I had the idea of writing that blog post, just after I have received an unexpected phone call this evening at my in-laws’ place, and it made me so furious that a fight even happened between me and my husband, but finally ending with an understanding from my husband.
Like every 2nd of January, at my in-laws’ place in Mauritius, my father-in-law organizes a big lunch reuniting all his brothers, sisters-in-law, my mother-in-law, his sons, daughters-in-law, nephews, nieces and grandchildren within the commemoration of the New Year. As we had the opportunity to come to Mauritius to celebrate the New Year with them for one week, we had a wonderful dinner organized in a very good atmosphere, even though the children, ie my nephew and my son, were messing around here and there as kids 🙂 After dinner though, the phone rang and I picked up the phone, thinking that it was my husband’s brother who was calling to inform that he arrived safely at home, since he always calls when he reaches home safely. Instead of him, it was a female voice which seemed to be familiar to me but for which I wasn’t sure myself, and I came to know that it was my cousin’s wife’s voice, an insane and hypocrite woman I really dislike, since she gossiped a lot against me and my husband with a lot of people in the family and is reputed to be a troublemaker and a disrespectful person. She thought first it was my mother-in-law who picked up the phone, but then she came to know that it was me, whom she mentioned as “D….’s wife!” It made me extremely angry when she called me as “D…’s wife” (NB: D is the initial letter of my husband’s first name), since we know each other since I was 7 years old and since she knows very well that we are sisters-in-law and that her husband and I are cousins. She suddenly treated me as a stranger instead of a family member, and this partly thanks to the gossips my mother made against my in-laws and even against myself when some serious conflicts between my parents and my in-laws arose exactly 11 years ago, in year 2007 on a 2nd January evening during the annual New Year dinner! I didn’t hesitate to talk to her very brutally in presence of my husband and of my mother-in-law and put that asshole back at her place, since I didn’t appreciate the fact she was treating me as a stranger, as she knows me very well since I was a child, and this was something I interpreted totally as a pure lack of respect towards a family member, even though I am younger than her. My husband and my mother-in-law, instead of supporting me, reproached me for my brutality against her since it’s the New Year, instead of understanding the way she disrespected me and treated me as a total stranger. But after a tough explanation, at least my husband understood the situation though it was very hard to understand it first for him.
First of all, even though I wrote the blog post previously about Fireworks, Thankfulness and Forgiveness, and even though I wished a Happy New Year and decided to forgive all my frienemies and enemies, it doesn’t mean that I accepted what those people did to me… and that sister-in-law is unfortunately among all those adversaries that I have in life, belonging to the last category I mentioned on those who act as spies for my adversaries in disguise of a fake and hypocrite friendship, only to fish information from me and then repeating everything to my adversaries to allow them destroying me a little more. Then I started thinking about what has just happened and I started asking me some fundamental questions: Why do also hypocrites wish us Happy New Year? Why do they think of us and wish us the best whereas behind our back they keep on criticizing, blaspheming and gossiping against us constantly? Why should I wish her a hypocrite Happy New Year in return of her hypocrite wishes, whereas she doesn’t even deserve those wishes from me after all the pain she caused to me?
The Wikipedia gives two definitions of the words respect and which are totally true. The first one as “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” and the second one as “due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.” Further to my own experiences that I have had, I HATE the second definition, which is something that I see in a very extreme way in my own patriarchal family, which is of Hindu religion, and in which the youngsters must always respect their elders, even though the elders never respect them and mistreat them. For me, this is not respect, this is pure abiding and I never understood and was always against it since I was a child. See my narcissistic parents for example. Why should I respect them despite all the pain they caused to me due to the emotional and verbal abuse I have been experimenting as a golden child or as a scapegoat alternatively and depending of their mood swings? And unfortunately this is the kind of respect that all the youngsters of my patriarchal family were taught to practice towards my parents, especially since my father belonged to the second generation if we consider my grandparents’ generation as the first one. According to what I heard, it seemed that all the elders disrespected their children but the children were forced to abide, especially the girls in the family. For me I am categorical: if a child respects his grandparents and elders, that same child also deserves the same respect from his elders equally.
However, wherever, nonetheless, I accept that definition of respect is when I retrieve myself in some specific circumstances. For example, I will express my respect if there is a funeral in a family or among some people who are in pain, even though I don’t really love them. This is exactly what I am actually feeling for my sister-in-law, since her father fell seriously ill due to some cardiac complications and had to do surgery in emergency to recover. I will express my respect if I see a funerary procession, in a cemetery or a marriage being celebrated by avoiding to make some noise. I will express some respect for other religions even though their beliefs are different from mine. I will express some respect in case there is a prayer being held in any religious buildings such as a temple, a church, a mosque, etc by not making noise. I will respect the regulations when it comes on specific places such as supreme court or hospitals. I will respect the decision of keeping a minute of silence for people who died even though I don’t know them personally. I will respect the hard work made by anyone who took so much time to concretise it, such as the buildings of the architects or the novels written by an author, or the ascension of newly graduated people doing their first steps into the professional world. I will also respect God and all Its creations, and for example avoid some behaviors when I go to the prayer room. I have respect for Mother Nature and for cleanliness, which makes that I always care for having a good life hygiene in respect of the environment around me and of my own health. There are so many examples again to mention but they are some examples of behavior I adapt as any good citizen would do, either in Mauritius or overseas.
