Coming to just two generations before us, people would often use respectful words, when they wanted to speak or denote something about some person. The same continued with our parents generation. What happened to our generation?
Being brought up away from cluster of relatives, me and my brother would get offended at the unwanted rituals which were alien to. Like when someone elder comes, even if you don't know them, you have to touch their feet. (My dad would literally hold the back of our necks and throw us at their feet in an unescapable manner). And we would get blessings, sometimes cheek pullings, sometimes bear hugs with unbearable pats on the back, etc. I know these were different gestures to show that the other person was happy to see/meet us.
We (as I speak for my brother too here and know he will agree to it) believe that respect, feelings towards each other should be mutual and should come from within us. No one can demand or gain respect by force or made to do so. In our thinking there is no scope of formalities. Our aim always is to eliminate awkwardness in relations by removing unwanted formalities. We vouch each and every word of the phrase "Be simple, Think simple" in our logic of relationships.
Like, for example, today if I know that someone is not a well wisher of my family, I will not be able to have simple, plain good hearted feelings towards that person. I will not think anything bad to happen to that person, but at same time he/she will never gain respect in my eyes for watsoever reason. This is called action-reaction theory. I know for sure that we never are the first person to start a fight and also are the firsts to mend the breaking threads, but what do you do when you know the person in front of you will never change no matter what?
So I came to this simple conclusion of "HOSTILE" relationship, where if you meet that person, exchange your greetings and say your salutations and leave the place. No more discussions, no scope of any unwanted incidences. Win-win situation for both.
This actually echoes voices of many of my friends who are right now the Gen X people. I somehow feel, that we are the most balanced righteously thinking, balanced, logical thinkers of the times. Our earlier generations were like these Godly figures who would try endlessly to spread goodness and eventually give up and crib. The next generation are of an attitude "An eye for an eye" which is not correct for social and peaceful living.
Also, say when new memebers get added to the family, like daughter in law, son in law,etc. following the tradition, even today , the girls parents treat the son in law with respect and fear, thinking if he gets upset he will not look after their daughter properly. But for one moment, if you stop and think, even your son in law or daughter in law also wants to be treated in simple, plain, manner as you would treat your own children. No special treatments required. I agree in city life, and with educated class of people, this is a changing scenario .But question is why do formalities when you have trusted your child's future with that person?
Like, in festivals, traditional family get togethers, or family functions happen, the host has to invite everyone. Now the logic here is to pass the information of the event over the phone and if you inform one person, it serves the purpose of the call. But then why one has to also talk to the lady of the house, child of the house and individually invite? If you are referring them as a family, then informing one person should work out,right? Why should individual ego be taken care of at the hosts end?
Take example of my parent's new house warming function. Here, we were the hosts. Now when people sit to eat, in south indian tradition, hosts eats in the last batch of food serving. Also host has to go on telling everyone to have their meal whole heartedly and to their tummy's full. Now, my dad went one round, then my mom. Me and my brother were entertaining the other non occupied guests, when my parents turned towards us and asked us to make rounds. My brother was at loss of words but because I was married and had to show and behave responsible in front of the crowd, I volunteered, releiving my brother from his duties. I dont mind going around and meeting people, but then was it absolutely necessary? As if people who are having lunch wont have food properly. Traditions!
My dad has special charm which works in his favour always. He is a very good fun to be around and always is surrounded by beloved because he narrates incidences, cracks jokes and knows exactly who wants to hear what. If you leave him in some function, go away for sometime and come back to find him, you can easily find him in the place, where chairs have broken their traditional straight line formations and encircled around my dad's chair. He gets really worked up and has child like enthusiasm, also not to forget about my mom, when they go to functions which they are looking forward to. Me and my brother rarely do rounds of such functions, because we end up being like amused dolls, which they lovingly display.
They would meet distant, farthest relatives who we would not even heard of and ask us "Do you know who they are?" and mind you, one hand would be readily at back of our neck and the other hand's one finger, would be pointing towards the intended person. This is the regular scene either me or my brother gets caught up into. Also the introduction to dad's side of relatives always start up with "Ghare manne Ashwatha" or "Balepette Nagraja" and after whose who session, I ask my brother "Come again, who is Ashwatha of the ghare manne?"
On personal note, keeping tradions alive, respecting every individuals,etc is a good attitude. But to overdo it and spice it up with unwanted formalities easily becomes a turn off for young Generation. Also, this is one of the biggest reasons why the next generations, slowly has started reducing the appearances they make in any social events. Not that we don't appreciate the yummy food and nice decorations, but if the all of above gets repeated again and again, how long could you take it?