By Dr Jyots Bhattacharjee
G rudge is an ugly-sounding word. In the oxford dictiory we find that ‘grudge’ means a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment. We often bear a grudge against some person on some issue or another for days together—sometimes even for months or years at a stretch. But it is not really worth bearing a grudge against anybody, because it is invariably over little things and it a self-defeating attitude. It can destroy one’s peace of mind and happiness. Actually a person, who bears a grudge against somebody, can never remain happy, because all the time some feeling of ill usage gws the person’s heart. None can remain happy, if he/she has a feeling of resentment against someone.
Grudge usually springs from the feeling of some small insult or injustice, which might be either real or imagiry. Often some foolish or thoughtless remark, which has been overheard or passed on, is instrumental in giving rise to a grudge. There are some people who deliberately try to wedge a rift between two persons, who may be friends or relatives, by telling tales about one to the other. Actually tell-tales are a dangerous species and their only idea is to make mischief. Only the other day a friend grouched peevishly that one of her neighbours, whom she regarded as a nice person, had spread some scandal about her daughter, which was absolutely false. When I asked her how she knew about it, she replied that another neighbour had reported the incident to her. She was very angry with her neighbour, who apparently had betrayed her trust by spreading false rumour against her daughter. The lady swore to take revenge on the neighbour. I tried to pacify her, but she was too angry to listen to me. She fumed and declared that she would never talk to her neighbour again.
So the grudge against her neighbour took root in her mind and my friend did not bother to verify the anthencity of the story rrated by her friend. So it seems that apparently some people enjoy carrying fictitious tales to create mischief. But I think that we should take these malicious tales with a large tablespoon of salt.
It is a real pity that little things can create so much ill feeling. If a person is not invited to a friend’s wedding, he/she might feel left out and hurt, or may take it as a deliberate insult. But there may be some other reason. Perhaps in the busy pre-wedding atmosphere the invitation card idvertently got left out. There may be diverse reasons for someone to be left out of the wedding invitation. The person left out may feel justifiably sad, but is it necessary to take it so much to the heart so as to completely dissociate himself or herself from the friend?
In a party if we feel that we are paid less attention than another, it seems hardly fair to blame the other person and spoil the happy atmosphere. It may often happen. Some person may get all the attention because of charming manners and extrovert ture. There are some people who feel shy at a party and cannot socialize, while some may freely mix with people and turally they draw more attention than others. Such extrovert persons are very much welcome at a party.
I suppose all of us have at some time or other borne some grudge against another person. Sometimes it is fancied neglect that brings about the grudge. Perhaps a friend or a relative has not replied to your appeal for help. After all, it is quite possible that due to some reason or other, the relative may not have been able to reply to the letter, or somebody has been uble to respond to our appeal for help. But do these little things justify the grudge? Yet it is also true that all these little things are instrumental in giving birth to a grudge.
Sometimes with any insult or injustice a grudge may be born. I think one of the most important causes of grudge is jealousy. A person may be more talented and glamorous than you are and without hurting you at all she becomes somebody famous and highly appreciated by all. In spite of all her good qualities you may hate her for no reason at all and for no fault of hers. I myself once bore a grudge against a friend more than half a century back, though she was blameless and a very nice person. Today I feel ashamed and guilty for my unwarranted behaviour. Shall I tell you about my despicable feelings and churlishness? It happened long back—the folly of my youth. You see I became very friendly with this girl. We were in the same class in the same school. She was really a very nice girl and apparently had everything one could desire. She had beauty, brains and brilliance. Everybody praised her and she was very popular. She had the rare gift of being the life and soul in any party.
Though I was very friendly with her my ture was opposite of hers. I could not socialize and I always presented the perfect imitation of a deaf and dumb person. turally people liked my friend. She had the invaluable gift of being friendly with any person. I was a kind of introvert and could not come out of my shell despite my mother’s constant efforts to make me sociable. My friend could win the hearts of many people with her amiable ture. I became very jealous of her for no fault of hers. I did try to imitate her, but could not succeed, I had even tried to cripple myself wearing a pair of shoes a good half-inch smaller than my feet after seeing her dainty small feet. Filly I realized sadly that I could never be equal to her in any aspect. Jealousy gwed my heart, though outwardly I remained friendly with her. Actually it was not hypocrisy on my part. She was so nice that you could not possibly hate her in spite of all your resentment.
