On Saying ‘Please’
by Alfred George Gardner
Explanation and answers for the Prose 2 from section 1 of the Maharatra Board Standard XII English Yuvakbharati textbook
In this, the author cites a few anecdotes to show that human beings can live more harmoniously with another by just being a little more polite and civil in their speaking with others.
To begin with, he cites the incident in which a lift operator had asked a person to get of the lift just because the latter had not added ‘Please’ to his desire to go to the 10th floor. Quite obviously, it was an over-reaction on the part of the lift operator to demand courtesy in such an abrasive way. The author faults the lift user for forgetting to add ‘Please’ to his request, but the author says the lift operator could have driven his message better by ushering in the person through an elaborate shoe of courtesy. The author conceded that the law of the land does not punish the uncivil speakers, but such uncouth people leave the people around them needlessly bruised and unhappy.
For a wife condemned to live with a husband for decades is very painful, but the law has no provision to bring the boorish husband to book.
The author states that small pleasantries like ‘Thank you” and “Please” sweeten our existence and create goodwill among the people, although in an incremental manner.
The author cites the case of the many conductors who man a city’s fleet of buses. They are the ones who not only sell tickets to passengers, but also ensure orderliness inside the coaches. A conductor bearing a smile in their faces and displaying small acts of courtesy obviously makes the city travel a pleasant experience. On the other hand, a frowning conductor who goes about doing his job mechanically and utilizing every opportunity to pull up a disorderly or disabled passenger leaves a sour taste in the minds of the travelers.
The author remembers an incident where he realized that he had got into the bus without any money for the fare. He was both nervous and embarrassed expecting the conductor to unceremoniously throw him out of the coach midway. However, the conductor turned out to be gem of a person. He not only, sympathized with the author, but also issued him a ticket without a whimper. He even said that the author need not pa back the small amount later. Fortunately, the author could find a few coins clinging to a deep corner of his pocket later, and paid off the little ‘debt’.
This anecdote was a rare show of empathy, but courtesy in our mutual interactions does go a long way in making our living in the society a bit more pleasant.
Brainstorming (Questions and Answers)
A1. (i) Form groups and explain the following words with examples. You can take help of your teacher.
Humility – The Late President Abdul Kalam endered himself to millions of Indian through his humility and academic excellence.
Courtesy – Airlines train their staff to display utmot courtesy to the passengers.
Empathy – The army doctor who had earlier fought as a soldier in the infantry was overwhelmed with empathy on seeing the injured solders arriving in the hospital.
Self-esteem – It hurt my self-esteem a lot when my teacher falsely accused me of copy-pasting my answer from the internet.
Generosity – The Arab billionaire Seikh donated millions for humanitarian assistance for the needy around the world. He was acclaimed the world over for his generosity.
Gratitude – The patient who recovered miraculously from cancer gave her gold necklace to the lady doctor in gratitude.
Sympathy – The judge told the murder-accused that the court has no sympathy for him as he had killed his own mother.
(ii) Have a Group Discussion on the topic ‘The need of soft skills at workplace’. Use the following points.
In the work place, colleagues interact with one another during the course of their work. They exchange ideas, make comments and suggestions, and appreciate one another wherever necessary. Keeping unpleasantness, and avoiding hurtful comments makes the work place pleasant and productive. To achieve this, and make the work place conducive to higher productivity, it is essential for the employees to learn and practice ‘soft skill’. Such skills are not hard or academic, but are rooted in decency, clarity, politeness, and empathy.
A 2. (i) Read the text and state whether the following statements are True or False. Correct the False statements.
(a) Bitter problems in day-to-day life can be solved by sweet words. True
(b)Great wars could have been avoided by a little courtesy. False
(c)Observance of etiquette in a normal situation is important but moreimportant is their observance when the situation is adverse. True
(d)Words like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ help us in making our passage throughlife uneasy. Flase
(e)The law permits anybody to use violence, if another person is discourteous. False
(ii) Select the most appropriate sentences which suggest the theme of the essay.
(a)The essay tells us about courtesy, civility, morality, responsibility and control.
(c) One can keep one’s peace of mind without having to lower themselves tothe level of the perceived offender.
(iii) Find the reasons for the lift-man’s uncivilized behaviour.
The lift man had a deep-seated inferiority complex that made him angry at the slightest show of discourtesy by the user.
—– To be continued —–