It had to happen. It happened yesterday. After three years!

Yesterday as I was climbing down stairs, engrossed in thoughts, suddenly I heard an enthusiastic “Namaskaar”(a salutation in Hindi). It was one of the sweepers, an older employee of the hostel. I had vaguely registered something to be new on seeing him, but the stream of thoughts in my head, had not allowed me to quite place it.

I smiled back and asked him, “kaheen gaye huae thae kya aap?” [You had been gone somewhere?].

My first instinctive response was to say back namastey (synonymous with namaskaar, but less formal), and ask how he was. But then something held me back.

He replied back, “Apne gaaon gaye thae; ek mahine ke liye.” [Had gone to my native village; for one month].

“Haan yehi soch rahaa tha ki aap dikh nahin rahe thae bahut dinon se. Chaliye achchhaa hai, aap apne ghar ho aaye! Chaliye, chalta hoon” [That’s what I was thinking. Had not seen you for many days. Good, you paid visit to your home! Bye for now] I smiled and moved on.

I was very pleasantly suprised that he had remembered me, and made it a point to greet. I could distinctly make out his happiness to see me.

He is much older than me, and I had always been quite courteous towards him.

But what had kept me hesitant to greet him with as much warmth as I actually felt?

It was the fear of developing such a strong rapport that I would not be able to say ‘no’, if he someday asked for money.

But I wondered, was my fear rational? What was the point if it was keeping me from feeling a fellow human’s warmth?

I thought again. Why was he so happy to see me? By then, I had already entertained the possibility of his projected warmth to be insincere. Or maybe my courteous behavior could have actually drawn him to me.

But all of a sudden I realized I was not liking these arguments in my head. I was feeling guilty for thinking all this about him. I felt tired of fighting against the happiness I wanted to feel.

Because of past experiences, I have become suspicious of people and always think of their ulterior motives to guard myself against deceit and hurt. But this guard had brought with it a latent fatigue, and yesterday, after three years, it showed.

With a new spring in my step, I smiled at the situation, at my foolishness, and eventally, also at the Hostel in charge, who I think of as cunning and do not usually talk to.

He was suprised. Pleasantly! πŸ™‚

22 thoughts on “It had to happen. It happened yesterday. After three years!

  1. Nice post. you are quiet right we have become a bit suspicious of good activities, cause of all the deciet around, Remind me of a episode I had.. I think we all need to lighten up a bit.. I do the same thing, sometimes and then feel guilty about the way I reacted..


  2. Very very interesting, we have had long drawn out conversations, and I’d probably have to say for myself, I need to be less lightened up about people and good situations. Every good situation strengthens my belief in the goodness of man πŸ™‚



  3. Ketan,

    I could relate with you as I was reading this post. I have avoided people/have not responded to them well; due to the fear of their ulterior move. And it has happened quite few times. Later I feel bad about the behavior.

    We need to be open and not be suspicious all the time πŸ™‚

  4. okay.. u stopped from wishing him becoz he might just take your respectful gesture as friendly approach and the guy may ask you for some money tom or it cud be a favour also? hmm… how would you feel if someone doubts your approach like that? or if someone responds to your hello as ‘Hi, how r u, but pls don’t get any ideas about me getting friendly with you just becoz I responded to your greetings’ tomorrow you might need my notes or want me to help you out with something.

    Or if you got a new colleague who approaches you with a nice cordial hello.. doubt him too becoz he might want to take your place? Get over it.. the world doesn’t go on like this.. if you doubt someone harmless, respectful approach ( u did talk to him but with a doubt in mind) then be prepared to accept it also from someone!

    I take this same auto almost every day the driver who would be of the same age as my dad make sures I reach my office safely and I pay him the regular 80 bucks. But becoz he is older than me I make sure to greet him with a Namestey every morning and he responds back with a big smile and a blessing! If he even ever asks me for some help It will be dire need and i am sensible enuf to evaluate it and do the best I can…everything is not equal to materialistic bargains

  5. Personal Opinion:

    The window will be opened when it has to.
    I guess our [read my] body has severl doors and windows and they are [will ] opening one by one and same goes true for all.

    one of my doors opened when I was in Pune and believe me that was a one big fucking door that enbaled me to see smthng great n beautiful.

