I have been working (or atleast getting away by looking busy) for around 8 months now, and have come to know many people, primarily the superiors in my firm, who are successful, who have so-to-speak, made it in life. Almost all of them of them belong to the usual meritocratic class - strong academic performances - IIT/IIM, fighter spirit and the ambition to go ahead. I work hard to learn from them, emulate them, and when I see signs within myself that I am slowly becoming like them, I feel great. All such signs, except one.
During my stay here, there have been several instances where I have seen them being rude, abusive and (at the least) condescending to people who are in a lower economic strata than they are. This includes taxi chauffeurs, waiters, liftmen, peons and the like. I find it terribly disgusting when I see them shouting at them, knowing the other can't get back at you. Seeing them thus, I have told myself several times that I would never stoop to such a level, would always try to look at things from the other point of view, and would maintain my dignity, and believed that I would be able to do this. Until yesterday.
I happened to be at the Old Delhi railway station yesterday afternoon, and it was raining heavily. I had left the car on the main road, and when my business at the station was done and I had to leave, I asked the car to come in and get me. Either my instructions were not clear enough, or the traffic was very heavy; in any case neither my driver or me were able to locate each other. So being the impatient man that I am, I came out into the rain and started looking for it outside the station. As I was getting drenched (I haven't seen it rain so heavily in Delhi in recent memory), I started shouting at the driver on the phone. The mental image of him safely ensconced in the car, while it poured, was flashing through my head and I launched into a long tirade, all the while getting more worked up (and wet!). After about 10 minutes of this, he finally located me and I got in.
Then it occurred to me; I was behaving exactly like I had seen one of my superiors behave with his driver. And I had hated him for it. I felt really bad. I apologised to the driver and completed the rest of the journey in quiet introspection.
As I have grown, I have always prided myself upon the fact that I could relate to most people, had my feet firmly on the ground and didn't discriminate on artificial ground. But this incident shook me. Was I acquiring the good with the bad, would I really become arrogant and vain? And that scared me. The fact that I was conscious of this made me hope that this was a one-off, a momentary lapse in the heat of the moment and nothing concrete. However, the verdict is still out on this.
As I got out of the car, I apologised again. I went upstairs to my room, put on "Snow" by RHCP, and tried to forget about it.