A Soft Answer Turnth Away Wrath
by Nuggehalli Pankaja
“A soft answer turnth away wrath, but a grievous word stirth danger." The bard said; Very true! But our elders needed no Shakespeare to teach them, for experience had made them adept in the art of handling any grave situation deftly.
Well, they knew the art of convincing through soft speech and gentle demeanor the younger generation who in their efforts to imbibe the independent - uninhibited mentality of the West unknowingly hurt those around, leaving a trail of displeasure. Frank speech bordering on the abrasive looses its significance.
These reflections recall to mind an incident heard long back.
An elderly lady was travelling alone in the Ladies’ compartment. The compartment was full, and naturally brimming over with chatter and laughter. Suddenly, it subsided to a terrified hush as they discerned a man jumping on to the steps of their bogie even as the train was running. Entering the compartment, he stood barring it, totally oblivious to the fright he was causing to the women folk inside. Sure, there was deadly silence……The lone male in the compartment, must be a boy of eight or nine, took upon himself the chivalrous task of guarding his bogie-family. Warding off his mother’s restraining hand, approached the intruder fearlessly and barked- “Get out you dacoit! Don’t you know this is exclusively for ladies only? Didn’t you see the board over there? Have you no shame?”
Everyone sat breathless, appalled at the small boy’s effrontery. His mother began praying fervently. His kid sisters sensing something amiss, let out a howl. Amidst all this, the boy stood his ground.
Meanwhile, the pathan had risen to his full height! A ferocious majestic figure sending sparks of awe! Face becoming fiery with anger, he was about to draw out his dagger after throwing a disdainful look at the boy, when the loud but soft voice of the elderly lady seated nearby arrested him. “Beta,” she advised him gently. “Don’t give way to anger and snip off the young tender life. The boy has erred in insulting you I know, but surely you as an elder can set a better example. See, his poor mother is shivering. Remember your mother, and your sons. Alla will bless you and them if you learn to forgive.”
The words spoken in affectionate measured tones had such a profound effect upon him that his face cleared immediately as though by magic! Slapping the boy on the back with ‘Shabas beta,’ he got down at the next station, but not before doing pranam from there………….
“He called me ‘Maji’ while doing it,” Amma long gone, told me with tears in her eyes, “See, there is goodness in every person.”*********