  6. I suppose we’re always a little wary of what impression we might give people, especially after a bad experience.

    Its completely understandable.

    But sometimes, its also important to remember to give people the benefit of doubt.

    However, you already learned that. πŸ™‚

  7. πŸ™‚ yeah i can emphatisize with the feeling..but i am more vary of someone in a “higher financial status” since they always have some stuff to sell and they have a way of making me feel poor for not choosing to buy something i don’t want.
    on the contrary, those who are in a financially lower stage are proud, and i have found very few go into the financial angle.

  8. @ Bikram:

    Welcome to the blog, and thanks for your comment!

    I’m only 24, so don’t know how people used to be in the past. So can’t say for sure if people have become more suspicious or have remained the same.

    I guess, with greater competition and growing population, there is scarcity of resources. And in face of this scarcity, even a small loss gets magnified to seem like a huge loss. And this would loss would thus affect us much more negatively than if the resources would be abundant.

    But personally, I’m not a very suspicious person by nature. So due to numerous past experiences, I’ve learned to try to maintain distance from people.

    I am very likely to continue with my attitude of being circumspect in dealing with people. Just that this once, after a long time I realized what’s the price I’m paying for this high index of suspicion.

    Take care.

    @ Newbie Mommy:

    Thanks and welcome back to the blog! πŸ˜‰

    Yes, I understand what you say. But my version of the statement would be:

    “Every good situation strengthens my belief in the goodness of man. And every bad situation strengthens my belief in the vileness of man.

    Isn’t that the most honest way to be? πŸ™‚

    Thanks for dropping by! Your dropping by somewhat strengthened my belief in the goodness of women! πŸ˜‰


    @ Insignia:

    If you were me,
    You’d smile to see
    One ‘B’ over another ‘B’

    Well, that little rhyme has a reason to ‘be’. πŸ˜‰

    That reason is for you to make out.

    But then I won’t talk in terms of we ‘ought’ or ‘should’ when it comes to opening up to people.

    Some people do open up, but are insincere.

    Also, as humans we keep on evolving. As I told Bikram above, my nicety has been taken advantage of too many times. So I’ve started taking time in trusting people. I too always remain suspicious of ulterior motives. And it’s helped me a LOT.

    Of course, I do ensure that I don’t end up being rude to people. Even in this case, I was quite cordial with the sweeper. Just that while dealing with him, these were the stream of thoughts that were flowing. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the comment!


  9. @ Pallavi:

    Thanks for your response!

    There are two major things that I’d tell you.

    I don’t suffer from that kind of paranoia that you’ve suggested. Really. πŸ™‚ I don’t mind helping people at all. It is only money that bothers me, ‘cuz right now whatever money I’m having is my parents’.

    The second thing is quite honestly, if someone who doesn’t know me much eyes me with suspicion, then I’d be alright with it. My interaction with this sweeper hadn’t been much. I don’t know him, and he doesn’t know me, except for one or two words/sentences we might speak on daily basis. πŸ™‚

    I would like to earn trust. I don’t want people to trust me blindly. A blind trust cannot be values simply ‘cuz one trusting thus would respect exactly to the same degree a trustworthy as well as deceptive person.

    I hope I’ve been able to clarify the situation.

    Thanks for your concerned insight!


    @ Tarun:

    Quite ironically, I could get your metaphorical comment the best! Or at least, so I feel right now! πŸ˜‰ Can’t get out the lurking ‘suspicion’ that there could still be some communication gap. πŸ˜›

    The things is this particular door (of trusting people) in my case always used to be open. And there used to be a lot of gatecrashing and trespassing. So, I myself had been keeping it shut. 😦 Will still be keeping it shut. It’s for my personal protection.

    @ diaboli:

    I’m afraid, since I don’t know of your religious beliefs/interest in philosophy/knowledge of science, my comment would be rather long.

    1. ‘Evolution/nature’ is not a sentient being with intention et al. So ‘evolution’ does not have fixed goal.

    2. In evolution, there’s no such thing as absolute strong/weak species. Weaknesses and strengths are relative to environmental conditions.

