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..