A dictionary would define condescension as an act of having or showing an attitude of patronizing superiority. An urban English speaker would understand the term as the act of putting down a person, place, opinion or a thing because the person who condescends assumes that he/she or their opinions are superior. A recent situation made me don my thinking hat and mull over the possibility that some individuals really put-on-show their condescending behaviour as a mechanism to defend their misplaced ego?
At a girl’s night-out, a group of friends were debating which movie should they watch on the TV. The group was of mixed ethnicity, wherein majority of them were comfortable with both English and Hindi movies. However, few of them only had elementary knowledge of Hindi and had hardly watched any Hindi movies. In due course of time the girls settled for a Hindi movie as majority must most naturally be ceded to, much to the allegedly unreasonable disappointment of the minority. As the movie rolled out, the minority group kept ridiculing the Hindi movie and some clichés which were used in the movie. The minority went a foot further and exhibited dislike for the movie by moving in and out of the room on the pretext of picking up something to munch, and something to talk to others. Now on a superficial level it might seem as if the Hindi movie was beneath the stature of this minority who would rather identify themselves more with Hollywood. But if you look deeper, perhaps you will find this as clearly as I do as an act of condescension. Don’t you think the minority were an outcast who did not know the language and hence wanted to satisfy their ego by convincing themselves, and possibly the majority, that the Hindi movie is beneath their stature and style?
The great Indian democracy allays any fear of expressing likes and dislikes publicly. But such expressions may not be fair or cool if they come at the cost of ridiculing others. It is even worse to indulge in such behaviour to satisfy ego! Some of us unintentionally behave in such a manner. This stems from the inability to appreciate the bigger picture because we are very attached to ourselves. Curse our narcissistic tendencies! Take this as a reminder; and just in case, if you find similarities between you and this condescending minority, maybe it is high time to take a step back, detach from self and look at the wider canvas on which we take space. If any of you have encountered similar situations I would urge you to share them here in comments.
Until next Friday, live an ego-free week! Peace.