Monday, 1 May 2017

Attention Vs Respect

Went to a movie yesterday. No, I am not going to talk about the movie. I do have some things to share about the movie as well. May be later, and in an another post for sure, but not now. I have much bigger things going on my mind, issues that can be labelled as 'fundamental'. Sometimes we accept things simply because we see them all around all the time and across the globe. So what? That need not stop us from questioning the rationale behind those practices. I am done with the warming up and get to the point directly,  

If you are an Indian and staying in India for the past couple of months, You certainly would know that, right before the show starts, a 'ritual' that takes place in the movie hall. 

Yes, I am talking about the same. Now now, dont get your thinking horses run wild and presume that this post is about the issue of Patrioticism, for, it certainly is not. 

My motive behind writing this post is entirely different. I would like to find out an answer for one simple question: 
Since when  'standing up' symbolised ' showing Respect' in human interactions? And, let me clarify that I have no intention of discussing the reasons behind this particular ritual. I do not want to broach the subject, like  - why sudden enforcement, to elicit what kind of response and to what effect. No, not going there.

To prove my intentions, I would like to state the given situation in plain words: National Anthem playing in the speakers and National Flag on the screen is an occasion that requires you to Show Respect. Period! Yes, I get it, and I am not debating it, atleast not here. 

My point of discussion remains : Why Standing? What does it signify?    

While I was grappling with that question, I was reminded of another occassion. We feel obligated to pay respect, generally standing ... some times it might be done sitting as well, the stress is on the maintaing the silence, and with closed eyes if you please. You get what it is. 

Yes, I am talking about praying for the peace of the departed souls. 

However grave the context may sound, it does not qualify as a serious affair. If at all you have failed yourself in such occasions to the match up the public standard, it is not a big deal. The greatest set back you may face is that you may be frowned upon, probably severely, and may be by many. But you shall not be arrested, for sure. Hence, though the requirement of standing is common for both occasions, they are different things altogether: Showing Respect is much more a seious job than Paying Respect.

One can definitely put another occasion in the same bracket as our, lets call it as, prior movie ritual. And that you would encounter in courts. Many of you, might not have stepped inside the courts, yet. But surely you must have watched it in movies. Prior to the entry of Mr Judge, the solemn voice at the top of its pitch saying 'all rise'! And then if you fail to do so, you sure are going to be in trouble. 

Hence, I am not wrong if I say - "whatever you may think or however you may feel, you are supposed to stick to the norms to prove that you have no intention to insult some one or some thing". I fail to see a connection between showing respect and coming on to your feet. 

Having said that I can see some intrinsic relation between the attention paid by people and their body posture. Whenever we are interested or alert  - our body comes to an erect position, most of the times involuntarily. Conversely, it is true that when we are being lazy or tired, our body looks slack. 

One would expect us to 'pay attention' while we listen to them or work for them. It is our duty to be attentive in all our waking hours. When we fail to do so, we get to pay our dues depending on the seriousness of the task. But some one is not going to punish you for not being attentive per se. 

I would like to go back to my earlier question, whats with this standing. Why is it imperative that we stand, to show our respect. Why does respect depend on some or other body part? Does that mean that those who are unable to stand are unfit to show respect? 

On a completely different note, some instances come to my mind where standing is forced on the individuals. Teachers, especially those who work in private schools are not provided chairs in their class rooms. Supposedly, it is to ensure that they take their job seriously. I am appaled! How insulting it is that the teacher is forced physically to teach. 

 The other area is the Shopping Malls. You would always find the shop keepers standing. Also the attendants in the trial areas! They are forbidden to sit as long as their duty hours last. There can be no explanation other than that it is the exploitation to its core.

Those above two instances might look unrelated, they throw some light though on our present topic. It is understood that sitting is a much more comfortable act than standing. Hence, those who employ you, would have you to stand rather than have you sit and be comfortable while you are at work. So by that logic, being ready to be slightly uncomfortable, proves that you do show respect. 

See where we have arrived. Being ready to get uncomfortable is equalent to showing respect. What a twisted way to prove that you are not averse to show respect. 

If you continue to sit, you exhibit disrespect.And if you get up, you are showing respect. Is it not we are told to do if we dont want to offend any one?

Tell me if I am wrong...