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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016
Shilpa Bhasin Mehra
"A spade and a kind word should not be allowed to rust."

I often wonder when people boast of their generous nature and the charities they fund. For me the word 'generous' has a larger meaning that includes kind words. What happens to the generosity of people when it comes to being nice and kind to others? Is generosity only confined to cutting a cheque for a preferred charity? I think not. A person with meager means can be generous too with his actions and words. Like we say in cash or in kind. I think the same formula applies to generosity. We can be generous in cash and also in kind.

In today's age, where time is of essence, people are curt and blunt and to the point, so as to hurt the other person. Politeness and courtesies are being replaced with a quick wave of the hand. The same busy bee people have all the time to talk to people of importance and be completely free for the influential. The people who face the brunt of such curtness are the not so important ones. It's sad, how our attitude and behaviour changes depending on whom we are talking to or dealing with. Now-a-days it's tough to say whether he/she is basically a polite person, because the degree of warmth and politeness varies from zero to hundred.

We are humans and cannot be the same to everyone, but the shocking part is the huge difference in our attitude to different people. The difference is not subtle as in degree but it is like a pendulum swing, more like Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. It is even sadder that we tend to lose our temper with our family and close people and keep our good manners for the outsiders. We don't think twice before being rude to our close ones. But we are so prompt in saying sorry to the outside world.

We will often tell our family and friends, "I have heard it before or why are you repeating yourself?" But if a person of some importance is repeating his tale for the umpteenth time, we will smile and hear it as if it were the first time. Such disparity is sad and it seems that consistency in our behaviour has been put on the back burner as far as human relationships are concerned.

We have read so many quotations and stories in our moral science class in school. But they seem to have been forgotten. I would like to reiterate them, just to serve as gentle reminders. We have heard them before, but they have possibly slipped out of our mind, in the hustle bustle of life. Some of them come to my mind, I don't remember the Authors or the exact words, but the content remains intact.

  • Never underestimate the power of a kind word or deed.
  • Don't say you don't have enough time. You have the same number of hours as Leonardo Da Vinci, Mother Teresa, Albert Einstein and Helen Keller, to name only a few of the great people.
  • A person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated. So your kind words will go a long way in making that person feel special.
  • When narrating their tale, let them have the stage, don't steal their moment.
  • Use the golden words, "please, sorry and thank you" a lot.
  • The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.

Some things go with the territory and thank God for that. The legal profession is essentially of a formal nature, hence good language and courtesies are an integral part of it. The lawyers treat the members of their legal fraternity, especially their seniors with a lot of respect. The judges are addressed in the traditional manner of "Your Lordship", and the "Honorable Judges". The clients are treated with respect and dignity, since these are essential pre-requisites of the legal services rendered by the lawyers. Correspondence is still of a polite formal nature with all the i's dotted and t's slashed. It is one of the few professions that is struggling and I must say, successfully managing to keep its formal language intact in spite of the onslaught of slangs and abbreviations.

I would like to sum up in the most apt words of William Penn, "I expect to pass through life but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again."

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