During first week of basic military training, two gentlemen approached and broke conversation with one eulogising the other, yelled:
Shut your eyes Oey shut your eyes
Don’t you know Sir Bala (Iqbal) is here, he is the man eater, the ball crusher
Oey feel the presence, Oey
Shiver Oey Kaka, shiver
One of those lines which cling in your head. Though, that day, I pretended shivering but could not help laughing on silliness of the idea. And guess what, more punishment came my way. I could never understand the ”logic” behind that ‘on demand shivering’ since those early days. The problem continued. Along the way, I discontinued laughing but could not hide feelings of discomfort on illogical things and was easily marginalized by a “Mindset”. Yet, umpteen years down the road and the idea has started sinking in that if only I could have shivered and not laughed. No wonder they found me fit for military because if it takes someone so many years to understand a basic work ethic, he deserves to be in uniform and nowhere else. Truth is that I did not want to understand. Have you noticed the word ‘logic’ in double quotes? Normally it takes two opposite words put together to make an oxymoron, but logic, in certain environments turns into a singular oxymoron. Mock logic if you can escape it. Because it is like that sack of unwanted goods which you throw off the window, take a sigh of relief, look back and it is smiling right at your face.
Probably the message in that shivering gimmick was to instill respect and fear of a senior. The idea was noble but the method was debatable. For example we respect our elders but we do not shiver in front of them. If someone does shiver, then it would be sheer pretense. Respect is a value which is taught at home and it matures at an early age and does not change much in later years, whereas, fear is a psychological/ ideological issue. Everyone has fears and the most common is that of God; people have other fears as well which are all self-imposed and do not exist anywhere except human mind. So if you respect everyone, you ought to respect your seniors, colleagues and even juniors. However, with some people the element of respect grows to the level of reverence which still cannot be rated as fear. Anyway, the title of the blog “Fear The One and Respect Everyone” has always been the guiding principle.End of the day, institutions and systems are devised by men of flesh and bone. There are always certain loose ends warranting tidying up. Institutions are like rivers, seasons come and they go but the rivers continue to flow. Just like that brilliant or thick people like me appear and disappear like footprints on the sands of time. I must appeal to every reader to please stop short of thinking this piece of work as a satire. Its not same old “Attitude Problem”, its payback to the institution which mothered me for so many years. We need to break from the norm and move ahead. We need to earn and command respect of others by virtue of our character strength. We need to stop shivering and start thinking.