On Sunday we had an impromptu session on Executive Presence and one of the listed behaviours was “Gender Graciousness” and I made the now famous statement, that just say “Graciousness”, as gender has very little to do with it. Most men and women have forgotten what it means to be gracious !

Just watch an airport check-in counter.. The old man out in the front would be struggling with a huge old style suitcase and the smartly turned out “girl” behind him would have a smirk on her face, and say to her companion if she had one “these oldies just don’t know anything and they slow everything down” … But she would not help the man move his bag. If anything she will jump the queue stating she is a woman and needs to be attended to first.

You learn graciousness by watching your elders and parents at home. This is one thing for which the blame rests squarely on the parents because it is an acquired attribute. Even the truly bratty kid can be taught to be gracious. Standing up when a lady enters the room, (yes, even if its your wife) holding the door for the next person walking behind you (man or woman), holding the elevator open if you see another person rushing to get in (not pretend you didn’t notice), sending a mass email with all the addresses in “bcc”, older/younger folk not hogging the speed lane driving at a snail’s pace, sniggering when a “differently wired” student asks a question in class, not picking your nose or scratching parts of your body in public, allowing the people in the seats ahead to come out comfortably and get their things in an aircraft (not climbing on top of them to get to the exit and save one unholy minute), rush to cross the intersection when a gracious driver stops to let you pass and resist the temptation to take a stroll… Especially in Delhi, and Arnab allowing the panelists to say their piece and not cutting them off to state his view (tough one) – all these constitute gracious behaviour by both men and women.

I can go on and I probably should – I left out the other simpler stuff of “thank you”, “please” and “sorry”, we use them often and many times incorrectly and infrequently but atleast they are used.

Do teach your children to be gracious, the world has enough bad behaviour as it is, being gracious and teaching your child to be gracious may just make the behavioural muck more bearable. Don’t believe me ? Sonia Gandhi is an example of amazing graciousness, except when it comes to her son, but she is graceful at all occasions – and now think of her sister-in-law…… hope that clarifies why I said graciousness is gender neutral.

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