Culturally in India, we do not have the habit of saying thank you. As a child one is not taught that really. Or should I say, it was not taught when I was growing up. Now, of course, I see parents egging their kids on to say ‘thank you’; this is again from those set of parents, who would like their children to become global citizens and would not like their children to be perceived as uncouth.
So how does one say thank you in India, traditionally? O one does not. It is more in the form of gestures that one conveys the appreciation. What gestures? Well a smile, a hug, or some other understated expression. While gestures are great and hold a lot of appeal, at a personal level, I believe there is truly nothing more special than vocalizing your feelings.
Even I have learnt to vocalize my appreciation over the years, it has not come overnight to me, since one is traditionally not taught the art of openly being appreciative. So now that I am, has it changed my life in any way? Oh yes, it has, in a very positive way. I especially love to see the smile light up the face, when I vocalize my appreciation.
I overcame my initial shyness, when I would thank my husband for gestures made; be it getting me a glass of water or taking the family out for a meal. But, I realized, in spite of having been brought up with similar traditional values like me (as in no need to say thanks to people who one is very close to), he loved the vocalization of appreciation too. Guess, what the best thing that is happened out of this? My little boy has learnt this part of behavior. Vocalization of appreciation comes very naturally to him. I have often got calls from his friends mothers; post a play date, of what a courteous and appreciative boy he is!
In most cases I have seen, this simple little gesture, of saying thank you, is very warmly welcomed. The happiest, I have seen are the customer service staff and retail professionals at any mall.
This was the first year, in so many years, that we especially went out for a Thanksgiving Dinner with the family. Why was it special? We took time out as a family to be out together in the middle of a hectic weekday (because unlike the US, there are no Thanksgiving holidays in India).
Do you know what was the best part about the Thanksgiving meal? I asked my pre-teenager, what is it that you are thankful about? He said, ‘my family, is what I am thankful about’.
As some one has rightly said..
To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.