Shefali Tripathi Mehta, Dec 1, 2013, DHNS:
In the mad rush to win the race of life, courtesy and politeness are given the short shrift. Getting ahead by any means has become more important than acting with grace. Shefali Tripathi Mehta holds a mirror up to our society where refinement, elegance, thoughtfulness and kindness have lost their value.
Every evening, a bunch of kids — boys aged seven to nine — come to play near my window. It is the hour of the day I dread. It’s not the noise — the happy chatter of kids is quite mood-elevating and nostalgia-evoking. It’s the nature of the noise. The children are abusive and expletives that many adults will cringe from using slide off their tongues with such ease that I am stunned. The other thing I notice is that they don’t appear happy playing together. Each one is primarily concerned with wrangling control over others. The timid ones are alienated and bear the brunt of the offensive behaviour.
A new TV and print advertisement has a prominent toothpaste brand run down another popular brand, brazenly displaying the product and its name. Advertising wars are not uncommon, but such unveiled attacks were rare till recently.
Karan Thapar and his television show, the Devil’s Advocate, known for aggressive attacks on guests on the show, used to be an exception, and most people unaware that the format was its chief differentiator, were appalled by his rudeness. Today, every news debate borders on the offensive. No principle or social compunction stops politicians, celebrities, leaders, lawyers — the pillars of our society — from maligning, bad-mouthing, casting aspersions on others to win the war of words.
This aggressive behaviour that we see in our daily dealings slowly corrodes our sensibilities and sensitivity and leads us to a point where crassness does not only stops bothering us, but even seems legit for ends we wish to achieve. The line between being strong and compelling and being abusive and derisive has certainly blurred. Today we don’t raise eyebrows when people are rude and irreverent because it is commonplace. Courtesy and politeness are given the short shrift. In the mad race to stay ahead, we compromise on refinement, elegance, thoughtfulness, courtesy and kindness.
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