    3. The concept that ‘stronger’ organisms’ alleles must get conserved applies only when there’s scarcity. Fortunately, the human race has progressed beyond that stage, where owing to scarcity, we need to harm/kill others. If you’ll see right through the human history, the level of barbarism has decreased. This is not ‘cuz physical strength decreased, but ‘cuz scarcity has come down. So our ‘calibration’ of what’s being nice v/s rude has changed. There was a time, when killing other men and raping their wives/daughters/children used to bring glory. But we’re living in happier times ‘cuz all that has stopped, which in turn has happened ‘cuz we’re more prosperous today!……

  10. ……So whereas in the olden days, simply being in possession of a sword, and not killing an unarmed enemy would be deemed as highly generous, in today’s world, simply not responding warmly enough to someone’s vivacious approach would be deemed as ‘rude’ depending on the social context.

    So what I want to tell you is, despite this growing trend towards nicety (which, BTW, is again on a wane), human race is rather improving. Simply because how nice we’re with each other is an indication of overally prosperity of the society.

    Of course, by ‘being nice’, here, I only mean being helpful (not generous), cooperative and nonoffensive, and I do not mean insincere, superficial warmth.

    Hope, I’ve been able to clarify my viewpoint!

    Thanks for your thought-provoking comment.


    @ TUIB:


    I assure you, had you known me personally, only three years back, you’d have asked me to be ‘less nice’ (sic)!

    All these things about how people are bad in general that I keep on telling you are really hard-earned lessons. Hard earned, and not hard-learned because I had to fight a lot against my own convictions and break my own dear rosy glasses to draw new conclusions about life and people. πŸ™‚


    @ WDM:

    Now I’m really curious how you’ve been a victim of multilevel marketing!!! ‘Cuz almost 30% of your comments are centered around it! πŸ˜‰

    I think you must have earned a lot of money Madhu Koda-style that people are always on the look out to try to make money flow down its gradient from higher to lower potential. Am I right? πŸ˜›

    Okay, on a serious note, please see my response to Pallavi above. I’m wary only about money, ‘cuz it’s not earned by me. πŸ™‚ And plus not to forget the bad taste in mouth left by realization of being taken for a ride despite tell-tale signs of it happening, and our overlooking them only ‘cuz of the imperative we feel in give others a ‘benefit of doubt’.



  11. @ Ketan.. All I would say is you are just 24.. long way to go…me not getting into a debate!

    All I would say is it not always about money.. sometimes ppl just like to be spoken nicely too and feel happy and important if someone returns their warm wishes!

  12. Ketan,

    I would first like to say that again, for whatever reason, I find this post very sweet. From a little ‘namastey’, you obviously drew a very valuable lesson.
    We forget that people sometimes do things just because, and not for any ulterior motives.

    In this fast growing world, we sometimes forget the simple things in life. The little things.
    Lol, do I sound stupid?

    Lovely post. πŸ™‚

  13. ha ha ha if only i knew how to talk to others about financial schemes..(i am a failed insurance advisor, (of course i made a post out of it))
    seriously, i understand ur point. but just wanted to add that the traps come from all unsuspecting places..

    on the victim part, i will make a post out of it,sometime..

  14. i dont agree fully with you mr.ketan.but i dont know how exactly to put it let me explain with the tamizh kingdom model since i studied about it.
    in the older times, there were few basic guidelines which all agreed upon.when an enemy retreats you should not stab him in the back.and no slave system.and all the usual war ethics like attack after due warning.never kill woman and children.these were observed very rigidly.and when ever one of the tamizh kingdoms were attacked from external foes they would all united.
    see the gupta period,even mauryan period or the sultan period.the place which is now tamizh nadu was never invaded.they were faithful and conservative.these qualities you see now too.chennai is most conservative of the four original central party can win there.regional parties rule the roost.
    you see the all the shout about the marathi problem.the same sort of thing exists in tn.but helps that very few people have settled in tn whereas mumbai is assorted.
    the end point in tn is-they rule themselves,you speak tamizh in assembly and all that shit.but have you heard of it? and if you have has there been any hoola?but internally there is lot of back stabbing that was not there before.that is what evolution has become.from outside nothing has changed.from inside it has changed fully.

    and now in name of war whole city is blown to bits.then women and children were treated with know how war slaves are treated.jeez am totally off point mr.ketan.

    you know when two rhinos fight for their place or mate of child they fight well.and once the winner is resolved they just walk along more i wish we humans were like that.i hope i dint confuse you

  15. @ Pallavi:

    The biggest reason you cannot debate on this is I’ve never disagreed with you on the point you just put forth!

