Obsequiousness, foot scraping, meekness, extreme humility...I can go on, the Thesaurus in MS Word is pretty exhaustive when it comes to offering you Synonyms for extreme acts of self effacement's. Now if you are wondering what I am talking about….I am pointing out to a particular trait among TV Show contestants, especially those participating in music contests. The above traits of extreme humility and self effacement is an almost given among these contestants. In fact sometimes I think the contest is about who can be more humble and ingratiating towards the judges!!! At times judges too behave like it is a necessary talent to have for a contestant. A curt word for someone who was a not up to the mark in humility and lavish praises for the one who stooped the lowest.
We are not living in the gurukul days for god’s sakes. I understand the need to respect someone with more knowledge than you. It is inbuilt in us. But this is taking things a bit too far. I am not talking about touching the feet of a judge. That I a sign of respect in our culture. I am talking of contestants standing stooped with both hands folded, mike in had, when judges are talking. Reminds me of historical movies, where people are shown standing the very same way in front of Kings and Monarchs.
The contestants seem to fear the judges. They seem to lack sufficient confidence in their own talents. It almost looks like they are scared of offending the judges. Which is ridiculous!! And judges too, seem to lap this up. As fair judges of a musical competition, I think they should give more credence to talent and ignore any another aspect of a contestants personality.
But that aint happening too soon. Can you imagine, an extremely talented, but arrogant contestant, getting away on the strength of his/her talent only? I don’t think so. He/She will be cut down to size before she can say ‘Eff off’!!
It is not just TV shows, even in real life, we take this respect a person with grey hair too far!! Even in schools, I remember, if you wanted to get into the good books of teachers, act nice to them. Thankfully most of my teachers were Goans and Anglo Indians. And these people cared a damn about pupils kissing up to them. They admired spunk and girls with confidence. On the other hand, the others…like the mallus specially, believed in cutting down confident girls to bite size pieces. As a society, we give too much importance to humility. In fact it has become a yardstick of sorts to sum up a person.
And when kids who are bought up with such mind set, walk into the corporate world, they are all but shorn of the confidence they need, to make an impact at the workplace. I spend a considerable amount of my energies in mentoring Interns under me to shed their ‘Yes Ma’am No Ma’am' routine. I spend a lot of precious bandwidth in explaining that it is their work that matters to me and not how nice they are to me. They do learn eventually, but a decade of conditioning does leave its imprint in your psyche.
It is time for a change! If we as a nation have to gear up for the brave new world we are marching towards, then we have a lot to change in ourselves as a people, than just dress ourselves with degrees and certificates!!