The famous author, Rudyard Kipling, and an Indian friend were both bidding farewell to a dear companion who was returning to the U.K., from India, where they had all been working.
Kipling grasped his friend firmly by the hand, coughed - slightly embarrassed - and then bid him a good journey home. . . before releasing his grip and pretending to brush some fluff from his sleeve.
Kipling's Indian friend advanced with tears in his eyes, kissed the fellow on both cheeks and went-on at some length about how much he would miss him and how much they all appreciated his work . . and that no-one could have done more, etc., etc. Finally at an end . . . he stood, sobbing and wiping his eyes, . .comforted by his wife.
When the mutual friend's ship had sailed, Kipling turned to his Indian friend, with real anger in his face, and said " That was terrible. The British just don't do things that way. You have embarrassed me . .and our young friend! "
The Indian replied,
" I am sorry that I have embarrassed you, but I 'feel' in the way that I feel . .and I must express my feelings as such. I have noticed that the British express love as if they only had a finite amount of it, and they feared that a 'drought' of love might arise at any time.
In India, we know that our love is infinite, and we have no fear of ever running out of it. Accordingly, we shower it recklessly on our friends and family whenever the opportunity arises. "
Kipling stood, white faced, listening to his dear friend's explanation. He then apologised to him, unreservedly, and was a much better and humbler man thereafter. The conversation added greatly to his future writing and to his understanding of what it is to be 'human'.