Monday, August 29, 2011

Treating all equally

I was in a wedding reception. It was crowded with a stream of invitees coming in and going out. For want of nothing else, I started observing the people who entered the hall. Some lingered at the entrance for a while till they noticed someone important known to them and then gravitated towards them. They dismissed other lesser guys who greeted them with an insouciant smile devoid of recognition. A few who could not find any one known face settled in a comfortable seat waiting for their turn to felicitate the young couple. There was always an effort by everyone to look for friends or relatives who were distinguished with better position or wealth than them in the jostling crowd. Why this craving to be seen in better company?

It was then I observed, whenever a well known or famous man or woman amongst the circle entered the hall , a pronounced tendency amongst the crowd to crane their necks with a view to watch the celebrity and if possible to catch their eyes. A few who were chatting with me left their seats abruptly and went near one film guy who was entering the hall with a fawning crowd around him. This set me thinking why people attach importance to the fame or position of others and show a desire to be seen with them or exchange a greeting with them. A corporate honcho or a former top level bureaucrat or a filmy person or a sports star invariably attracts a crowd like the treacle does with ants.

In offices one must have noticed the extra efforts made to catch the eye of a senior official in a group or the undue high deference shown while talking to boss. Seeking favour by servile flattery or cringing behavior is commonly seen and encouraged by bosses But such a subservient attitude or undivided attention or respect is not shown by the same people to someone who is in lower position. There is certain casualness and high airs shown in the conversation with the subordinate. There is a tendency to give undue importance to titles, designations or positions in society or wealth as if people beneath such distinguishing marks do not deserve the respect or attention. We owe nothing to the men in higher positions in office except doing our job well and on time. We do not need to be obsequious or sycophantic. We need to be uniform in our attitude to all irrespective of position or power

The reason for this ingratiating and often flattering disposition could be an expectation that some good may come at a later date or the satisfaction to be in the good books of people better placed. The true test of one’s character is seen from the way he treats people placed in lesser circumstances. The respect and attention given, the seriousness invested in the responses and the sincerity in the conversation with them distinguishes the noble from the upstarts..

12 comments:

  1. Well written. Today, most people wish to be with the well known or influential or wealthy. This is done with the motive of a achieving their aim. It is all but too superficial, which can be easily perceived.

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  2. Haven't seen such frenzy in the crowds I have been part of, however can visualize what you have written...

    Could it be that Tirunelveli crowd doesn't behave same way as Chennai?

    Let's ask Chitra if she has encountered such in Tirunelveli...

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  3. You are bang on with your observations and conclusions. I will like to add, that this behaviour is also the root of corruption. If and when you seek a favour from such exalted people, you are trying to bypass the normal procedure and thus contributing to corruption.

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  4. Could it be that Tirunelveli crowd doesn't behave same way as Chennai?

    Let's ask Chitra if she has encountered such in Tirunelveli...

    ...Interestingly, I have encountered this in Chennai too. Chennai or Tirunelveli - it does not matter. But in both places, the upper middle class may behave different. It is considered as sophistication by the upper middle class people. But others comment that they are just being snobbish. At least thats what they remarked then. (I overheard them) Again, it is not my opinion or judgment - it is what I observed from others' comments in person.

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  5. i think of such types as people without character...strength of our character lies in righteousness and according higher status to only those who are higher to us in principles and behaviour.

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  6. Nice post Kp. True, people always are thirsty to be seen(!) in good company;) They seemingly ignore the others without batting an eyelash is sickening:(

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  7. Well, it is true. But that is the way modern life is. Its all about promoting self. So naturally people tend to associate with men from top.

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  8. Yes it is true.People's self promotion as Harish said is inevitable.
    sometimes wondered why VIPS & celebrities need not be in queue for anything.Then I understood their time is more valuable than others', but I read in Reader's Digest long back that Harrison Ford with his family (Hollywood actor)stood in the queue at Disney world entrance,
    the article was about the simplicity.

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  9. Good observations. Yes, this is how it happens at all functions. Looking for known people is understandable. But the rest of it pure silly. In such cases I am an innocent bystander or observer too. :) Happens everywhere not just in Chennai or Tirunelveli.

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  10. The desire to be known, acknowledged, determined worthy, established as important has little to do with the person being fawned after and more to do with the person doing the fawning. They have asserted more worth to the "celebrity, wealthy person" automatically designating their selves less worthy and in need of the external validation to raise their value. It is the superior/inferior ideology at play.

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