Last week my husband and I went to watch a movie that was garnering rave reviews and had become the talk of the town. Omitting the details as this post is not a movie review of any kind.
We reached the multiplex entrance and were going through the usual security scan and checks, when I heard loud noises coming from the other queue that led to the second check point. As the security lady dug her head into my bag, I felt the air around us getting tense. The argument on the other side had gained momentum and how. Tempers were flying, use of abusive words and great amount of histrionics was up for display. The inquisitive Indian in me peeked from behind the check point cubicle, to get a better view of what was happening on the other side.
3 adults , along with a boy barely into his teens (Must be 12 or 13) were responsible for the ruckus. What I witnessed in those few seconds still baffles and upsets me.
Gentleman no. 1 –You don’t know me. You wait. Who do you think you are? Just a manager. I will call the commissioner. I know him very well. Then how will you stop us.
Manager—Sir please try and understand. It’s not in my hands. I am just following the rules.
Gentleman no. 2 –Call who so ever you want. Who will you call? Some petty police Constable. We just told you we will call his super boss. I am telling you this insult is going to cost you your job.
Lady – Who do you make the movies for or these multiplexes for? For us only! You depend on us. And you can’t keep us happy!
Manager —Ma’am it’s not my call to make. It will be wrong on my part if I permit him. I may lose my job if this is reported…(Looking at the boy)
Gentleman no. 1— I am going to screw you anyways. You wait … BEEP BEEP BEEP .. MORE BEEP BEEP BEEP.
I was appalled at the way they were talking to the staff of the Cinema house. I asked the security lady who by now was done with my checking and was watching the deplorable display of inhuman behavior along with me “What happened? Why are these people yelling so much?”
The security lady continued looking at them and said “Madam, the boy is falling short of the age criteria. He cannot be permitted to this movie. We have strict instructions that this movie is not for minors. But these people booked it even after reading the disclaimer. Now they are creating a scene and bashing our staff because we are not allowing them to take their son along. Madam, BADE BAAP KI BIGDI AULAADE HOTI HAIN. But JAB BAAP HE BIGDA HAI TO AULAAD KAISE THEEK NIKLEGI.”
That last part of her statement blew me away. Because isn’t that the truth?
I couldn’t wrap my head around questions like — whatever be the reason, was it enough to justify the way they were throwing their weight around and subjecting the staff to such torture? Can we condone such behavior when clearly they were attempting to break a rule knowingly and consciously? Should we? As I walked towards my screen, I looked back once again. 2-3 security guards were swarming the place just in case things went out of hand. Such a shameful sight. In an attempt to prove one’s superiority amongst their own kind, mankind has stooped too low.
The aforementioned lot were nothing short of nuisance in the theatre as well. They placed multiple orders of snacks and beverages and kept harassing the serving staff with their unpardonable rude behavior and distasteful jibes. My husband who was equally miffed with the incidence spoke “If this is how they are going to behave in front of their children, imagine what this child is going to learn. For him, such despicable behavior will become normal. They don’t realize what a grave sin they are committing.”
For some odd reason his words kept echoing in my head . I was transported to a moment in the past, where my parents gave me my first lesson on the same lines. It’s strange how memories invade us. They just march in unannounced.
I must have been 9 or 10 maybe. During our school’s annual sports practice sessions, our class teacher asked for volunteers who could arrange for around 30-40 garlands for one PT format. I lapped up the opportunity and told her that I can arrange as many as the school wants. My reason—My Paternal Uncle (my father’s elder brother) was a Member of Parliament then. I had seen so many people putting garlands around his neck, every other day, as a mark of respect and adulation. In my head, I felt extremely proud of being associated to such a man. I thought everyone will think highly of me when I get the garlands. Such an easy task!
My parents thought otherwise. The moment I told my mother that I had been made in charge of the garlands, all hell broke loose.
Why did you say you will arrange? How wrong is this? Now I will have to ask bhabhiji for garlands? Such a bad thing to seek such favours from your own people. Am I raising you to be such a braggart? I could have at least bought 4-5 garlands. But 40?
It was such an unnerving situation for me. The first thing that crossed my mind was if my mother doesn’t back me up here, it will be so embarrassing for me. I should have told Dad.
I was wrong. My father’s mood changed the moment he got to know I was thinking of seeking favors. I opened up to him and said “But tauji has so many of them. They are lying waste. I volunteered because I thought they are tauji’s.”
He didn’t say much. Just one thing. You will get the garlands if that’s what you are worried about.. But remember, this was not required. They belong to your tauji because he earned it. What you have not earned is not yours to give either. Don’t think of throwing your weight around because you are related to him. You are not him. If you want people around you to look up to you then raise the bar of your actions not your ability to pull some strings.
My taiji (aunt) laughed it off and made sure I got the required number of garlands. The teacher was happy as I delivered the promised number of garlands. But my parent’s perspective and words, kept hammering me on the inside. I cannot forget how ashamed my father felt. I cannot forget how uneasy my mother felt every time there was a favor to be sought for us kids. I barely recollect any.
That was one of my first lessons in life. Something I hardly ever forgot. I may have acted like a brat sometimes, later in life, but I assure you, I never slept well on those nights. I didn’t write this down to draw praises for anyone related to me. If anything at all, I am grateful for my modest upbringing. I am grateful because I was taught to hold my head high without looking down upon others.
I just wrote this because that night I realized one thing. Our children are witnessing how we treat others and how others treat us. They imbibe every bit of value we exhibit and remain oblivious to the ones we don’t practice. We are their foundation to a solid value system. The onus is on us. Are we doing the needful? Are we doing enough? Or are we acting like these fawning men and women, from the theatre, who are tearing the moral fabric of parenting and civilization apart.
Because believe it or not, our children are watching us.
Leaving you with something to dwell upon in the hope that you shall do the needful.
PICTURE CREDITS: NORTHERN VIRGINIA MAGAZINE