The other day I received a call from a new number. The caller was definitely not a local guy. When I picked up the call, the caller introduced himself as Colonel X from New Delhi. He had been transferred to Hyderabad recently and was looking for an apartment and had seen my advertisement. I have an apartment in the defence colony.
I gave him the address and informed him that he could meet the caretaker. Well, he said, he was here just for a day and in that too he would be spending half a day in his office and scout for a house before returning back.
Now I was staying with a friend almost like 15 miles away. it is impossible to go for every possible tenant. But when you think of Army, you have a different mindset. Besides this man was coming from another city and had a flight in the evening. I agreed to meet him. He suggested 2.00pm.
The image one has about army is that of punctuality and etiquettes. I was there exactly at 1.50 a good ten minutes before. The Good man reached there at least thirty minutes late leaving me roasting in the blazing sun. No apology came forth.
After seeing the apartment, he promised to call me by evening when he reached New Delhi.
After a fortnight, the apartment has been occupied, but I am still waiting for his call.
Today I don’t even remember his name but that he was a colonel in the Army.
Maybe the good man may have thought that I wasn’t doing anyone a favour. After all I was looking for a tenant. But I was indeed doing him a favour. Besides, it would have cost him just a phone call to create a good impression. I am mature enough to understand that one man doesn’t make an army, but it still left me bitter.
Young Rajat has just completed his Engineering. He is a sharp boy. He explains that Good manners are an outdated concept. People consider you a softie if you’re polite. He may have a point in a few circumstances. But to totally call Etiquettes as outdated would be not proper.
The movies stars spouting vulgar dialogues, cricketers abusing on the ground, politicians rudely shouting each other in debates, may be helpful in garnering TRPs, but I seriously wonder if it does any good to the society.
I have worked in the Corporate sector for more than two decades and I confidently state that it is still old fashioned in that it values etiquettes as much as qualifications and skills. More people lose jobs on Wall Street for not being punctual or wearing a tie with an improper knot than not being qualified enough.
Lest someone has any doubts, Young Rajat is a perfectly polite young man. Perhaps the ‘impoliteness’ is his façade to counter the big bad world.
Fortunately my experience with the Manipal students has been excellent. I found most of them extremely charming and polite.
As recent as last week, I received a request to be a judge for one of the prestigious associations in Manipal. The letter was dipped in politeness and elegance. I felt charmed by the young man’s email. How could a sucker like me, who has a fetish for etiquettes, refuse!
Nevertheless, it would be interesting to read counter arguments too.