K’s company has launched their annual Mango campaign. He was telling me about a particularly upset customer today who was not happy with the size of the fruits being sent and was quite rude about it. Must be so tiring to have to deal with customer complaints, I commented. He said yes especially for the customer service people who have to deal with these situations. It is understandable to complain bitch and whine when things are not as we expect- as a consumer we have all been made aware of our right to the Right Thing. So what about when we DO get the right thing? Isn’t it right that we should also call up to praise the same on the commendable job done? As a culture, we are very oddly demonstrative. We show our love by forcing people to eat sometimes. At other times, we show our love by shoving our advice down someone’s throat. Our constant presence can be another sign of love as can random visits to people, untimely and unannounced. We shower this affection on our fond ones, expecting them to understand this obscure manner in which we are trying to say “I thought of you” or ” Miss you” or “I’m here if you need me.”
However, strangely enough, you will also always hear more comments about the weight gained than the weight lost. You will always see audiences more enthusiastic over tragic stories rather than heroic ones. You will see people criticize more than approve. You will always hear more noise, more clamour over the negative rather than the positive. With the way the world is going it just seems to be in vogue- to assume that the good is for granted and the bad needs to be highlighted.
An aunty I met after many many months told me how good I am looking. How happy Nadi looks. (mashallah) and how wonderful it is to see my lot take over this mommy role in such a graceful manner, referring to the lot of new moms around us amongst my friends and cousins. It was so empowering that moment, that invisible affirmation that I think I became even more capable in that moment. We fail to understand how important that simple pat on the back can be. People don’t want to see how easy it is to make someone feel good by simply saying it- how amazing it can feel when your mom-in-law tells her friend who is congratulating her on a beautifully behaved grandchild that it’s “all his mom’s doing” or how warming it is when a friend introduces you to her friend by the way of saying, “this is the person who gives me hope-she’s a mom at home and she still has stuff to talk about…” or how strengthening it is to actually hear someone say that your absence is being felt like a gaping chasm. Everyone is born with their lot of things to do, some good some bad and what keeps us going is seeing our efforts reflected in the lives of those around us. Some times we are confident secure and clear enough to see what we are accomplishing for ourselves. And at other times, it helps to hear those words out loud. So that everyone else can acknowledge them too. (And maybe, just maybe, pat you on the back.)