IS CHIVALRY DEAD
Fracas for a TUM TUM at Wakad
Every morning I go for a long walk, with my pet dog Sherry, towards the vast open spaces, off the Mumbai Bangalore Highway, near Wakad.
When we return, it is sometimes past eight, and there is a huge rush of traffic transporting the “techies” (as the IT Nerds like to call themselves) to their offices in the Infotech Park at Hinjewadi in Pune.
Most of these overly paid and pampered techie types travel in comfortable company buses (or in their own cars) but a few prefer to ride in the six-seater rickshaws (called Tum-Tum) which carry are always cramped and overloaded with much more than the stipulated six passengers.
Why these IT Nerds prefer the Tum-Tum I do not know – maybe they are from the smaller companies, who do not provide buses, or maybe they have missed their bus and are late to work, or maybe some do not want to avail of the bus facility and they cannot drive a car either, or maybe some crazy ones think travelling in a Tum-Tum is a substitute for a vigorous work-out.
That is beside the point. Let me tell what I saw this morning.
There were around twelve of these IT Techies (maybe seven boys and five girls) at the Wakad Chowk waiting for a Tum-Tum.
The moment a Tum-Tum arrived, everyone rushed towards the Tum-Tum and it was a chaotic situation, a free-for-all mêlée, a total fracas with each one trying to get inside and elbowing out the “opponents” irrespective of gender.
Two of the tougher girls managed to get in, elbowing out some of the “weaker” boys, while the three slightly fragile girls were not strong enough or agile enough to get the better of their male competitors. While two of these girls readied themselves up for the next encounter and looked eagerly for a Tum-Tum to arrive, one particularly dainty and delicate girl was on the verge of tears and seemed to have given up the fight, wondering whether she should go home or wait for a long time till the crowd became less.
I realised, that in today’s world, chivalry has disappeared. Maybe it is because men and women work shoulder to shoulder in the workplace and even compete with each other. Maybe modern women themselves have killed the concept of chivalry as they prefer equality with their male counterparts and do not want double standards.
Can you expect a man, who has a tough woman boss who scares the hell out of him, to be chivalrous towards her?
Can you be chivalrous towards a woman who you are afraid of, or a woman who dominates you?
Well, I think that fear and chivalry are two different things.
Chivalry implies that a man is supposed to be a “Knight in Shining Armour” always ready to rescue a “damsel in distress”.
Long back, when we joined the navy, we were expected to follow code of chivalrous conduct and to show respect, courtesy, honour and gallantry towards women. It was always “Ladies First”. We opened doors for women, stood up when a woman entered a room, never failed to greet or wish them, were protective and attended to their needs, and even saluted the Ladies.
Chivalry meant graciousness, gallantry, courtesy, politeness and good conduct, especially from men towards women. Of course, with the arrival of Lady Officers in the Navy, things did become a bit quite confusing, with ambiguity as to whether woman officers ought to be treated as equally tough colleagues or dainty members of the fairer sex, but still, when in doubt we adopted the chivalrous approach.
I think this must be the same dilemma in most workplaces, and as women start equalling or even outnumbering men in the workplaces, especially in professions like IT, the concept of chivalry may become passé, a thing of the past.
So, dear young ladies of today, there are no gallant “Knights in Shining Armour” anymore. You will have to fight it out on your own.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.