Sunday, April 15, 2012

Can we be a little more patient?

I have observed that we are generally very impatient, be it at home or outside. This frailty could have stemmed from our desire for instant or immediate gratification of whatever we wish for. We get upset with the slightest hurdle in our path and easily lose our cool. We are not accommodative and wish always to surge ahead of others. This unwillingness to be patient is more pronounced in our interactions with utter strangers whom we may not meet again .How many of us are willing gladly to wait for our turn in a long queue unless regulated by someone? Where is that good natured tolerance to slight delays or incompetence as someone described patience?

Whenever we travel in the plane, we find passengers standing up immediately after the plane comes to a halt and start pulling out the boxes from the overhead cabins and dragging them along the aisle before others in the front rows take theirs and move. Soon there is a jam with none able to move. Why not wait for the passengers in the row ahead to move first as they do in US with none behind attempting to jump the queue. Things are so orderly and fast that nobody would like to break the system. They are patient and adhere to basic courtesies. It is the same in bill counters in the malls with shoppers waiting in line for the one ahead to complete his purchase. It is not so here unless the queue is enforced.

Visualize the melee in the railway platforms with passengers vying with one another to enter the railway compartment though all the seats are reserved and none can deprive the other of his berth. Yet patience is one thing that is missing to everybody’s inconvenience.

The scene at several traffic signals show this bad trait prominently with drivers trying to beat the signal even when red light begins to flash accompanied by honking of horns from many cars. I am witness to many narrow scrape through and a few accidents all due to lack of patience.. I have frequently seen in post offices illiterate people requesting others to help fill in the money order forms or the address on envelopes only to be rudely told to look for someone else. Even if they know the area and the names of streets, people respond to request for directions with an insensitive “patha nai” or an insolent wave of hand. It would appear they have no time to stand even for a few seconds to reply patiently.

Unless it is a matter of life and death or extremely urgent, there is no justification to abandon this virtue. When you talk of emergency, I am reminded of how callously drivers do not slow down or move aside to give way to the wailing ambulance behind trying to reach the hospital with a dying patient. They show no patience to fellow beings in distress.

While this behaviour is not acceptable even to strangers, what shall we say about the impatience shown to children at home? The father on return from office is greeted with a big smile and a warm hug followed by endless complaints against each other by the young siblings only to be responded with a crazy shouting to keep quiet. A small smile, a little patience and a gentle plea for some respite before answering their questions would rub off on the kids and make them realize that the dad is tired and needs quiet.

I read this story written by one Carmen that there was a monk who was very impatient and went to live in a cave deep in the forest to practice patience. Several years later a man who went inside the forest saw this monk and asked him why he was there in such a secluded part. The monk replied that he was endeavouring to get over impatience. The man asked him “if there is no one around you, how will you know that you have conquered impatience.” The monk exploded in anger “Get away from here. I have no time to talk to you.”

While it is difficult to get over this failing completely, one should not forget to remember the monk every time we flare up and flex muscles over innocuous remarks or petty incidents or insignificant delays. Impatience affects one’s health in the long run. It is better to be patient than to become a patient


  1. Point noted !! :) This trait is so common now especially while on the roads. No one wants to allow the others. It is a mad rush to get ahead

  2. Hahaha! Cute story. Yes, true, we never are patient. Jumping queues is what we are born for:P

  3. Loved the last line. Never thought of it like that. But what makes me irritated is when I am in a line and some idiot manages to reach ahead of me, by some influence or stupid excuse. Making the rest standing in queue look like fools. :)

    I think the world is in a mad rush to move forward. No time for even family values anymore.

  4. it so happens that everyone seems to be on an urgent errand and cannot stop awhile to think..not realising -being a little patient can help do wonders.....

  5. Whatever written in each and every paragraph is very true. I have seen in the plane, foreigners waiting in their seats for others like us to get down first. Otherwise they should be ready to all the pushing and pulling aside by our people.

    The story is very apt for this topic. Very nice. The story about the father and kids also is very true. It happens in many houses.

  6. I also feel the same..why so much in rush all the time?

  7. We Indians are never patient. And it is not just the uneducated. I have seen it in affluent, educated lot. And that is really sad.

  8. Patience, I think, is not built-in. It does not come with the territory, as some would people say. But rather it can be acquired, learned, developed, and nurtured by discipline. To do that we start them young.... with our children -- in our homes, in school. Children who are taught the habit or discipline of patience grow up to be patient adults and citizens whatever their occupation in life may be.

    Just because it is can't mean that it cannot be resolved or improved.