However, I really enjoy the first definition of respect, and this is that kind of respect that I feel for some celebrities and also for several of my loved ones among my family, my in-laws, my friends, my social networks and society in general. I would like to illustrate that definition of respect, not with an example, but rather with a counter-example. It’s been one year since I am good friends with a young public figure, Krishna Athal. The way we came to know each other and we became good friends is very particular, since it’s thanks to one of his college friends, who is also another local Mauritian celebrity like him, that I heard about Krishna for the very first time, but not with the best critics unfortunately. The local celebrity who criticized Krishna so harshly shamelessly showed his true colors to Krishna one day, while they met in a restaurant one day during lunch time. Krishna was talking on his mobile phone, whereas the local celebrity was by hazard entering the restaurant. The celebrity saw Krishna and didn’t care if he was on the phone. He toughly patted Krishna on his shoulder with his hand from behind, and this was something Krishna said he really hated, and I give him right on that since if this happened to me in public, I wouldn’t have hesitated to reprimand the person even though it’s somebody who is close to me. What made me laughing was that the local celebrity asked Krishna “Ki position mo frere?” (How are you, my brother in Mauritian Creole). As Krishna already knew the truth through me on all the bad things that the celebrity gossiped with me against him, he didn’t answer and kept on talking on the phone and told me that when it happened, he thought of me and he smiled 🙂 I really admire Krishna’s calm temperament in front of the thunderstorm, and I wish I could imitate him because I was really boiling by the way the celebrity did against Krishna, especially when he mentioned Krishna as a “brother” in the face, but talked rubbish against him and his personality behind his back. For me also this is a huge lack of respect, and purely hypocrisy. If you are not in good terms with someone you consider as an enemy, why should you then be hypocrite with that person? Better let that person go and move your own way without offending anyone, nah?
For the New Year also, as the whole family reunites together with my in-laws, there are a lot of hypocrites who sit at the same table and enjoy that family moment with us. But since I am a daughter-in-law in a Hindu family, even though I don’t have anything to do with them, I unfortunately have no other opportunities than to socialize with them like with the rest of the society during those family meetings and to please them if they wish to organize plans for us during our holidays. But frankly if I had an opportunity to avoid all that, I would have done it since a very long time. But there is another reason which retains me from doing that, and that reason is that I have a son who is growing up and being raised into that family too though we live away from them all geographically, and that my in-laws, as well as his patriarchal grandparents, my husband and I as his parents, are the only references that he has in life to be able to evaluate… and of course without forgetting also his teachers who are also his other references, but which thank God, are very sincere and professional people whom I really estimate and am thankful to for the great help they are giving into my son’s education. Sometimes, you need to express some respect by at the same time practicing hypocrisy due to some specific circumstances, such as your own interests, to protect yourself or because you need to teach some specific values to your children so that they grow up together with those good principles.
As we are talking about hypocrisy, unfortunately I noticed through experience that, in a lot of circumstances, hypocrisy and respect matched with each other and it’s a very sad fact that still exists. A quote in French attracted my attention:
It’s translated as such: It’s better to honor the spontaneous respect and without bias, and to dishonor the hypocrite and deliberated respect, if the first one focuses on totality and the second one on a minority. Unfortunately I haven’t found anything specific where hypocrisy and respect match together, but within the Mauritian culture, unfortunately they both match together in several ethnicity. There is however an interesting article I have fished where the author demonstrates some tricks to avoid becoming an untrustworthy hypocrite with that extract which is meaningful and seems to explain that hypocrisy and respect can match together in some circumstances:
Every day you’re presented with problems and challenges to overcome, and each decision you make about how to handle them plays a significant role in how the people you rely on to trust you see you. To be seen as a hypocrite is to lose respect and trust from the people you depend on.
If you want to avoid hypocrisy in your own life, and maintain the trust you’ve worked so hard to build, then you’re in luck because much research tells us that there are at least nine different things you can do keep hypocrisy at bay as you navigate the often turbulent waters of life.
Let’s take the example of a teacher and the students, especially a teacher hated by a lot of students and who represents the main subject the students will have to learn for the final exam. I remember that when I was studying in Lycee, I had a stressful Accounts teacher, a French expatriate. Everyone hated him because he was always permanently stressed and bad-tempered. Despite all he was really passionate about his job and his subject and he was an excellent teacher. Despite the students’ hatred for him, that teacher deserved their respect through their discipline and hard work, and I may say that it’s thanks to that teacher that they could graduate.
On whatever I wrote above, there is one quote which confirms the kind of respect on which I totally disagree, especially when it comes on the gap between older and younger generations:
It’s exactly the kind of respect that Aretha Franklin requests in the lyrics of her 1967 superhit “Respect” where she mentions about the story of a man who is financially pampered by his rich wife, but who asks of being loved and respected in return. And that is why I conclude my concept about respect through the quote below: