Uprooted or Acquired Arrogance


I am a firm-believer but not a regular temple-hopper. I go when I wish. Usually I avoid festival days or auspicious days as I hate crowd and the irritating cacophony it brings along. I prefer peace and I am a ‘gaay‘ (cow) unless provoked to be a sherni (tigress). So this fine Thursday eve I decided to make a visit to my friends at the temple, the stone idols who patiently listen to my bakwaas. I hopped along with my little girls and the neighbour’s daughter and hubby had said that he’ll meet me there at the temple.

At the Uttara Guruvayoorappan Temple, there was commotion just after our first pradakshinam or parikrama (circumambulation) around the temple. Some kid had urinated and they had to perform the Sudhi (purificatory rituals). Everyone within the Chuttaambalam (Sanctum Sanctorum) were asked to vacate the place. I was getting out of the temple door where a heavy wooden rod was kept to stop people from getting inside. I picked up the rod with one hand as my other hand was busy holding the prasadam bowl, wallet and phone. Lil Love and her friend were at the peak of their mischievousnous and were rushing out. I wanted to save them from crash landing so I asked this old man who ‘looked like a gentleman‘ to hold the rod. He kept staring at me as if I had asked him to touch my feet. A few seconds later, he started shouting at the top of his voice asking me how dare I ask him to hold the rod and to hold it myself or keep it down if I so wished. At that very moment I wished my parents didn’t teach me to respect elders else I would have given him a few blows with the rod right there in front of the Sanctum Sanctorum itself. I told him I had only asked him to hold it because I had to handle the kids and there were other people coming out of the temple and there was no space for me to move to the other side and be able to keep the rod down. To which he screamed back, “You don’t have any kids in your hand.

As hubby said, “He doesn’t deserve your time or attention.”

But the fact is, I was fuming with anger. I cannot take people who are arrogant and ill-mannered. I am sorry but such behaviour doesn’t warrant any respect from me. I never speak that way even with my daughters or the presswala guy or the part-time maid or the sweeper (I have seen people misbehaving with all of them too; for no particular reason). I simply didn’t abuse him because of the way I have been brought up. He should thank my parents for the upbringing they have given me else I would have settled the matter then and there in Rajnikanth style.

I know this man very well and could have easily insulted him in public. But then there will be no difference between him and me. And that is exactly what I told him when he chased me asking how and why did I tell my hubby that he has gone mad. I said, “I don’t lie. And I don’t regret having said that.

However successful you are in your life or at whatever position you are, you have no right to misbehave with another human being. I didn’t find any difference between him and those buggers who pass cuss words standing in the middle of the road.

I peacefully put him to rest in peace for the time being lest I’ll loose my temper again.

Post this I read Beloo Mehra’s post Of Cracked Pots, Longing, and Impermanence and then the following episode happened.

Well though there is no relationship between the stupid incident and this lovely post, but it somehow made me ponder a lot about this question.

With all this development and success, have we forgotten our roots and culture?

Politeness, kindness, grace, humility, all these are now only words that you can search in a dictionary. Get out of the house and your say starts with all MC, BC and the likes being showered lavishly by people all around. Switch on the idiot box and you find people ready to kill each other at the cheapest of reasons like not getting bed tea on time. Log into social media and it’s filled with either ‘superficial love’ or extreme hatred . The ‘F’ word is being used more generously than you use the tap water. Where will all this end up in?

I have no clue.

But then I went again and again to this post reading these lines.

There is something so mystifying, real and beautiful about the terracotta pottery, as if reminding us to stay grounded, to stay close to the natural earth and yet transform ourselves into something more concrete, to become individualized yet always ready to unify and merge with the original source, to face the fire and heat and become useful for a specific purpose yet always remain vulnerable to cracks and scratches.

So much the humble pot says, if we listen.

And I read about impermanence that the water teaches us.

Truly there’s a lot to learn from even the smallest of things around us. No wonder our ancestors had low-height doors in their houses to  teach us to bow down, respect whatever we have and stick to our roots. The chulha on the floor kept us grounded. The mud floors taught us to be patient like them.

With all this advancements, we have forgotten our basic courtesy towards fellow humans.

I wish the ‘not-so-gentleman‘ gets to read this. Sir, you might be a businessman, you might be owning a huge empire, but to me you’re worse than the beggar sitting on the road. He is begging because he doesn’t have means for his food, but you were begging for ‘artificial respect’ without looking into your own behavior.

And now if you haven’t read Beloo’s post, please do. The translation she has provided of Amrita Pritam‘s Punjabi poem is just marvelous. I wish more of us are able to reinvent the poems in our native languages for the rest of us to understand the depth of those beautiful words.


