excuse me', and 'sorry', does matter. Okay, maybe I am growing old, but these little courtesies are important. For me, it means I care. About the people I interact with and the world I live in.