By Rehema Zuberi.
This is a call to courtesy. We didn’t have it then lose it but it would be nice if we head there. As a people. Together. No one should be left behind in this initiative. It is dynamic for our easy coexistence. There are many forms of politeness, often expressed in words accompanied by gestures. I will only tackle two.
Excuse me. I want to take you back to your kindergarten. Remember the ‘excuse me teacher I want to go to the toilet’ phrase you carried on to high school? Well that is the correct way to use it. It is ‘excuse me’. Nothing grates me more than when a person wants to pass me and they use ‘excuse’. Where is your grammar? Did you forget it at home? Or is it the manners you lack?
If you are going to use excuse to have me give you way, I would rather you just shove your way through. It is of little difference. The rudeness is heightened in both.
According to the Oxford dictionary, using excuse instead of excuse me is a defense to your behaviour. You are simply telling the person in your way, I am passing whether or not they move. Two syllables won’t cost you anything if you add them to your statement. It will infact change it to a request from a command. That will be totally worth the use of your saliva. This way you get the person’s attention first and what better way to lighten up your day if they smile at you?
Thank you. Appreciation depicts you as one with good qualities. This is probably the most forgotten form of humility. It is not a science. It has become so rare that if a person says it, you immediately fall back to astonishment. Especially if this person is the least you expect gratitude from.
Morocco and I stepped into a supermarket to get a cold drink as it was quite hot that Friday afternoon. He picked a cold Fanta pineapple and as I was fasting, I simply accompanied him. When we got to the cashier, we lined up like the other esteemed customers. He took an especially long time as he was using the Lipa na M-pesa service on his mobile. Once the cashier received the confirmation message, he slid off the soda bottle to the packaging guy and guess what she did? She said asante! Startled, we both looked back to take a good look at her. Was she feeling alright?
We discussed this in length as we walked out of the Tuskys outlet in town. I was quick to comment that she must have been new to extend such a gesture of common courtesy. Later on, I realized that she did not lose anything by thanking the customers, she was leaving an impression that would last in them instead. Taking that I encountered her in June, you realise how true it is.
I was fazed when one Mama Mboga told me thank you. I wanted to go back there everyday so that we could enhance the asante-karibu relationship. It is a warm fuzzy feeling. They don’t appreciate you because they know you. They do so because you chose them. It is not a strategy to keep customers but it works in their favour. Wouldn’t you want someone to be grateful to you for buying their groceries? Do not wait for the same at the butchery. You will be disappointed unless you are there for a kilo or two. Watu wa ka-quarter you are not adding value.
Imagine alighting from a matatu and the tout thanking you as they speed away. It happened to a man not so long ago and as much as he was taken aback, it left a smile plastered on his face. Wouldn’t you want to do this for someone? Just one random person daily.
How many people have you shown gratitude today? Did you thank the shopkeeper as you bought items for breakfast? No?
How about the watchman as you went out? Still no?
The driver in the matatu you used (if you were lucky to have the front seat)?
Your religious leader?
Your parents, guardian or relatives? Friends maybe?
You can’t be that thankless..
If it is as tough as it sounds, then atleast thank God for them and on their behalf. Purpose to make those around you better at 0 shillings! Heshima si utumwa.