Tag Archives: Being an Asshole

Blog: On being an asshole

I hate assholes. Those assholes who walk in the middle of the roads showing their hand to stop cars like they are Ironman or something. Those assholes who thrust their shopping carts in front of yours at supermarkets pretending they had no idea where the line is (Of course you wouldn’t, you are a DICK!). Those assholes who will inch their cars in front of you in between a traffic jam so they can overtake you when the light is green (And then I inch forward mine because, you know, Fuck you!). Recently, this one asshole came close to hitting a pedestrian because he was reversing and hadn’t cared to look in his mirror if anyone was behind him. And to top it all, when the pedestrian started shouting at him, the asshole started shouting back saying it was his fault!!

Umm.. that asshole was me. After the pedestrian moved on, I realised that because of the assholes around me, I’ve become an asshole too. I do my ‘Thank you’s to everyone who does something nice, but I am conveniently not nice enough myself, because ‘why should I be when no one is, right?’ Well, that’s a really shitty way of looking at life and I liked myself better before the city made me an asshole too. So I started this personal experiment.

From that day on, every time an asshole is stranded on the road because he/she is crossing in the middle of traffic, I stop and let them go. Whenever someone pretends that they didn’t know where the line started, I let them go ahead of me anyway. Whenever someone shoves their car in front of mine, I actually reverse my car a little so they can go straight ahead.

At first, I found it amusing to watch the surprised expressions of those people who would just be confused and perhaps even suspicious at what’s happening. ‘Why is this asshole being nice? That makes no sense!’ But for every one person who’d not care about someone being nice to them, there’d be three people who’d smile and say a polite ‘Thank you’. And you know what, there’d also be that odd person every once a while who’d actually feel guilty for being an asshole, and be nice back to me and let me go ahead!

Seeing them, I realised that just like me, they were being assholes because they too think that the only way of getting something done in this city is by being one. That there’s really no point in being nice anymore, because you’d ‘finish last’ like all nice guys do. But you know what? Just like me, they are wrong too. And I know that because they smiled. And I know that because I smiled back. And I know that what started as a random ‘altruistic’ experiment is now actually a very selfish one, because I feel SO GOOD by seeing them smile! I feel awesome every time I’m nice because not only when I give out a little goodwill, I’m getting quite a lot back.

And strangely, I’ve now started enjoying those frustrating drives in traffic jams. I’ve stopped losing my shit every time someone breaks the queue. I’m generally happier and calmer now because my mood does not depend anymore on whether people around me are assholes. Because I know it’s not really their fault: by being assholes ourselves, we have been breeding assholes in our city, and in our society.

I don’t know how long this will last (or if it’s the side effects of the drugging  – all this started much before though), but I’ve started enjoying life in this ever-busy, overcrowded, always-in-a-hurry city just a little more. Give it a try… the world already has enough assholes.. and being nice is actually quite a lot of fun! 

 

Note: This post was first published on September 24, 2013. 

Link: http://www.facebook.com/tanejamainhoon/posts/10151855968658618?stream_ref=10

Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).

© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

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On Being Nice

December 2, 2013: Met a petrol pump attendant today who inspired me. He was an old man, with a happy face. He knocked politely on my window and asked me to check the ‘zeroes’, all the while smiling, informing me why it was important to ‘be aware’. He then took my debit card to charge me, but since it required a pin, came back and requested in the politest of tones if it wouldn’t be much trouble for me to step out of the vehicle to put in the pin. Once the transaction issued a receipt and I thanked him, he asked me to wait, while he quickly got a stapler to staple the debit card receipt with the petrol receipt and gave it to me respectfully on a writing board. He then smiled again while he bid me a great evening.

This was a man who wasn’t just extremely professional and efficient and doing his job to the best of his ability, but a man who exuded warmth and generosity in perhaps his umpteenth dealing of the day. Not only did the man ensure that his customer was satisfied, he also made sure that he extended a genial civility to the human being in front of him. This was a man who, just through the human decency that is so utterly lacking in people today, made my day. His name was Ketan.

It’s so easy to be nice, is it not? It only takes a smile, a warm ‘Thank You’, an affectionate ‘Please’ or a general kindness, which shouldn’t be too difficult, right? Why do we, then, not be like Ketan, when it’s easy, it’s nice, and it will make everyone’s day? Why don’t we extend common courtesy to everyone we meet? Why are we so eager to close the lift and stop the next person coming in, or walk inside a door without holding it open for the next person who is just a few feet away from us, or give our gratitude to anyone who offers us a service?

For that matter, why do we haggle for a couple of rupees with the sabziwala at his thela when we wouldn’t dare be caught doing that in a public supermarket? Why don’t we give a mere Rs 20 to the delivery man when ordering food for 500 bucks? Why do we ensure the auto rickshaw driver pays us back the exact change when it wouldn’t make our life any better but may definitely make his?

If, at 60+, I can be even half as happy doing the job I love as Ketan is (whatever that job may be), and if I wouldn’t hold all the shit the world has had to offer in those years against the next human being I meet in my line of work, I’d consider myself successful. Because really, as Ketan showed me today, a successful life isn’t one that’s earned with money, but one that’s earned with respect and love, and a little bit of niceness. That’s what Ketan had to offer to me today, and that’s what I offered him back, and hope to do for as long as I possibly can. And if all of us do the same, wouldn’t the world just be a slightly more happy place to live in? Thank you, Ketan