There is a human being inside!
I am on board a flight from Delhi to Cochin – a bunch of young guys from Delhi are occupying the rows just ahead of my seat. From their appearance fresh out of college and probably making a holiday trip to Kerala – all gym going types and wearing clothes that facilitated loud display of their biceps and quadriceps. They are in a happy mood, laughing loudly at jokes and generally being boisterous – the noise they made while in the departure lounge had made me take note of their presence. They were all from well-off families … styled hair, designer clothes and toting shiny-new iPads, iPhones and Sennheiser headsets. It’s a picture perfect existence for them, but not for the people they interacted with.
Before the plane levels out after take-off one of them pages for the young hostess and asks for a glass of water and the guys have a laugh after she serves him – wonder what was funny! Then the same guy gets up, opens the overhead locker to pull out a gadget and leaves it open; he and friends are unmindful of possibility of luggage from the locker dropping on someone’s head. I called the hostess and asked her to shut the locker.
And then another one props his leg up against the seat in front of him. When the passenger seated in it turned around to express his annoyance the group had a collective snigger.
What is it about some youngsters, especially the ones in testosterone overdrive, that makes them so insensitive?
This is not a stray incident – I have seen such behavior among the students I teach. The young kids can’t countenance any rebuke: One student had come late to class and was not in uniform; this wasn’t the first instance. The Administrative In-charge told him not to walk into class and he forced his way in to show his disregard for the order – when I told him to follow instructions, he walked out in a huff stating loudly: “I will not pay the term fees – let’s see how they will collect it from me.”
Then there are couple of students who sit in royal style, one leg placed across on top of the other, while the class is in session. I make it a point to tell them to plant both feet on the ground and sit in a more formal manner. A little later the leg goes back to where it was earlier and this time I deliver a sterner rebuke. Well, I can conduct the class even when they are seated that way, but the idea is for them to learn how to behave in a formal setting. All this was happening after I had explained to them, right at the beginning of the program, what was considered right seating posture in a business setting.
And this disregard and disrespect can be seen in other activities too – leaving pipes running after they wash up, not switching off lights when they leave the room, leaving computers and televisions switched on when they go to bed, damaging public property.
What is it that makes acceptance of rules and authority difficult for youngsters? Is it upbringing, the lack of proper grooming at home or something to do with their age? Is it hormonal, a passing phase, or attitudinal? Can one expect them to change when they get older? It appears jarring to an observer, but when one thinks back to one’s own childhood we can relate to it. I was not an angel either at that age, was I this bad? How can we make the transition a smoother one for the young adults?
I strongly believe that in spite of their capers and foibles there is a human being inside ….. waiting to emerge.