Picture these episodes: The traditional tamboolam or the return gift is handed over to the guest when they leave a wedding. The material aspect of the conclusion is carried out, but how many hosts and guests actually tarry to have a moment’s conversation to express their feelings? The scenario is no different at parties and work lunches.
Considering the fact that so much of thought and effort has gone into the planning of these events, will it not be a graceful gesture to make eye contact and give a warm hug or a pat on the back before departing?
Always in a hurry
Passengers on a long air, road or rail journey end up getting fairly well-acquainted by the time they reach their destination. They break bread together and share space along with their opinions on random subjects. Sometimes they even confide their dreams and fears to the stranger who was hitherto unknown, but very few stop to exchange contact details or even say their goodbyes. Their haste to get off the vehicle and scoot off surpasses the courtesy that had been displayed thus long.
Children, who begin their day at the school in an organised assembly and form lines even when walking down the corridors during school hours, scamper out of school gates waving their hands in the air, not bidding adieu to anyone in particular.
How many of us wait for the credits to roll down completely before walking out of theatres? Don’t practitioners of yoga start rolling their mats even as the final instructions are being given by the coach?
One can count the number of students and patients who go back to thank their mentors and doctors who helped them out in the hour of need after their need is fulfilled.
Focus on endings as well
All these instances point out to one factor. It shows our sheer lack of knack in tying up loose ends. We Indians attach a lot of importance to beginnings. We identify auspicious days, hours and even moments to begin our novel enterprises. It is not just the weddings, functions, worship and festivities.
Most of us are very conscious about making a good beginning even for our regular day-to-day activities like travelling, filling forms, applying for jobs or examinations, going for a medical check-up, buying jewellery or furniture among other things.
A lot of effort goes into planning and executing our projects, be it a simple menu of home-cooked food, or organising a birthday party, presenting a paper at a seminar or attending a wedding.
How many times have we not stood patiently in queues to get what we want, sat in the corridors of hospitals, educational institutions and government offices to meet the person concerned to sort out our issues?
Then there are times when we wait for hours on the end to board a flight, wait for a rock concert to begin or peer through a telescope to see a rare alignment of planets. These instances highlight the fact that we are ready to give our best shot backed by patience, determination and rare endurance.
We genuinely believe that well begun is half done, therefore all the fuss about commencing activities with a prayer on our lips or a positive frame of mind is deemed warranted.
Nevertheless what fazes a third party onlooker is that we in the sub-continent fail in the art of giving a decent conclusion to our activities.
Of course, each one of us may have a valid excuse for doing what we do, the way we do it. Though there can be umpteen number of reasons to wind up unceremoniously, it is definitely not the done thing.
Is it really asking for too much when a person is required to spend a moment expressing his or her heartfelt thanks when he or she is the receiver? Does it hurt to hang on for a moment and smile or nod to show that we have arrived at the finish line of the meeting?
Will we not appreciate an attitude of gratitude or at least acknowledgement when we have worked hard on a venture?
A kind word goes a long way
The human psyche is very sensitive. Even the social media is aware of this dimension of human psychology. Perhaps that is the reason they have come up with variations of ‘like’ buttons which help us respond favourably and easily.
Even the bitterest soul will warm up towards a person who recognises his or hercontribution. Such being the case, a little appreciation or constructive criticism can go a long way in inspiring better endeavours. One can land fresh projects and customers can weave new relationships, navigate learning curves or very simply experience the satisfaction of a job well done when matters are given a fine and a conscious finish.
Those of us who have embraced the habit of drawing a shoddy closure to the various things must understand that a warm and courteous conclusion is actually a precursor to a new beginning.