Respect: A two-syllable word

The story describes how people immediately judge others on basis of their looks and appearance, heedlessly.

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We often come across the term –‘Respect’ in our day-to-day lives. What is respect? Something that an individual is expected to give to someone who happens to be a senior citizen, a lady, a person who has achieved something bigger than what the average of us achieve? If we consider this proportion of people who should be respected, then what exactly are we doing with the remaining ones? Or are we actually respecting anyone?

Girls are harassed almost on a daily basis, rape cases are reported every day, people go on candle march if the case is really heinous, there is a wave all across the country to make things change, debates are held on such issues, opinions are raised on social media, people write slogans on why girls should be respected and what guys should be taught, and after some time, all of it dies off. Same happens when it comes to specific seats reserved for specific sections of society in a public transport. I live in Delhi, and I mostly commute by metro . If by any chance I get a seat in metro, there is a very good chance I might offer my seat to an older person even if they have a reserved seat at the corner of every column of seats. I have noticed a change in the past few years. Some of the youngsters don’t offer their seats to elders because getting a seat at peak hours in a metro is not a joke. Whether they are doing right or wrong is a subjective thought for me.

Like any other commuter I was standing close to the pole inside metro and as the crowd entered at Rajiv Chowk station, there was no room left for me to stand properly, but somehow I adjusted and in my previous place stood a man in his thirties. He had a dark complexion , his trousers were torn off and he wore a faded shirt. One could make out he was a man of limited means and like any other person, this was his mode of transport. One of the commuters talked to him rudely and asked him to back off so he could stand comfortably, he shifted a bit to his left. Then another person brushed off him and said, “Naa jaane kaun hain yeh log, kahan se aate hain yeh log(Who are these people and where do they come from),” and moved out of the coach.

I don’t know why one would be rude to a stranger, but from my better understanding of life, I think that’s exactly who we are. We judge everyone on the basis of what they wear, how they look, what car they travel in, what is the color of their skin, how they speak…..there is no end to this!!

I saw a change in expression of that man. He just kept mum, and deep down I could feel he’ll start crying. I felt so sorry, but what good was I, when I couldn’t stop those two people from being rude to him and I am pretty sure there were many like me. At the next station there entered another guy who was in his twenties and gave this man a disgusted look, which was pretty evident why. This guy was a student of DU. I am sure because he wore a T-shirt that represents the drama club of Delhi University. And, well, if he is from DU, then I know he must have scored more than 95% . Point being, I knew he was educated. Educated enough to not be rude to a stranger! He also asked this man to move aside. And there was hatred in his tone.

I tried to move in between the two people so I could have a word with the guy in his twenties. By the time I adjusted in between, the man was about to leave, and all I could tell the younger guy was, “Dude, you don’t have to be rude to someone just because you don’t like their face!!” The man got off on that station, and I am pretty sure that he would have cried. I was supposed to get off at the next station. The guy was confused initially and then he realized and before he could say anything, I left.


The whole point is, life would have been easier, if only we could respect each other irrespective of our backgrounds or their backgrounds, if one fellow human could respect another fellow human without any bars, without any judgments. Then, and only then, respect would be more than just a two-syllable word!