On Saying Thank You

thank-you

Back when I was working for IBM, after a particularly grueling client meeting, my boss and I went out to lunch. After we ate in silence for a while, each nursing our own thoughts about the massacre that went on in the conference room, he cleared his throat and said, ‘Thank you very much for being with me out there today.’ Here was a man who, just a few minutes ago, was blasting me left and right in front of everyone for not being good enough. And now he was saying thank you.

I could only mumble something incoherent. After another stint of silence, he said, ‘Back in high school, my English text book had a lesson called On Saying Please.’ Then he went on to tell me about this bus conductor who turns around a particularly bad day just by saying please to everyone he meets. My manager was saying, of course, that especially when times are bad, saying things like please and thank you reminds you that they’re not all bad.

I remembered that lesson, of course, because I studied the same syllabus. (State syllabus doesn’t change much or often.) If you went to school way before or way after my time, here’s a link. Download and read it, if it takes your fancy. Link below:

On Saying Please

Now, thank you is another such phrase. Have you noticed how gratitude brings contentment and peace, both to the giver and the receiver? After my manager said ‘thank you’ at lunch on that day, I was prepared to forgive all that was said in the meeting. I was ready to go into another such meeting with him if need be, because I could see that he appreciated my efforts.

I could bore you with a long list of ‘Thank you’ quotes culled from the internet, but I will just give you a couple to ponder over:

First, by the Buddha:

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.

Second, by G. K. Chesterton:

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

Are words enough?

Talk is cheap, they say. A word of ‘thank you’ is better than doing nothing, of course, but if you’re truly grateful, would you not show it through your actions? On this blog, over the last few months, I’ve come across people who make it a point to comment on my every post, say a word or two in response to everything I write. They do this in spite of knowing that I do not return the favour (though I always intend to). Those little interactions, a shared joke or thought, a smile given and a smile returned – they brighten up my day, and I hope  they brighten up yours too.

To all the readers of this blog, therefore, I must stop to say thank you.

But I know words are not enough. So I began a contests page where I can give away prizes. This has a double effect: one, I get to hear from you, which I enjoy, and two, I get to say thank you in a tangible, substantial fashion.

The cynics will say that this is all a promotion gimmick, that all I care about is my blog becoming better known. But regular visitors will have noticed that I don’t have advertisements on my website. And you won’t find a single post or link where I’m asking you explicitly to buy my books.

I won’t say that selling my books is not important to me. That would be lying. But there is one thing that’s more important than selling books: making friendships and nurturing them.

Another way to say thank you – the mailing list

You will have noticed a mailing list opt-in box in the top right corner. That is another way I can thank my most loyal readers. First, let me tell you what I will not do with your email address.

  • I will not spam you. You will hear from me once a fortnight, sometimes once a week. Never more often than that.
  • I will not send you a notification every time I post on the blog. If you want to be notified every time I post, there is a ‘Follow’ button on the sidebar.
  • I will not share your contact information with any third party, for any reason.
  • I will not sell you anything. All my promotional activities will be geared towards you, the reader.
  • I will not lock you in. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Now, here are a few reasons why you should consider being on my mailing list.

  • I give away two free monthly gifts to my email subscribers – one’s a lucky dip, and the other’s given to the most active member.
  • I give away free material on writing and literature from my library to my email subscribers. These will be Powerpoint presentations, e-book extracts, novel excerpts and the like.
  • An email is more private than a blog. I can communicate with you – and you with me – at a more personal, hopefully deeper level.
  • You can give me feedback. Whether you want to rant on something that I wrote on the blog, whether you want to give me feedback on my books (if you’ve read them), or whether you just want to send in your appreciation, you will have a direct line to my inbox. And I reply to every email I get.
  • You can ask for help. I know many writers who are struggling to get a break in the industry. If you’re one of them, all you need to do is drop me a line.
  • You will be notified of all blog contests by email, so you will not miss any.

So go ahead, sign up for my list. I promise you it will be fun!

Your turn now. What do you think of saying please and thank you? How often do you express gratitude for the most precious things and people in your life? Do you find that saying thank you improves your quality of life? And how much more important are actions than words? Tell me everything in the comments section below!

Image Courtesy: Tales from 2L Hell

Comments

  1. I remember when I was in Bangalore, there were times when I would be standing waiting for an auto late in the afternoon or early evenings after college. On one such day, after waiting for more than 45 minutes and seeing that no one was really stopping by, I walked in the sun and came upon an auto which had an old, very old driver sitting in it. I asked him and he readily agreed to drop me to my place, but I was scared that he was old and I might be just interrupting his rest time. When we reached our place, I got down to pay him and said thank you and few other words….

    The old driver grinned and I noticed he was toothless, which reminded me so much of all the things nice. He then blessed me by placing his hand on my head. That blessing, I remember, was heavenly. I felt like home suddenly. That moment I truly realized the strength of acknowledgement. You are right, words and gestures of love and appreciation can melt anyone.

    PS: The way you thank us is personal and touching, which is good and keeps us hooked to this place! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing that story, MSM. And also for the vote of confidence. I always a soft corner for auto drivers. For all the complaints you hear about them on Facebook about them – especially by Bangaloreans – sometimes we forget that they drive an open vehicle on polluted, overcrowded roads for close to twelve hours a day, often seven days a week. As a result of this, the average auto driver is sure to live at least five years less than the average IT-company-employed-person in Bangalore.

      Is it really the end of the world if he asks for a little extra now and then? Sometimes we all lack a little perspective, I think.

      Like

  2. This truly has to be one of the best posts ever from any blogger, let alone a published author like you whose books sell decently well I assume 🙂

    The fact that you have not used your blog to date to market your books at all, and publish thought provoking posts about feminism, philosophy and your interest in art and the stories behind paintings, and use your blog only to connect more with its readers (who might not even have read your books at all) is something that endears you to me a lot. That, and the fact that you think we are ‘philosophical siblings’ 😀

    It therefore goes without saying that I have obviously subscribed to your newsletter and will surely engage as much as I can with the blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jai,

      Thanks for the nice words. And yes, I think I’ve told you before how uneasy it makes me feel to directly market myself. On the other hand writing and interacting with readers is something I truly enjoy. So it makes sense – purely from a selfish standpoint – to do more what I enjoy and less of what makes me uneasy.

      I find a lot more pleasure in human relationships than I do in sales numbers. Apparently this is also a viable ‘long term strategy’, to invest in relationships, but I’m not even thinking in terms of strategy. I’m just doing what makes me happy.

      If you live in Bangalore, we should totally meet! Let me ping you one of these days on Facebook.

      Like

  3. Sasikanth Gudla says:

    On Saying Please – A.G. Gardiner I think

    Like

  4. what a coincidence sharath sir – infact i was hunting for this story for a while. it was in IXth or Xth class english state syllabus textbook (SSC). forgot the title but do remember the gist of it, thanks to Samuel Sir.

    thank you once again.

    Like

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