    I totally recognize that people many times do not have ulterior motives. Just that I was being guarded about the possibility of an ulterior motive–and this once, maybe I was WRONG–hence the post! Had I not realized I was wrong, would have I done a post about it?

    And possibly, you got a wrong impression from my not saying ‘namastey’. I was still very warm with him, smiled at him, and wished him goodbye, and he was not offended in the least! In fact the next day itself he asked me time.

    Plus, all this might also have something to do with my not be too vivacious without knowing a person personally.

    You might get a hint about my erstwhile attitude on exchange of pleasantries here (click). But remember, a lot of that post has got to do with how I used to be in the past, and not the present. πŸ™‚


    @ Srishti:

    I agree with you Srishti. In fact, totally!

    And as I’ve told you umpteen times in the past, in this regard, I used to think EXACTLY like you at your age! πŸ™‚ Just that whatever perspective I hold of World is more balanced than in the past, and has helped me somewhat be immune to hurt. It’s not that I don’t trust people. But it takes me time and reasons to view someone with trust/distrust.

    And from your two consecutive comments, I’m afraid, it seems in midst of your advocating putting greater trust in general, you are harboring a deep paranoia, of all people, about me!!! More specifically, your apprehension as to what I think about your opinions. Very truly (and trust me on this), I value them (your opinions) for two reasons. Firstly, for the sincerity behind them, which I feel is there. And secondly, their being backed by your experiences and objective assessment. So within your system, you are very much right in harboring these ideas. It’s a different matter that you’ve a bit more of World to see. πŸ˜‰ And possibly your outlook of the World will change, hopefully, in ways that would maximize happiness for you and minimize pain, for that’s what I think every human eventually aspires for.

    Anyway, thanks a lot for your comment!


  16. @ WDM:

    Yes, thanks a lot for the heads up. Probably, you’ve been unlucky to have come across too many people targeting you as a part of their multilevel marketing. Or (considering how suspicious am of people), you don’t want to speak of all that funds you’ve stashed aways in Swiss banks on a public forum! After all, my blog is so popular, and attracts sooooo many readers! πŸ˜‰

    “i will make a post out of it”

    You know that reminds me of the thing American police personnel tell suspected criminals–“anything you speak maybe used against you in court”. Like you’d be saying, “anything you speak maybe used by me to make a blog post out of it”!

    Of course, I want you to blog more frequently, that’s why I type out such long comments, in my attempts to make you blog!


    @ diaboli:

    I could make out a few major themes in your comment above. Do let me know if there’s a misinterpretation on my part:

    1. People in the past were more idealistic/used to follow their ideals more rigidly.

    2. Tolerance/openness to change creates problems because it raises people’s expectations for a more prosperous life.

    3. Fight/struggle is essential to inculcate value systems.

    I repeat, I might have not understood your points properly. If there’s anything you want to modify in the three points above, please do so in your next comment.

    Now, I’ll address your points individually.

    1. I do not think any of the past civillizations were any more moral/idealistic than our current generation.

    I have no research to back this claim, but do see if you find my points appealing.

    A lot of what we know about past is through one-sided accounts. Overall, literacy rate was very low, so in most cases only one version of history got transmitted.

    As you would find around, everyone, I repeat, everyone always asserts that the best time in the entire history of manking was when they themselves were in their midtwenties! Be they today 100 year old or 25-year old!

    This is a very sophisticated kind of communalism (click), whereing each individual wants to project ‘their generation’ as the best ever.

    What happened in the past was that all the historians kept on writing only good things about ‘their generation’. Plus, a lot of all that would be written under the King’s scrutiny wouldn’t help….

  17. …And owing to lack of democracy and literacy, since opposing accounts would be very few, we get only glorious mythological/anecdotal/historical accounts of the past.

