Naga Chokkanathan

Just checked the #AbMontuBolega video at  http://www.abmontubolega.com/. It uses some practical situations where we need to speak up, if we want changes to happen. It links beautifully to the product Strepsils (https://www.facebook.com/StrepsilsIndia and https://twitter.com/StrepsilsIndia) which relieves the throat and makes one speak up, a good match indeed! 

We had our own Montu moment when we were living in Hyderabad. Our neighbor was a fierce looking army man who rarely spoke to other people in the apartment. So, we also tried to stay away from him. 

He was a good man in general, the only problem with him was that he was throwing his garbage just in front of his house, even though there is a dust bin just nearby. So, our apartment’s cleaning person had to take it and put it in the bin after few hours. During that time the place smelled like anything. Our neighbor either didn’t know it or didn’t care. 

We were afraid to tell him, so we just tried to make faces when he does it in front of our eyes, expecting him to understand. But he neither looked at us nor changed his habit. 

We all knew it was wrong, but we didn’t know how to tell him. We even considered sending him an anonymous letter. But an army man will definitely get our finger prints from that letter and track us, won’t he? 

So, we remained silent. We assumed someone else will tell him or he would understand on his own. 

During that vacation, a friend of mine from Mumbai visited us. We took him to some of the important tourist places in and around the city. He enjoyed his stay here.

Just a day before he was about to return, he noticed this army man dropping his garbage in front of his home. My friend didn’t know who he was, so he directly walked to him and told him that he shouldn’t throw garbage in open places like that. 

We were shocked to hear that, of course he may not do anything to my friend immediately. But, what if he files some imaginary case and puts him behind the bars?

So, we asked my friend to go back to his home immediately. He refused, calling us silly. 

Next day, the army man was not dropping his garbage in front of his home. He went to the dust bin and dropped it properly. That’s what he did every single day after that. 

Nothing happened to my friend too. He makes fun of our cowardice even today! 

Of course, we were afraid to talk. But along with that we were also not sure we will get the results by speaking up. We expected wrong doers to understand their mistake on their own and change. It won’t happen, except in few cases. So it makes sense to talk openly and tell people what you think about. After all, what is the worst thing that can happen? They will refuse to change? Then it genuinely becomes their problem as you have done your best by speaking up.

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2 Responses to "Speak Up!"

Interesting website. I have a similar story to yours.
One of our neigbours is an English couple who keep themselves to themselves. They rarely smile at us and always keep to the rules. We have always felt they were unfriendly.They have a drive way to park their car.

Once, one of their two cars was broken down and they parked their car in front of our house on the street. (We don’t have a drive way). I assumed the guy would move it after a few days, but it remained there for weeks. My wife had to park her car far away due of this and carry the shopping, etc. to the house, which irritated her. She insisted that I should tell them to park their car on their driveway, but I hesitated as they had all the right to park their car on the street, wherever there is an empty space, whether they had a drive way or not. As they always ‘follow the rules’, I wanted to avoid an argument with them.

After about about 3 months (!!), I picked up the courage and one day, when I happened to see him in front of our house attending to his car, I said “Good Morning” and started a conversation. Then I said that would he mind parking his car in front of their house, as my wife is finding it difficult to do the shopping, etc. I expected a statement of the law of the country and some verbal abuse.

Instead, he apologised and said he did not think of it and he would gladly move the car out of the way. Since then he has never parked his car in front of our house!!!

So, speaking up really something worth trying, whether you have Strepsils or not!

I have another incident to share with you as well. (The above incident and the following one have nothing to do with the environment; they are only about speaking up)

The point on this one is that speaking up should not be done with rudeness or aggressively. Assertiveness is a rare quality which needs to cultivated.

I park my car (again this is about my parking woes!) occasionally in front of other people’s houses on the street (where we all have the right to park), when some one else is parked in front of my house. However, as I go to work by train, sometimes the doesn’t get moved for nearly one week. Once, when my car was parked in front of a particular house, I saw a note was place on the windscreen. It read “DO NOT PARK YOUR CAR HERE”. I felt that if they had spoken to I would have explained my situation to them. I thought it was very rude and ignored that note and continued to park there, whenever I did not have a space and this space was available.

After a while, there was another bigger note was place on my car. This time it was written by the husband. It read, “Please do not park your car here for long periods of time. My wife and has to take our 5 children to school and does her shopping. She find it difficult to do when parked far away. If you have a problem with it please speak to me.” I thought the note was polite enough and explained their reasons and did not try to challenge my parking rights.

Since then I avoid parking there, if I can find a space elsewhere. Even if I have to park there, I ensure I move my car as soon as possible.

So, speaking up should be done in the correct manner and can make matters worse if not done politely!

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