I wonder many times as to how my behaviour with others will impact me.  I have seen in my life and career that many people get away with rude behaviour.  Sometimes people in power and authority think that have a right to behave rudely.  This happens both at home, work environment and society. Let us try to explore why this happens and what is the impact. 

At home, as I grow into an adult and become successful in my career, I tend to believe that I can boss around in the house.  I tend to take my family members for granted and sometimes even my parents.  This further makes me short tempered and unpredictable.  In some families, irrespective of both husband and wife working, there is a sense of superiority in either of us.  We are intolerant to the success of the other person and live in a make believe world. We do not realise how our behaviour as adults impacts the psychology of our own children.

If we move to the work place, the situation is not very different.  As we grow in the organisational hierarchy, we tend to believe we become demi God.  We treat our colleagues with disdain rather than human beings.  We tend to show not enough respect to people down the hierarchy.  It can result in simple courtesies not being extended to our colleagues.  It could be like not wishing back to our colleagues, when they wish us.  It could also mean not listening to junior colleagues or dictating our way through key decisions.

This tendency reflects in societal behaviours too.  People in positions of power whether in organisations, politics or other institutions tend to get egoistic.  They take everyone around them for granted.  Pride and ego dominates their behaviour.  They get away with this sort of antics as long as they are in power.  The moment they lose power, they become cowards and they do not realise how much they have hurt people till they get hurt themselves.

In all these situations, what is common is that power and behaviour seems to be directly correlated.  As power seeps into the human body, our behaviour tends to get from bad to worse.  So, it is up to us to realise this change and keep ourselves grounded and humble.  You may get respected as long as you wield power.  But, it is critical to remember that people respect your position rather than yourself.  In real life,  people respect those with character and humility.  Your words are more important than your deeds.    

All these situations signify that as parents, leaders or citizens our behaviour impacts our future generations.  Our words and actions determine our character.  Our character determine our actions.  Our actions trigger changes in society.  It is up to us to behave in a way we want our future generations to do.  Our behaviour reflects and impacts the behaviour of the younger generation.  It is like our images are reflected in the mirror every time we peep into it.

Let us behave the way we want others to do with us every day.

S Ramesh Shankar

Sea Change

We watch people around us every day.  Most people grow from childhood to adulthood and their behaviour and actions are quite predictable.  We form our own opinion about them based on their behaviours and generally it is quite as expected.  But, sometimes people change and this change is unbelievable.  We sometimes feel that even animals are more predictable than human beings. I would like to share some examples from my life to illustrate this better.

We had a driver in Bangalore.  He was very sincere and committed to work.  He was a bachelor and was quite self disciplined.  I even enabled him to buy a motorcycle by helping him with a vehicle loan from a bank.  He continued to work well .  He was an occasional smoker and may be had an occasional drink too.  But, all of a sudden he changed.  He went home for a vacation and when he returned, he turned to alchohol and his behaviour turned from bad to worse.  He started absenting frequently and became less disciplined at work.  I moved to another location and hence he started working with someone else.  But, after he moved away from me he stopped repaying the auto loan and his life became quite a mess.  I could not believe such a young and committed boy transforming himself in such a dramatic way.

We had a servant cum cook at home.  She was very honest and hard working.  She had a smiling face and was punctual and dedicated to her work.  She supported my wife almost on everything in my house.  She was married and her husband worked as a Gardner in our own campus. Both their children studied well and we were happy to support them in their education.  But, suddenly one day when my wife and me had gone on a vacation, she ended up stealing some ornaments and when confronted denied doing so.  Further, she deserted her husband and eloped with someone else and this again was unbelievable.  By the grace of God, her husband continued to be honest and dedicated and she returned to him after her paramour ditched her after some months.  

In the third instance, we had a colleague who was quite close to us.  Our families were close friends and we visited each other almost every weekend.  All of a sudden he stopped talking to us .  He avoided us and would not visit us on weekends.  He had advised his wife and daughter not to talk to us or visit us.  We found it strange since there was no conflict between us nor any misunderstanding.  I tried to talk to him to sort out any wrong notions but he ignored all my efforts in this direction.  It was unbelievable but true.  It took years for him to realize that there was nothing wrong between us and today he has started talking to us again after almost a decade.

So, life is unpredictable and sometimes people around you go through a sea change.  Many a time, you can never understand why this happens.  It is very difficult to accept it as a reality.  All your efforts to get to the root cause gives you no clue.  You then leave it to time to heal itself.  Sometimes it works and at other times it does not.  But, it is intriguing and unpredictable.

This is life and we have to take it as it comes.

S Ramesh Shankar