ETIQUETTES : The Things That Make Us Better Human!

vanita srinivas


It is quite ironical that the most commonly used words etiquette, manner or civic sense are most difficult to explain. The norms that classify a manner or etiquette as a good one or bad one is the culture and society one is bound to. It wouldn’t be out of context to quote that shaking hands is good manners in west but here saying Namaste with folded hands carries lot more value. Yet, the simple thumb rule of good manners is respecting the space and privacy of others in the society. Every society has a different set of norms and taboos but basic level of good behavior is universal everywhere.
Is being well mannered a social binding or a prerogative of the individual is yet another aspect of debate.
A casual glance across will reveal umpteen number of instances of lack of etiquettes. Few of our behaviors have become a habit and characteristic of our social affairs. Impolite language is one of such habits. While speaking in public we hardly realize that, how rude and abusive we are being. First of all the volume of our speech in public, itself, is high enough to covertly indicate a disrespect for others space and privacy. Next in line is our weariness to queue up. We find it a gross waste of time to stand in a queue and wait for our turn. We strongly believe that mobbing up the counter actually clears the things faster than a systematic queuing up! Habit of queuing up and waiting reminds us of a habit that should naturally come to us while climbing a bus or boarding a metro or entering a life. Its seems quite logical that we should first make way for those who are alighting, but Alas the hurry is such that we not only block their way but also elbow our way inside, quite unmindful of the predicament of the people who wish to move out.

Ironical enough creating a nuisance value is yet another aspect of valued glorification. Take for example Marriages and Rallies. The success of such occasions is proportional to the inconvenience caused to the public by creating noise and occupying public space, roads, parks etc. The reflection of our callous attitude can be seen on each street, road and lane. The informal markets too compete ferociously for their neglect of concern for neat roads and lanes. The bubbly weekly markets actually leave a very pathetic, foul, run-down and repulsive site.

The trash that is left behind stinks unapologetically. Selling and buying is their business but clearing the stench bomb that they leave behind is none of their business. It is Strange, yet true. It would not be inappropriate to quote some traffic etiquettes. Stopping for pedestrians, restraining from honking are some of the basic etiquettes on roads. But for us not following traffic rules is a way of Demonstrating intelligence; wisdom, cleverness or ingenious behaviour. Every person who breaks rules on the street actually feels he is being street Smart! Our habit of Wrong lane and wrong side driving with a self styled justification to save time is as stupid as quenching thirst with poison. Spitting with utter disrespect to mother earth, Treating every nook and corner as dustbins and spittoons are a few of our bad habits that don’t even catch our attention. The list is endless.

The latest additions to the list are the users of mobile phone. Plugged earphones transform these individuals drastically. They are so intensely focused that they forget they are in midst of a fast moving vehicles, or on a railway track with an approaching train, or in way of moving out passengers. They stroll with an attitude of ‘To hell with the world’ but end up being in one.

Effortless and unstudied observation too would infer that we lack etiquettes and courtesies because we fail to appreciate others opinion, sentiments, religion and space. Gross disrespect of laws and rules is also a major contributor for lack of etiquettes; in fact that is the root cause of all evils. The debate forums on various TV channels clearly reflect our cavalier towards courtesies. Our elected leaders and role models fight shout and cross talk during deliberations. The purpose is not make a point but a noise. Etiquettes are not habits to be cultivated. They should be imbibed as a natural temperament and attitude. Respecting each others space and values is etiquette.

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