Remember the time when you greeted every elder by touching their feet? Or when you used to leave someone a handwritten note? Granted that life these days has become much more casual, but there was a certain charm to those good old manners that seems to have been lost over time. Now, we’re not advocating that today’s times are worse off – all we’re saying is that it would be nice to bring back certain niceties that have been eroded over the years.
Life coach Veechi Shahi says, “It’s not only about forgotten niceties and Indian etiquette; it’s about the culture change. In this era of digitisation, to connect with anybody in any part of the world is possible. And yet we don't reach out and let others know that we are thinking of them. With Christmas round the corner, let’s relearn the art of sharing our joy and abundance with others. It’s time that we consciously reach out to people, and not wait for them to take the first step.”
In the festive spirit, here are some forgotten niceties we’d like to see make a comeback.
Festival And Birthday Greeting Cards
When I was young, I remember receiving loads of greeting cards for my birthday and important festivals, like Diwali, from near and dear ones. I would then save those cards and re-read them through the year when I wanted to feel special. There’s just something about receiving a card through the mail that a Whatsapp message can never compete with. Let’s bring this trend back, please!
As lifestyles become more casual, this is one social tradition that has almost become extinct. In olden days, the youth would touch their elders’ feet as a form of greeting. Today, that has been replaced with a “Hi, how are you?” While we’re all for eliminating rigid rules and social mores, this is one that we could keep.
Not Interrupting a Conversation
Up until the 1980s, interrupting two people when they were speaking was considered gravely rude – and we’d like to keep it that way. How annoying is it when that 10-year-old kid butts in when you’re having a serious conversation with your friend?
OK, let’s get this straight. We’re not advocating that today’s kids have no respect for their elders, but we liked the way we referred to our older relatives as ji
. And don’t even get us started on the talking back, not taking elders seriously, and general misconduct. Sigh – those were the days!
Back in the day, when my parents were invited for a party, they sent a formal RSVP note well in advance to the hosts so they (the hosts) could make arrangements for guests accordingly. Today, when I throw a birthday party for my kid, I don’t get a reply to my text message most of the time, until I call and/or text a couple more times. Whatever happened to this good ol’ habit?
Handwritten Notes & Letters
It might be easier, quicker and save paper, but we’re suckers for some good old-fashioned stationery with handwritten messages. The feel of the letter, the smell of the ink, the arch of the writing – it’s all just so romantic.
Having Actual Conversations
We love the convenience of mobile phones, but we’re not lying when we say that each time we see people around us absorbed in their mobile phones when we’re talking to them, we want to hurl that very phone at their face. Mobile phones are to keep in touch with people, not push them further away. Ditto to all those people who take non-urgent calls and continue to talk on their phones when we’re spending time with them. Argh!
In all this hustle and bustle and running around, we often forget to stop, look around, pray and offer gratitude for all that we have. “Earlier we had enough, our hearts were more open to include others and sharing was part of our culture. Now, our hearts have shrunk,” says Veechi. “Today, there is always something more I need. Expressing gratitude has become vestigial behaviour.”
Like this article? Also read: How To Master The Art Of Small Talk
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