Friday, October 2, 2015

What Makes Us Selfish? Amir Khan Touches This Issue

The thought has bothered me throughout my life, since I have been there and done that too. I had the competitive spirit which told me that I had to be ahead of everyone, prove that I am better than others and win competitions. The trait diminished with lessons I got from 'Life Experiences' but it still lingers somewhere deep within.

There have been incidences in my life which made me question, "Why?". Farheena's special school had asked us parents to get disability cards for students. The whole experience was horrifying for me. It was tough managing Farheena among the unruly crowd that pushed everyone around. Somehow the tests were done. I had to come back for the collecting card later thankfully without Farheena. Some special people were among the crowd who had gathered to collect the cards, one among them was a very old blind man who had come alone. I saw that people took advantage of his blindness and got into the line ahead of him, so that he had to stand longer in the queue. When his turn came, the guy in the counter rudely told him that his form is incomplete and he has to get it signed from so and so etc etc. It was tough to follow his instructions, and off course the man was confused. He asked him politely, what he should do now and the guy rudely told him, "stop eating my head. Go and get things right and come back. Ask someone else because I have lot of work to do".

All the patience I had just slipped away and I told the guy at the counter quite sternly to explain things properly to the man because even I could not understand what he was talking about. At this stage he cooled down a bit and gave right information to the man who thanked me and walked away. I was the last person in the line. After collecting disability card, I told the guy, "You are lucky that you get chance to help people everyday. Why don't you wear a smile along with your uniform? It would make such a huge difference to people like us who come here only because we have to solve some problem in our lives. Why do you have to be so mean and grumpy to everyone who approaches you?"
He replied angrily, "I did not say anything to you. Why are you bothered?"
I said, "I don't mind you being rude to me because I am capable of handling your rudeness. But can't you see that old man who should have been loved and cared has been struggling in the queue for such a long time? He was so scared when you shouted at him. Be polite to such people"
He did not answer but I knew that he had decided that he need not listen to all this crap anymore. I could not stop thinking about the incident for days.

Recently Farheena wanted to shop at a mall because she got her salary. We decided to take her to Central Mall for shopping. After doing a bit of shopping on the ground floor, we decided to go to third floor. Unfortunately, we did not find stairs anywhere and Farheena was too afraid to get on escalators. Lift was the only option left for us. When we approached the lift, people just kept pushing Farheena aside and getting in. Finally after 3 trips I had somehow managed to get ourselves into lift and Farheena shopped a Kurta and few things. The happy girl had to come towards the lift again and the same drama continued. Even after telling people that Farheena could not stand there for long, they just pushed their way in. They were common people come to shop with their children and spouses. Finally, the lift operator got pissed off and told people to make way for the girl who has been struggling to get in for past 4 trips. I could hear a lady grumbling "why should they bring handicapped people in public places at all"

We see this behavior everywhere around us and I wonder why. I think Amir Khan is right when he says, we inculcate the character of selfishness in our children. This is an eye opener for our society. I hope we bring about the change.

Excerpts from the speech:

Where ever I see this happens. It happened to me as well when I was a child. Parents ask children, when they come home, “Have you come first?” Be it sports or any exams, competitions, parents ask the same question to the child. If the child has stood second in he has to bear the brunt of his parents outbursts who demand to know why he could not come first.. let us not even talk about those who stand 10th or below. Even when a four year old child is running with a spoon in his mouth, parents encourage him to run faster and win the race. Slowly the child begins to think and believe that he should stay ahead of everyone in the crowd no matter what happens. He stops thinking about the other people around him and concentrates on himself/herself. When this child turns into a 21 year old youngster, he/she turns out to be selfish and self-centered, because we taught them to be like that.
Now if the parents would ask the child very often, “Did you put a smile on someone’s face today?” “Did you help anyone?” etc, the child would realize that such qualities are appreciated by his elders. He would go to the same school and get the same education, but there will be a difference in his attitude. When he becomes a youth, he will care for the people around him and will have concern for society. If we as elders change ourselves today, our future generation will be better citizens”


  1. Wow. I suppose I shouldn't be, but I am still astonished that people can be so unkind. I don't understand why anyone would treat others in a way that they would hate to be treated themselves. It doesn't cost anything to be kind. And, yes, just as important as being kind is setting an example of kindness to our children. If we want the world to be a better place, it has to begin with how each of us behaves with others every day. Much love to you, Farida.

  2. People are so SO UNKIND.. and this is what disgusts me .. why they behave like that.. I mean what is the rush .. 2 minutes are not going to make much of a difference.

    the same people although are seen doing all the DRAMA in front of temples etc.. ahhhhhhhhhhhhh makes me mad


  3. The sad thing is the inability of people to connect with the other person because they are so self-centered....the happiness quotient that Aamir is talking about is so important here....true happiness is in sharing joys with every one rather than adopting sulky and nagging behavior.....


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