July 17, 2013

Titles of Respect : Words & Respect, a thought.

Ok, so this has been happening with me since childhood. & I am reminded of it right after my cousin's wedding, again.
Here in India, particular in a traditional community like the Jains of Jaipur (or Rajasthan in general), titles carry a lot of weight, & apparently respect. Titles not like lords & ladies but like bhaia & Bhabhi & Didi etc. You must call a relative, even if just a day or a week older, bhaia or Didi & an elder brother's wife, even if she's your own age, Bhabhi & so on & so forth. I think there is also a book of rules & guidelines to the titles used in India.
I have been rather not so particular with the use of the said words, or so people think.
The latest in the series is, my cousin's wedding.
My Cousin, born a couple of years before me, recently got married. His wife, almost my age, technically should be respectfully called Bhabhi, or as some would say, Bhabhi sa.
But being the rebel that I am, I would rather call her Amrita, by her first name. Which, seems to have created a row. With so many (3) people having told me, you should call her Bhabhi. Every time I am like, why? She's almost my age, but even that is not the point.
My point is, respect 'given' by words is false or rather incomplete. Respect must be 'given' by heart & must be felt by the other person, otherwise it is not respect. & simply calling her Bhabhi will not mean I respect her more than I already do & not calling Bhabhi does not mean I disrespect her.
Yet, it just so happens, it is not an concept to grasp?
Or is it, that the display of respect is more (or at least as) important as the respect itself?
Still pondering over it, what are your thoughts or experiences, if any?

P. S. : this particular case has been mentioned because it is the most recent case. I have faced similar situations even in childhood. People asking me to call Dada, Dadasa because apparently it makes them feel I respect Dada more, whereas I already respect him a lot. Calling him Dadasa would simply make it so formal to me. Another time there was the case of Handshake with Dad's friends rather than dhok lagaing. & the list goes on.
So am I wrong somewhere, or is it just the difference from the society's Norms that is the problem? Oh, & there was also the case of calling my erstwhile girlfriend's elder sister by her first name. That hot me into trouble, big time. Probably the biggest of them all.

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