Resolution 2009: Rude or Phony

A guest article by my Mentor/Friend/Uncle Mr. Sudhir Kekre. I am sure you are going to enjoy new/different thoughts here.

As the year 2008 draws close, the New Year ushers in ; albeit quieter than usual carrying the hangover of recession and bomb blast.

There’s a sense of relief more than joy that 2008 is over.

Nevertheless we have a new year and now its time to take stock.

Everyone must imbibe at least one good quality each year. Something that would be a value addition. Most of us are adults. Think if we had started early we would have at least more than a dozen good ones to be proud of.

I have been globe trotting for almost a decade now; straddled three continents and worked across various cross sections of people across various Nations.

A common complaint I hear is that Indians are rude. Something which I vehemently deny.

On introspection and discussion with many Indians I find that our perception about politeness is different. We have a notion that being honest at the cost of everything is always correct. We generally also lack a sense of humor ; perhaps because we take life too seriously. Also we feel that the western people are phony , they believe in flattery and are artificial. Something which is not true. Flattery is not always bad. Specially if it brings happiness and joy. A sense of humor can help in a big way in making you popular and also furthering your career.

I give below a few experiences and leave it to you to decide.

“Madam , is your father a thief” the American woman’s cheek went red. She was furious. the other members of her group looked at her strangely. This was Agra railway station. And she was being stalked by a skinny teenager. “ how dare you” she said her eyes smoldering. “ because madam , he stole the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes” he said, his eyes twinkling mischievously. Now the whole group was roaring with appreciation. The boy was hired as a guide that very moment leaving a very very competitive field. This was narrated to me by an American friend.

Once I was having a drink in Taj residency in Hyderabad. I saw the barman mixing a drink . “ Margarita “ I smiled at him. It’s a tequila based drink very popular in Miami , my home for the past few years. The barman mixed the drink expertly and giving me a smile gave me a small shot to taste. “ Hmm” I said “smacking my lips appreciatively . “ you could make a Mexican proud.”. The barman beamed with pride and left with the order.

My friend eyed me suspiciously . “ Is it really that good.” “ little weak “ I confessed. “ lacks the punch of the real one”. My friend was annoyed. He said this is the problem with you guys who live abroad. He could have improved if you had told the truth. “ he didn’t quite understand. The barman was looking me with professional pride which as a guest I couldn’t shatter. Besides I was no expert. There was no way I could advise him on what was missing. Least I could do was make his day.

Another time I remember I met one guy from Honduras in the swimming pool in my community in Miami. He said that lot of people mistake him for an Indian . I immediately agreed and said that you know when you were walking in I thought hey there comes one of my Indian brothers. His face lit with joy. The same friend derisively commented

“ Even a blind man can tell he doesn’t look Indian. You are phony!”

So guys call me phony! Call me a liar. Call me what you will. But if one lie can bring even a little happiness I shall keep doing it.

I think of that American woman who was on a Vacation in Agra. Vacation must be full of fun and joy. And if that skinny guide spiked his marketing with a little flattery he didn’t do any harm to anyone? I am sure the lady will go back and tell happy tales about our great land.

So guys, if you agree make this your resolution. Bring happiness and cheer in others life- a little deception or a little flattery will be forgiven.

Here’s wishing you all – the loveliest and most beautiful people on the planet - a great and a happy 2009.

Now WHAT? At least I didn’t call your father a thief!!!!!!!!!


Please feel free to express your thoughts/comments.