This post is part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least once a day based on the prompts that they have provided. Today’s prompt is, “Island of misfit posts: We all have something we’d like to write about, but thatdoesn’t really “fit” our blog. Write it anyway.

The author Rekha Dhyani is one of the contributors to the We Post Daily and blogs regularly at Dew Drops. She also shares her lucky clicks at The Crystal Trance


18 Replies to “Uprooted or Acquired Arrogance”

  1. Such a pity that people like these are given a free reign. Especially people who “hold positions” in society. I mean, they should be setting an example. I suppose they are, if we think about it. Just that the examples are bad ones ! Thank you for being the saviour today Rex. And no, it wasn’t gibberish. Rather, each and every word resonated with me, as I am sure it will with the rest of the readers

  2. At times the respected for the old is misplaced. Our decent middle-class upbringing forbids to fight openly that too in full public view but the old person got away with his indecent behaviour.

  3. Rude seems to be the order of the day, Rekha, unfortunately. I wonder why people behave so arrogantly in public. And I must say that I have given it back sometimes. I think I have had enough experiences to not respect age but wisdom.

  4. Some valid points here, Rekha.
    In the humdrum of life, man tends to forget his grounds/roots since ego surrounds him thus making him unaware of his actions.
    You did a fine job by attaching Beloo’s wordings here…

  5. Hi Rekha, first of all let me say many thanks to you for mentioning my post here and for seeing so much meaning in those words and especially the sentiment behind that post. I am pleasantly surprised to see the connection you make here, but it actually works very well 🙂 When we stay connected with our roots, our innate sense of humanity and human-ness, our true nature (like that of a pot or water), we generally don’t fall into the trap of becoming rude, arrogant, indifferent, or just plain stupid.

    I think the more rooted we can become in our true nature, the more compassionate and loving we can be (and not just “outwardly nice” – though going by the experience you share here for some people even that is a big progress if they can do that!). It is actually quite strange that this man would actually say that to you- especially when you knew him already. I would like to say unbelievable but it really isn’t. And that is really sad. Really.

  6. well well .. if you notice such people are always either the very educated ones or the very religious ones , at least thats what I have noticed.. people who take god’s name every second are the WORST.. believe me ..

    I will tell you a episode here, It was winters almost snowing and I was going to work , happened to cross a gurudwara, out of blue I stopped and went in .. dont know why i did it .. anyway I had this WOLLEN cap on my head .. now in a gurudwara you have to have your head covered.. so mine was covered as I had this wollen cap on .. went in did my business with god and came out ..

    This Granthi came running out and held my arm.. and said dont i have any values .. how can i go inside with a cap on .. I was shocked .. now this is the guy who is supposed to be Teaching the people coming on the teachings of god.. and look at the way he was talking..

    I just folded my hands and said sorry and went to my car.. but for some reason either my face is like that or this person had some enmity towards me .. he followed me and banged on the car window..

    I am usually very quiet and I hardly take a step into a heated conversation , although I am also the one right or wrong if I go in.. I never back down.. I was getting late for work so I kept my cool .. and this guy was going on and on and onnnn how we the young sikhs are bringing religion down, how this how that .. .. in the end I just could not take anymore so i jsut told this guy to either Shut up or he will get a slap on his face ..

    I felt sorry for saying to a guy who was elder and probably elder than my father but he has no right to talk to me like that .. I went in with a cap on my HEAD .. if it was wrong he could have told me to not do it again .. but to say all that is not called for ..

  7. It is sad that he behaved this way in a temple of all places! Goes to show have superficial people are even in a holy place… really sad…but i liked the way you handled it, you were above him… i know it’s not easy, sometimes we want to have that last word… but sometimes we need to hold back and that is a win in its own way, to make us better individuals and not like that man you came across

  8. How come they behave is such a rude manner inside a God’s place ? while it is said that everyone is same in the eyes of the God !…what a pity…I’ve observed many a times that these purohits and pandas behave in the nastiest way inside any temple ..the more reputed and sanctified it is , the more insolent and imprudent is their behaviour . I am a believer but I hate these self-proclaimed so called representatives of God…

  9. I’m not at all surprised that the man behaved the way he did. All that is wrong in our country is seen in our places of worship as well. For example, we talk of corruption; haven’t we all heard of priests taking bribes to allow devotees to have “special darshan”?

    The worst part is, if this man was powerful and/or wealthy and/or well-connected, the people around would criticise you for “not giving proper respect to a gentleman old enough to be her father”.

    Some people get carried away by their success/wealth/status, but success/wealth/status by itself is not the cause of such behaviour. The real cause is narrow vision. Don’t we see successful and/or wealthy and/or well-placed persons who are very modest? Don’t we also see people who are very arrogant with very little success/wealth/status?

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