Hu­mil­ity es­sen­tial virtue for achiev­ing bliss

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - Punjab/haryana - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ter­[email protected]­dus­tan­ Dr Vidhu Mo­han vid­hu­mo­han­[email protected] The writer teaches psy­chol­ogy at Pun­jabi Univer­sity, Pa­tiala


“M a’am, aren’t we do­ing our duty prop­erly?” I was ob­vi­ously not ex­pect­ing such a ques­tion from the staff at a mall that tal­lies the cart items with the bill. I was getting my gro­cery items checked when a woman on duty asked me this ques­tion. The young woman was al­most in tears. With­out wait­ing for my an­swer, she con­tin­ued with what she had to say. She ex­pressed her opin­ion quite quickly: “Af­ter at­tain­ing higher ed­u­ca­tion, peo­ple (cus­tomers) don’t treat those low in sta­tus with re­spect.”

It didn’t take me long to un­der­stand that she was talk­ing about a cou­ple who was be­fore me in the queue. Ac­tu­ally, she was do­ing her duty con­sci­en­tiously and check­ing each item against the bill. Ir­ri­tated, the cou­ple called it “rub­bish”. I am a reg­u­lar cus­tomer at the store and have seen the staff at the gate do­ing its duty de­vot­edly. I tried to com­fort her. I told her that she was per­form­ing her duty dili­gently, and her job was highly re­spon­si­ble and has to be done with great care and cau­tion. It is be­cause of her ef­forts that cases of shoplift­ing could be checked. My words of com­fort calmed her down and I could see her ex­pres­sions change. Be­fore leav­ing, I wished her happy Lohri (it was the fes­ti­val of bon­fire the next day). This ges­ture brought a smile on her chubby face and mine too.

Though I started back, I knew the in­ci­dent would not leave my thoughts un­til I find an ex­pla­na­tion for the im­po­lite be­hav­iour of the cou­ple. Does ed­u­ca­tion re­ally make you for­get be­ing con­sid­er­ate and po­lite? No, ab­so­lutely not. Then what is it that leads you to be dis­cour­te­ous and ar­ro­gant. There are two plau­si­ble ex­pla­na­tions that came to my mind. First, it’s our value sys­tem that de­ter­mines how we be­have in a nor­mal sit­u­a­tion like the one men­tioned above. Our day-to­day ac­tions are also, to a great ex­tent, a re­flec­tion of our val­ues that we ba­si­cally learn from our home/fam­ily. Sec­ond, it could also be be­cause of lack of sen­si­tiv­ity to­wards oth­ers. In­sen­si­tive peo­ple do not re­alise that their words can hurt some­one. I was sat­is­fied with the two rea­sons for the time be­ing and was re­minded of the quote by Ir­win Him­mel: “No one has ever made him­self great by show­ing how small some­one else is”.

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