Once upon a time in the land of Facebook, which almost nobody from my generation uses these days, I happened to come across a strange video featuring Alia Bhatt, in which she’s on a plane and she’s forced to switch seats because an older gentleman pulls the ‘You kids don’t respect the elderly’ card.
Quite a ‘controversial' video, it made me rethink my existence.
Indian kids are raised on ‘respect the elderly’, not food. It’s what we breathe and drink and excrete, it’s what we’re taught, not lovingly or logically, but taught with beatings and chappal throwing. Basically just drilled into our heads; a command without much reason behind it except, 'respect the elderly for they are older and therefore wiser'.
First of all, yes there is a lot of really heavy truth in this statement. Older people are wiser, I get that as I’m growing older. Especially senior citizens, they’ve seen a lot, experienced a lot, they’ve just been through a lot more and advice from them does have meaning.
But swallow the whole thing without a grain of salt?
Times change. With it, so do the experiences that individuals go through. The world we are raised in is different from theirs, what with the technology boom across nations. While it’s true that there are disadvantages from being glued to phones and laptops all day, it’s also true that today’s generation is one of the most open minded, accepting and all inclusive set of people, who have done multiple good deeds for the betterment of the world. From fighting against casual sexism and homophobia to actively work towards saving the planet, we are doing what we can so that nobody feels left out in this world. To be honest, all these progressive changes are a positive difference from the rules and traditions that elderly people grew up in. As a result of their upbringing, they are set in their ways and often find it difficult to accept the fact that youngsters have their own personality and opinions, and they need to be recognized and acknowledged.
I have often seen around me, instances of young voices silenced and tossed aside merely because the ‘adults' are around to take care of all the issues. Well, you’re not doing a very good job or we’d be a lot better off by now. Maybe, instead of pushing us away and scorning our ideas and opinions, put aside the ego and stand with us? The fight coming our way is bigger than you think.
What happened in the ad was a classic example of how old people feel entitled to respect simply because of their age. And while this should be a thing, a courtesy, respect should always be given and taken. Demanding that someone respect you just because you’ve seen more revolutions around the sun, that’s not a very smart thing to do. Maybe I’m wrong, I’m sure many people from the elder generation will disagree with me, but my opinions are mine and I’m free to voice them, even if it might raise a few grey eyebrows.
Respect should be earned, not demanded. And if one doesn’t realize that, are they really as wise as they think?