Apologies in the Modern Day

Hello dear readers.


About a week ago, I was teaching this lesson to my student from his English stories book. The book’s name was “A magical place 6” by Orient Blackswan publications and the lesson was called “The Musical Pigeon” by Gerald Durell.

(The first page of the story)

The story was about a pet pigeon with a peculiar taste towards music and dancing. It did not know how to fly so he used to follow his masters by walking around.

(a picture from the tale)

It was a cute little story designed well for the tender mind of its 12 year old readers. What paragraph stayed with me, a 24 year old, was this:

It made me question the worth of apology in today’s world. That little dumb creature couldn’t speak a word but his apology was felt nonetheless. It seemed to be expressing with everything it had how sorry it was to make its human angry. It stayed at the door, begging for apology for its folly in its own cooing ways- by looking inside the room with its tiny eyes.
All of this not because it understood what it did, (Of course, how would a bird understand what a map or inkpot is?) but because it understood that whatever it was, its human didn’t like it and was upset about it. Hence the apology.

I reflected it in my own terms. I have people around me and I have my bunny. If my bunny does something to which I need to be strict, she’d understand and try to apologise by bowing her head down and licking my hand most vigorously in a characteristic manner. To appease me to forgive her.

The humans around me– well…
Let me ask you two simple questions:


Question 1: How often do you say sorry in a day?


Question 2: How many of those sorries do you remember by the night?

I feel pretty sorry about the use of “sorry” in our day to day conversations.

Sorry was a word derived from “sorrow” to express the state of guilt and sorrow of someone towards someone else in response to a sad situation the concerned person is in (put by the person expressing the apology, or by some other person). Today, it seems to have become just another word in our lingo.

Scenario 1: You are rushing to the metro. Your elbow hurts a commuter. You shout a “sorry!” with or without turning your head and board the train in time. 15 minutes later, you don’t even remember the incident or the person. You didn’t even bother to ask if they were okay. You just said sorry and rushed away.

Scenario 2: You are having a good time hanging out with your friends. You are happy and everyone’s having a good time. Some underprivileged person puts his hand to you asking for some change. You say sorry and move ahead with your group. Five minutes later you don’t remember someone had asked you for help.

Scenario 3: You are at the college or your work space. And being the heart of the group, you crack a joke on a colleague and laugh out loud with everyone else. You say, “sorry, not sorry!” and you all cherish the good time. Even right after laughing, you don’t realise you said a sorry.

Simple experiment: count the number of times you say “sorry” in a day.

If you say a lot of sorries and you don’t even realise until you started counting, you are amongst the ones who have devalued it. And if you don’t say sorry at all, I’m sorry for you.

I don’t know who needs to know this, but: a sorry losses its weight everytime it is repeated to someone, while forgiving a person time and again gets heavier.

Yeah. It’s my own quote. I learnt it the hard way.

I recently forgave an ex bestfriend for something which was pretty tough on me, even when I had all the reason not to.

Their apologies were shallow with respect to the action they committed and it hurt me immensely. I sometimes thought if they were feeling too guilty to come up to apologise. But that was cleared when the pictures of them having fun with their company blasted on the social media stories.

They were enjoying when I had been continuously declining invitations and lamenting in my room– for months now. The guilt was definitely not there on their end. The apology was merely ‘said and done’ and was hardly felt.

So, I asked myself if I needed to hold onto my decision of not forgiving them and what significance it held.

It was pretty evident that it didn’t matter to them anymore. They had dusted off the topic and the apology and moved on with enjoying their lives. But it was not the same on this side.

I realised that my decision to hold onto my pain and the decision to hold my forgiveness was not bothering anyone else but me. It kept suffocating me and kept my heart feeling heavy. So I let go of it for myself. I sent them a voicemail to finish it off.

I forgave them. Not that their incomplete apologies were accepted, but because holding onto it was hurting me.

Nevermind. The point of this blog isn’t to tell you what happened to me but to give an insight of what apologies have come down to today.

Today, apologies are merely said than being felt. People seem to say “sorry” as if it’s just a duty to fulfill, they don’t feel the essence of it or try to understand what the other person is going through because of them.

I’ll quote something from TVF’s Official Bhootiyagiri:

You can’t ask an apology the size of a jacuzzi (tub) after committing a mistake the size of the Pacific Ocean.

If you can’t value the other person, atleast undertake the responsibility to understand the weight of your deeds and it’s corresponding apologies. Because if you don’t do it, your apologies feel more like a mockery.

And please, for the sake of whatever higher being you believe in, remember that your actions have an effect on other people around you– whether you realise it or not.

Peace.

Published by Md Asif Raza

A microbiologist who is passionate about writing and cooking. An aesthete, humane and simple individual brought up with old school values. A practicing Indian Muslim and an individual with aspirations to be a philanthropist and a better version of himself. ☘️

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