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Respectable Me

Everybody wants respect — and yet somehow it is one of the toughest things to earn, even from family and friends at times.

entertainment Updated: Oct 08, 2012 15:06 IST
Amrutha Penumudi

Respect is probably the most casually used word after sorry. Living in a time where judgement and bitterness comes easily to people, it’s even harder to find a foothold if you are different from the common crowd. Actor Sridevi’s character in her new film English Vinglish faces a similar problem. In a recent interview, the actor told us that the film is about a person’s fight for respect. “And being a mother, a wife, I could relate with it,” she said. We talk to a few other people who have battled similar issues in their lives:

No speak English
We live in a country where several languages are spoken every day — the average Indian switches easily between numerous languages. But then, a person who is not too fluent with English is looked down upon. Nandini Rao is a 45-year-old music teacher at a public school in Colaba. Coming from a small district in Andhra Pradesh, she was qualified but couldn’t communicate too well in English. “My students used to mock me and laugh at my south Indian accent behind my back. My fellow teachers were no better. I would feel terribly under-confident and embarrassed initially. But I eventually realised that not knowing the language did not mean I could let anyone treat me like dirt. I started giving it back to people and demanded that they treat me right,” says Rao, who went on to work with the school for more than 20 years

Age is just a number
Sometimes even the people we love forget that respect always comes as a give-and-take equation. Being the youngest child in the family, it was habitual for 21-year-old Aditi Pawar to be treated like she was a two-year-old. “My parents would never take anything I said seriously, even with matters regarding our personal lives. I was always asked to ‘stay out of it’ and mind my own business. As much as I love and respect them, I truly believe that adults can be wrong too. And at such times, if you get some handy advice — don’t dismiss it just because it’s coming from someone younger,” she says.

Heavy duty
Weight issues easily trigger self-confidence issues, but 27-year-old Niharika Sanghi has never let being overweight dampen her spirits. “It’s easy to joke about someone’s looks or body, but little do people realise how upsetting it can be. I have put all body image-related issues behind me. I command respect from people, even at the cost of sounding rude sometimes, because if you don't, it starts affecting you instead.”

Home is where the heart is
Whether it’s the Manhattan’s Upper East Side or tony Cuffe Parade in Mumbai, every city has its own so-called elite neighbourhood. “I don’t get why people look at me like I’m poor when I tell them I live in Kandivali. Especially now with the Internet, I feel like the gap between the haves and have-nots doesn’t exist. I love living in an area with low-rent, public transport connectivity and fewer snooty people,” says 25-year-old engineer, Sayuri Gupte. Some names have been changed on request.

Respect yourself too
City psychologist Mansi Hasan says:

It is extremly difficult to sustain any relationship without respect. In its absence a person might start having serious confidence issues

If an induvidual has enough respect for their own self, then they will never let any one else walk all over them.

Put your foot down, be assertive. Do not take blame something you have not done.