Apology: It’s how you say and not what you say that matters.

You are walking in a constricted gallery, being your clumsy self when you bump into someone. Assuming, you and the person you bump into are not having a bad day, both of you would probably utter the word, ‘sorry’.

This 5-letter word has everything from a dedicated song to a complete movie (ZNMD, anyone) on its value. Almost all of us would have uttered it some time or the other. Some of us use it as frequently as if it were our second name. In short, every person is familiar with this word and its significance.

But have you ever noticed how difficult it is to say sorry when you are mistaken? 

When I was 9, I once complained to my mother that my elder sibling was teasing me, yet again. My mother asked him not to do it, and apologise, which, he refused. My mother then said something that, to be honest, was amusing.

"Arey boldo na Sorry, koi chote toh ho nhi jaoge"  

Even at the age of 9, I knew I didn’t want that half felt apology. If my brother is saying sorry, not because he feels it but because it won’t make him any less and would instead end the argument then I much rather not be apologised to. Yet that learning subconsciously stayed with me. I learnt to say sorry even when I did not mean it. It took incessant requests from my friends to not feel sorry about everything before I became conscious of that fact and started using alternative words to excuse myself rather than saying sorry when I did not mean it.

But even at that point when I used Sorry as often as I spoke, my inability to say sorry when I meant it, bothered me.

"Vo sorry bhi tha...aur dil se bhi, And dil ki baatein bolna aksar mushkil hi hota hai"

When we say sorry for sneezing, yawning, expressing inability to help someone, or for bumping into someone, it is almost out of reflex that the word ‘sorry’ comes out of our mouth. It is almost an involuntarily action that we have been made to learn through years of conditioning. Conditioning that taught us to say sorry because it is just a word. Because it helps to end arguments and will only make you look better. It is this reason, perhaps that a sorry doesn’t come out easily when we truly mean it.

Just a word…

Somewhere deep inside, this realisation that ‘sorry’ is too less a word. In itself, the word just indicates that you regret what you did and are asking for forgiveness. But over time the continued misuse of the word has made it lost it’s worth.

Which is where comes ’empathy’, the ability to try and understand why someone thinks what they think. I forgive people very easily is something I always thought about myself but over time I have realised that it is not the word but the feelings associated with it. The way you say sorry. To quote Hrithik’s character from Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, “Tumne sorry bola tha…pr dil se nhi”. That is precisely what we need. Sorry is just a word but when accompanied by heartfelt feelings, it is that every word that can connect people. I made a very good friend because of this word, I asked them not to say sorry but they did, with the assurance that they realise where they have faltered and they promise not to repeat that mistake. “Vo sorry bhi tha…aur dil se bhi, And dil ki baatein bolna aksar mushkil hi hota hai”

“Tumne sorry bola tha…pr dil se nhi”


So the next time you bump into someone, wait for a second and see if it was indeed your mistake because a sorry may end the argument but it’s unworthy if you don’t mean it.

Published by Nimisha Bansal

a writer who writes to heal their soul. When they are not writing you can find them humming old Bollywood songs

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