Before I actually start this post, I must disclaim that I am not very fond of the word “Gandhigiri” – but it has come so much into the everyday parlance, that I cannot find any other alternative.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the word finds itself in the Oxford dictionary pretty soon.
For those unfamiliar with the term, “Gandhigiri” means doing as (Mahatma) Gandhi would. The word comes from a very popular (and extremely hilarious) Hindi film – “Lage Raho Munnabhai” in which the protagonist follows on the steps prescribed by Mahatma Gandhi to bring about revolutionary changes.
This involves using the path of non violence and satyagraha.
Though, I found the movie to be extremely hilarious and enjoyable, I didn’t actually think working on these philosophies would produce results in our modern, day to day life.
However, the cynic in me was silenced when I actually happened to try the technique at home for a very interesting (though trivial problem) and it produced astonishing results.
Let me enunciate as follows:
At the onset of summer, the chore that becomes the biggest pain in our house – is filling up bottles of water to store in the refrigerator.
Though the cold water is consumed by everyone, it is usually my mother and me who end up filling the water. This is actually frustrating, because we have a “Fill up water when you consume it” policy which no one seems to follow.
You will empathize with me when I tell you how homicidal I feel when I open the refrigerator to find that – not only is all the cold water over, but bottles are missing entirely – the ones which my brother conveniently bootlegs to the confines of his room.
This naturally infuriates me because not only do I NOT get the cold water which I so painstakingly filled up, but I know that after I fill up the bottles again – the same scenario will take place and I might actually end up strangling my brother.
None of the tactics to make my brother start filling up after he drank worked. No amount of tantrums, abuses, nagging ever got him to fill a single bottle.
Then, while re-filling the bottles that evening, the concept of Gandhigiri hit me.
One of the biggest and most pro-active emotions that human beings experience – something that more often than not makes someone get up and do something is that of guilt. And this is what the principle is based on. (I think)
So, I decided, to somehow make my brother feel guilty for what he was doing. (He’s human – so he has to eventually – right?)
That evening, once I had done filling up the bottles, I poured in a glass of ice cold water and took it up to his room and put in on his desk.
After looking suspiciously at the utensil on his desk, smelling it and finally taking a sip, he asked what was wrong with me.
To which I replied: “I am now embarking on the path of Gandhigiri and everytime I fill up bottles of water which YOU drink, I’ll get you a glass of water.”
He was on the floor laughing and told me that there was no way in hell he was going to fall for this, and I could go and keep filling bottles till kingdom-com for all he cared.
I knew this was coming and had mentally prepared myself to go through this ritual for a couple of months atleast!
I couldn’t be more wrong.
The next day, I get back home after work to find the refrigerator completely stocked – every empty nook and corner of it – with bottled water.
My mom was as shocked as me – and told me that my brother had come to the kitchen, dug up hundreds of empty bottles, filled them up and stocked them – all without her telling him anything.
I couldn’t believe it!
It worked!!! Gandhigiri worked!
Results within 1 day (though your mileage may vary).
So, if you have similar problems, I suggest you give this a shot. The trick is finding the right angle to make the person feel guilty as soon as possible (you don’t want to keep doing this forever and look like an idiot) – like in this case offering a glass of water did the trick.
If this does not work, threatening the concerned person that you are going to blog about this usually does the trick. :)
[ Min number of posts to go till Mar 17, 2008 : 85.]