SOLUTION TO OFFEND & FEEL OFFENDED

Throughout the week, I have gone through the write ups. All of them are very beautiful and explanatory as they are based on life experiences. I truly appreciate all the writers for giving their utmost effort and justifying the topic: Culture and Mannerism. But, in all the snippets, I found one thing they had in common…all had been through some shameful experience of “offending and being offended” due to cultural diversities.

In the past 6 years of being a holistic worker, I have crisscrossed through 3 major states of India: Odisha, West Bengal and A.P. There have been many incidents in my life of “offending another’s culture and being offended in my own culture by someone else.”

Our country, India, is known globally for two major things: Unity in Diversities and the 5000 years of rich heritage and culture. It is very obvious to see the cultural differences between the people. In my country of India, everyday you can see people of diverse Religion, Caste, Culture, and even Language. What is truly incredible is that all of these people can be found within a 200 meter radius of each other!

In each of these cultures, a man from a different part of the country is humiliated or ill treated because of the differences between him and the ones he may be visiting. This proves highly embarrassing. We showcase ourselves as a component of the GLOBALIZATION concept and a member of a Global Community. But, alas, we don’t try to come out of our comfort zone and make our guests feel that they are welcome.

The Scriptures have two great commandments: “Love the Lord your God, with all our heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your Neighbor as yourself.” The second of these two greatest commandments shows us the gateway to the globalization concept.

We always concentrate on the idea of the “neighbor” being the man who lives adjacent to me but in actuality it is everyone I meet. In a global family, no one is a foreigner, we are all one family. We also know that the foundation of Family is LOVE. Our concept or ideology of a Global family needs to be upgraded and set firmly on a foundation of LOVE. For where there is LOVE, there is no hatred, no boastfulness, jealousy, anger, or evil.

When we renew our minds and start loving the people next to us, there will be no such thing as a “foreigner”. We will not see their physical color, language or culture. Rather we will see them as our siblings whose thought processes and lifestyles are different from ours but will be accepted and respected.

If we love on another as God commanded, I can bet there will be no one stamped as a “Foreigner” and our Culture will not be offended nor would we offend our brother’s. Rather we will say, “Brother, let us grow together. You are a little different but better than me!”

What do you think my global family? Shall we renew our mind to love and grow?

Catch you with some new idea. Stay connected.
NO FOREIGNERS! WE ARE OF ONE FAMILY!

GESTURES OF ADDRESSING ELDERS ACCORDING TO THE INDIAN CULTURE

I met my co-author and friend Sulagna on a Writers Community Online not less than 7 years ago. And we became very good friends afterwards as we kept commenting and appreciating each other’s articles which we had written for the same community.

As the days passed by I invited her for writing articles for Candles too. That time Candles was in the printed form. She wrote for ‘Candles’ a couple of times times consecutively and our closeness grew. She used to call me by my name, “Chiradeep.” But when she came to know that I am quite older to her as we added each other on facebook, she immediately started calling me “Chiradeep Dada.” In Bengali culture an elder brother is addressed as ‘Dada’ as a sign of respect.

The Bengali culture has a set of manners which they are so accustomed to from childhood that she immediately changed her way of addressing. She even called my wife as “Didi” (Elder Sister). Truly, at that particular time I really appreciated her nice gesture.

I remember a Hindi movie called ‘Chupke Chupke’ where film actor Dharmendra was making comedy  talking about English language and the way they address their uncles and aunties.

Let me clarify…

According to Dharmendra, we have different words of addressing for our father’s older brother and younger brother; different words for father’s sisters. In the same way we have different words for mother’s sisters and brothers.

Unfortunately, in English all the males are addressed as Uncles and females are addressed as Aunts.

Somehow I love this culture and the set of mannerisms we have pertaining to how we address our elders and young ones. When we address the concerned person in a certain way, the relationship with that particular person becomes very clear both to them and the people around them. I feel there is less chance of taking for granted the relationships in our culture, though it’s purely my personal opinion about it.  

Keep reading and keep sending your feedbacks…

Stay Blessed!!!

(Image Source: HERE)

IMPACTING THROUGH PROPER MANNERS

Though I myself have never been out of the USA, in my 50 years, I have had the honor of meeting people from other countries. They look very lost and confused. I try my best to communicate with them as the only language I know is English.

Again I pull on my job as a cashier for a grocery store. We get a lot of people from Africa in our store and I mean fairly new to this country. Many are on government aid and have trouble figuring out how to use the food stamp card they are given or WIC checks. So I have to explain, speaking clearly to them but not in a way that is condescending. I speak softly, gently. My customers behind them tend to get impatient and I call for a back up cashier while taking care of the people in front of me. Most of the time they are very stoic and will not smile. A few of the males are missing one or both hands.

As I get to know them and their children it is getting easier to communicate with them. I love to watch the younger women as they look at some of the fashion magazines, speaking in their language, pointing things out to each other. Many are dressed in the traditional clothes of their culture of long dresses and head coverings but you can still see their faces and hair.

It’s fun to watch their reactions, because they are no different than American born girls, when it comes to pretty clothes or movie and music stars. As soon as an older female shows up, they completely change and quickly put the magazine away, becoming very quiet. It’s hard to see that but at the same time I understand it. 

My point is this, it is all right to try and fit into a culture that is foreign to you, especially if you are going to be in that country for a while if not the rest of your life. Be patient with yourself, listen to those around you who KNOW the culture. And if you happen to be the one to help another to fit in..show them patience, kindness. If they make a mistake, explain gently what it is they did wrong and show them the correct way to respond in your culture. Sweet words will pull others to you but words of anger will surely discourage them, causing anger, frustration, and misunderstandings.