Power of Apology

 

It was around five in the evening when I accidentally hit a bicycle in front of my car at the Lodhi Garden traffic signal. The man riding this cycle was carrying two LPG cylinders , tied on either side of the carrier of the cycle. The cycle and the man and the cylinders went through a tsunami of sorts. He looked back. His face red. Even before he could disembark from his cycle to come charging at me, I folded my hands and apologized. There were no words since my windows were rolled up. Through my face, my eyes, my gestures, I communicated my apology. The redness reduced. The face less angry now. He turned away. Signal was still red. Another 15 seconds  left. He moved few meters. So did I. He turned back again. This time I held my ears. I saw a mild smile on his face. Signal green now. We both moved with the rest of traffic.

I am sorry message

Heavy traffic made sure our average speeds were same between motorized and non-motorized vehicle and thus I saw him again at the next signal. I looked straight, but from the corner of my eye I was checking if he would recognize me and might want to settle any score. I just noticed that he noticed me. My apology began, again. This time no mild smile. Rather a warm smile and a gesture that conveyed, “it’s okay.”

In a matter of 10 minutes I averted what could have been a serious trouble. In such situations, general public usually charges on the 4-wheeler  driver irrespective of who was driving weird.

Fast forward two years. I had gone to Delhi around republic day to spend time with my family and hear my two yeard old newphew speak because he had recently started talking. I was waiting at the airport for my father. When he arrived on motor cycle, a big Toyota hit my father’s bike from behind. My father was just stationary, waiting for me to walk to him. The car hitting my father’s motor cycle left me seething with anger. I went to the driver, yelling at him. His replied, “ So what?”.  In that moment of anger, I forgot to not be surprised by this considering I was in Delhi. I yelled more. My father took me away and brought me home. I felt helpless.  How hard was it for him to apologize for a mistake that was evidently made by him.

Why is apology going away from our demeanors?

Apology has the power to disarm the angry ones. It can really preempt or impeded some harmful situations or consequences. Still intoxicated in power and money, are we are drifting away from this simple yet powerful tool. Perhaps our towering egos cemented with our relative affluence come in the way?

 

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