    But if you contrast it with the current situation, it is so difficult to peddle blatant falsehood. Whereas, only a few decades back, when there was virtually no mass media, a Legend could be made out of just about anyone!

    So, I personally do not feel that in the past all these purported ideals of not killing children and women were actually followed. These accounts are merely misrepresentations of the facts simply because people did not want to write ill (truth) about the generation to which they themselves belonged!

    2. In case of Mumbai v/s Chennai example that you’ve given, it is difficult to determine whether the current ‘crisis’ in Mumbai is because of openness, or because of scarcity. I feel it’s because of the latter. Precisely a decade back, the ‘outsider’ thing was a nonissue. Why? ‘Cuz there was no scarcity (which is loosely put the antonym of ‘prosperity’).

    Likewise, if you suddenly make the population of Chennai 10-fold overnight, I’m sure there would be problems. Then it would be no consolation that people beating up each other would be Tamil-speaking people only!

    The basic thing is when there’s scarcity, people become disgruntled, and they start blaming one thing or the other–right from stars (in the sky) to God to weather to the black cat crossing their path. But this blame does not amount to culpability.

    So the problems in Mumbai, according to me are basically because of scarcity, and not so much ‘cuz people there are nice!

    Yes, you might argue that this scarcity arose ‘cuz they were nicer, but that’s just a spurious association and not really backed by a cause and effect relationship! For instance, had northern India’s politicians been less corrupt and developed more urban centers like NOIDA and Gurgaon, then those people would’ve never thronged to Mumbai! Or alternately, had people believed more in contraception, and less in virtue of a male progeny! πŸ˜‰ …

  18. 3. I’m afraid diaboli, I’m not at all able to understand your such repeated stress on power struggles. Are you finding confrontations exciting owing to their ‘cool’ treatment in literature/mythology/media? In the rhino example, what if both the males would’ve had a partner each to mate with? They would never require to fight!!! This is what I’m trying to tell all throughout. Seriously. Also, the rhino example would stop being appealing the moment one of the rhinos dies or gets maimed! Imagine, how stupid would it look if both of them would fight despite having sufficient food to eat, a mate to mate with, oxygen, water and everything that rhinos might ever want!!

    But then again nicety is on a wane ‘cuz of growing population (and scarcity). Hope, I could make sense!

    Thanks! TC.

  19. Ketan!

    Okay, so confession time: Since you think I am harboring a paranoia, its clearing out time.
    Okay, so its kinda true, but in a lesser degree. Seriously.

    See, here all the people are intelligent medicos and engineers and well, basically successful, accomplished people.
    And here I am, not even out of high school. So well, obviously, I would not want to sound stupid in front of everyone. (Even if I was ;))
    Also, I’m not the most confident person in the world; in fact, well, I am pretty insecure about a lot of stuff.
    So yes, I am paranoid. Now that you’ve pointed it out, I realize. Wow.

    Anyway, thanks for all your well wishes!!
    Seriously. See what I meant about your-genuine care-expressed-in-comments?

  20. @ Srishti:

    Your entire comment, and especially the punctuation, was so much like how I write! So, am I already having a bad influence on you! πŸ˜‰ Now you gottabe [<---- trying to change my own 'style' ;)] paranoid! :P “So well, obviously, I would not want to sound stupid in front of everyone. (Even if I was ;))”

    Even your sense of humor has started sucking – just like mine! πŸ˜› [I’d have put it EXACTLY the same way you did!!! :O ]

    Well, so I take solace in the fact that imitation is the best form of flattery! 😦

    Thanks for the above comment! It was nice to read. πŸ™‚


  21. You know what?

    Now I realize…you’re kinda right. It HAS become a little like yours.
    But I have a theory. Since your posts are the longest, and you frequently update your blog, your writing style has been FORCEFULLY imposed on me. In my subconscious, whatever.
    So its your fault, not mine! Hahaha!
    But if you really think I’m trynna imitate you, I’m not. I just type whatever comes in my mind.

    And my sense of humor always sucked! Intellectual, sophisticated jokes are wasted on me…I always laugh on the bad ones.
    Get this:
    What is Ranbir Kapoor’s age in Ajab Prem ki Gazab Kahani?
    12 and a half.
    Because, Tera hone laga hoon…

    Haha, geddit?

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