Thursday, February 27, 2014

Respect Me!

She was a newly wed and I was at her in-law's house laughing and chatting. Her mother in law showed up in the room and told her that some elders had come to give her their blessings. After the MIL left the girl expressed her displeasure about the tradition of touching elder's feet and how she was having backache because of bending down so many times. I could see she was angry and had no interest in meeting the guests. Anyhow, she went out and acted like a perfect bahu (daughter in law).

Yes this post is about the Indian custom of touching feet of the elderly. They say it is the way of showing respect. So in the above example was there any respect? or simply a hassle/an act? Not bending down shows egoistic nature? disrespect? Does that mean everyone except Hindus disrespect the elderly?

I saw the brothers bowing down half way and touching the elder's feet with one hand, when I did the same the Mother got furious. Girls are supposed to bend down all the way and do pranam thrice. Why? Girls need to 'act' to be more respectful? 

I touched my grandmother's feet on every birthday - no one ever told me to do that, I did it by choice. I might have forgotten to do it on a few birthdays, who knows, but no one got mad about it or reminded me to do it including the Grandmother. 

I have seen people getting angry if the young ones did not touch their feet. This girl/boy does not have any sanskar (family values) they said. 

There were some elders who always stopped me from touching their feet and instead shook hands with me. I felt closer to them, opened up more and of course still respect them. Reason?
They didn't command respect! 

Old generations reading this post - The young generation might not touch your feet but they do show respect in their own way, youngest generation reading this post - young generation is smart enough to understand if you really respect them ;-)


deepti mane said...

So true to the reality ! Well written Rasika
Dictionary meaning of respect is feeling of admiration. Respect should be earned/felt and not demanded.

deepti mane said...

Very true to reality, well written Rasika ! Dictionary meaning of Respect is feeling of admiration elicited by abilities/qualities.
Respect should be earned/felt and not demanded..