Honourable Thing

Yesterday Michael Phelps was arrested for a DUI.
He publicly apologized on twitter and faced the ire, disappointment and anger from fans world over.

I tweeted and twitter friend @Anaggh (Anaggh Desai) replied back.


Indians do not apologize. We hide.
Yes, they do. You do. I do. We all do.

It got me thinking.

Remember that scene from No One Killed Jessica where the killer comes home and the father slaps him?

The mother rushes to say, “Mere Monu ko mat maro.” And he is “sent away” so that no one can find him or accuse him.

We love in a world of parents who protect their kids for “image, honour and all that’s external. We are teaching them that character, truth, integrity, compassion and all that will take our society ahead is not as important as our own familial pride and honour. Its a little like the “khaps” isn’t it?

We live in a world where parents are not teaching their kids what’s right and what’s wrong.

A rap on the knuckles isn’t the honourable thing.
Being grounded isn’t the honourable thing.

Accepting what you did and apologizing for it is.
It may be a small step but it’s a BIG move. It takes courage.
And in it, will hold a worthy learning.

Being in Delhi, one is privy to many cocktail party conversations. Many years ago I heard I was distressed to hear a mom say, “Thank God I have a son and not a daughter. He gets his girlfriend home and they go to the room alone. I don’t mind. The only thing I say is “Don’t get the girl pregnant.” This coming from a woman whose husband openly cheats on her. This from a woman who is miserable. One would imagine we would change the world for the better. But in the course in our own misery, we chose the shortest cut.

We start from here. Our attitudes towards only protecting what’s ours.

My son will never get pregnant, so I don’t have to worry. Speak nothing about respecting the girl, treating her well, being open and spending time with them all in common areas of the home.
No, stay locked up there, where I will not have to be responsible morally for anything and just make sure you don’t get her pregnant. Shortcut. No responsibility. Dust hands off.

Here’s another “cultural” thing.
Parents from a noveau riche crowd discussing a friend’s 11th grade son. Who apparently in the family SUV, ran over someone late one night. The parents promptly sent a driver to accept blame, paid him apparently many lakhs and their kid was out the next day partying.
Yay culture. Yay family posturing.
None of the kids in the crowd were remorseful or shocked.
It was the norm, not the exception it seemed.

Kids today have everything handed to them on a platter, including misplaced honour and rights.

Apologizing or standing true and holding firm on what we did wrong, takes immense amounts of courage and strength.
We are fast degenerating into a society that is becoming more intolerant and all this courage is becoming mob courage or rowdy courage.

This may be a cultural thing, but when will we rise to make it an honourable thing?


  1. Great points, Aparna. I wasn’t aware of these cultural norms. As Wendy brought up, we too have these issues in the states, although I’d have to agree… Many of us were raised to apologize (so as not to make the parents look bad, in many cases!). Interesting difference…
    Thanks for this!


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