Oh! The games people play

23 Apr 2007
Posted by Kiran

When was the last time you truly opened your heart out to someone? Chances are that it was quite a long time ago. I feel that we are now in a time when all of us strive more than ever to be "politically correct".

Be in interaction with your colleagues, friends, relatives or even family, we see to it that what we say will be construed as the right thing. Whether we actually mean it or not takes second place as far as importance is concerned.

Azim Premji, the Chairman of the Wipro group of companies, once said that what Indians have to do is to learn to say "No". I can't agree with him more. I have recently come out of a Project where my team and I literally went through hell, all because we failed to say "No" at the right time. When we realized our folly it was too late and we were already in very deep water; from then on there was no choice but to swim ashore or drown.

Be it our clients or bosses, be it our brothers, sisters or other relatives, be it parents or our own spouses or children, we are all apprehensive about getting on their wrong side. And hence, we always participate in the song and dance sequence that circumstances choreograph for us and end up that much more frustrated, ill and tired.

Why is it that we feel compelled to always be politically correct? We all feel the need of a facade - an appearance that the person you are dealing with is important to you; important enough for you to take the pains you are taking.

To a certain extent it is understandable if one goes out of his/her way to please a near and dear one. But I have seen people tolerating a lot of inconveniences for people they wouldn't give two hoots about! I can't make sense of it.

On the other hand there are others who can be extremely manipulative to get their work done. They can play on the emotional insecurities or the personal circumstances of others to serve their own needs. Even so-called "close relatives" can stoop towards pulling emotional strings to get things done. Sick! Wouldn't you say?

I guess this is what we call "Society". We are all - at some level or the other - worried about what "Society" would think of us. And there will always be people to exploit those weaknesses.

However, society and the social perception doesn't always have to have negative connotations. Man being a social animal cannot escape society. He has to learn to live with the world around him. I am not advocating always speaking your mind; you could get into serious trouble at times due to a fast tongue. But at the same time we have to learn where to draw the line. It is important to know when a person is walking all over you from when a person is being demanding. We all meet demanding people - customers, friends, partners and parents - but we have to ensure that we don't allow those demanding people to take control of our lives and our emotions.

Today we live in a "Society" that does not have a conscience. People out there are just are out to get what they want. Very few of them out there are really concerned about the others in the society. When we live in such times it becomes essential that we know how to look after ourselves. It would seem very uncaring but the truth is that these days we have to be selfish.

Take care of yourself first and the rest of the things will take care of themselves. If you need to be politically correct then so be it. Else, just say NO!