I suppose it is quite tural for us to bear a grudge against some person—but why nurture it? Money is often at the root of the problem. I know of a family where there were two brothers. While the mother was living, the elder son had supported her fincially, since he had a good job and was well-off. The younger son could not help her fincially, because he did not have a good job. But he was more of a moral support to her. He looked after her everyday needs and made her happy by giving her more time. It is very true that the elder son did help her enormously by providing her money, which is so essential for leading a reasobly comfortable life. Yet companionship, a few soothing words and sympathy are more important than money in bringing happiness to a lonely elderly person. turally the old lady recognized the sacrifices made by the younger son for bringing happiness to her. When the old lady died, it was found that she had left most of her jewellery to the younger son. The elder son was furious. The brothers and their families are now not even in nodding terms. Actually the younger son was blameless—yet the elder brother grudged his younger brother’s acquirement of the larger share in the mother’s jewellery.
A grievance may be real or fancied—but why should we nurse it? It may ruin a friendship or cause coolness in the family or between friends. Harbouring a grudge is sad and silly. There are no winners—only losers. Grudge does not make anyone happy and both the persons become sad and remain unhappy, which cause irreparable damage to a good relationship.
A few honest questions might make our minds free of the grudges. Sometimes a coolness springs from such silly and nonsensical reasons that we might laugh over it afterwards, when we ponder over the matter. It happened to me sometime back. You see once I went to a particular shop, where I make frequent purchases and know all the sales personnel. But on that particular day all of them were so busy with other customers that they did not seem to notice me. I felt terribly neglected and took it as a deliberate insult. Then without purchasing anything I stalked out of the shop in anger and did not visit it for a long time; only lateron I could smile at my churlishness.
When I visited the shop again after some weeks I found the sales personnel as friendly as before. When one of them asked me why I had not visited the shop for such a long time, I could not help feeling ashamed of my ill-tured resentment. To save my face I had to tell some white lies, since I could not hurt them by telling the truth. I think at times lies are very necessary to save the situation and keep it pleasant. I know that truth is admirable, but white lies are also very necessary for me. Of course strict sticklers of truth may not agree with me. But I don’t see why we should not take recourse to harmless lies, if they bring all round joy. As Atole France said, “Without lies humanity would perish of despair and boredom”. Of course I am not talking of malicious lies, but sometimes white lies are very beneficial.
Often we make thoughtless remarks, and at times we may have been unwise enough to say more than we meant to say. On some occasions we may have disappointed our friends in some way, or got involved in a heated argument, forgetting that there is a right time for saying something and right time for saying nothing, but seldom a right time for saying everything that comes into our heads. In fact, when we get annoyed with someone, we often say many unpleasant things, which we do not actually mean, but which do hurt the other person needlessly. Would not we be distressed to think that such small transgression could lose us our friends? Needless to say that it would be a terrible loss for us.
I believe that whenever a grudge threatens to take root, we should forget the person concerned. This is never a sign of weakness. An unkind remark may have dented your pride, but in brushing it off and giving it no more attention than it deserves you keep your self-respect intact. We ourselves often make mistakes and say certain things which may hurt another person. I myself may have made certain remarks, which have hurt the other person, though I never had any intention to cause pain to another. When occasiolly I come to know that somebody was hurt because of my thoughtless remark, I do regret my error. I think that most of us say or do something without the least intention to hurt another. So I think we should not take umbrage at someone’s thoughtless remarks.
Take this incident. Some time back an elderly lady accosted me at a wedding and said with a big smile that she also belonged to my tive town Jorhat. Apparently we were in the same class in the same school long back. She asked me if I remembered her. But I did not remember her. Forgetfulness is the biggest flaw in my ture and I forget even recent events. Then how could I possibly remember a person whom I may have known ages back? I racked my brains for enlightenment. But it was no use; I could not place her. I did not understand how she could recognize me after all these years. Perhaps she had the rare gift of extraordiry memory or might have mistaken me for somebody else.
She was looking at me with a smile. I could easily have said that I remembered her. But fool that I was, I said apologetically that I could not quite place her. It is said that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Her smile froze and she left me abruptly. I never had any intention to cause distress to the lady, but she took it as an insult. After making that mistake I really felt very sad. After that incident I have noticed the lady in some functions and she has remained cold towards me. I understand that she has not forgotten my tactlessness and bears a grudge against me. I suppose I will have to take some measures to amend my error.