The standing position.
Ihave named this article as Casabianca because Casa stood on the ship’s deck (as instructed by his father) without moving even as all other ship’s crew left the ship when they saw a flood coming. Interestingly, I remember our great movie man Sha Rukh Khan was a young person many years ago. He was seen as a soldier in film. His brother was the commander. On one occasion the commander orders SRK to stand. Thereafter he leaves the place and totally forgets the young soldier standing. When he remembers that he had asked the soldier to stand, he immediately rushes to the spot and finds that the youngster was still on his feet.
Man is born in a lying down condition. I think some animals at least are born in the standing condition or at least stand soon after being born. Right from the time someone is born, the parents and others try to make the child stand. Of course it is not easy to make a child stand and walk. It takes about an year or so for the child to walk. The way it tries to walk and the ways in which its parents and others try to make it walk are very interesting scenes. Before walking steadily in a standing position, the child tries to walk on all fours. This is a lovely sight.
I read about a book titled Born Standing Up by Steve Martin. Very eagerly I tried to see what the author has said in his book. Then I found that Steve was a stand-up comedian. He was talking about his work of being a standing up comedian.
NEED TO STAND
What is our purpose in discussing a child’s standing and walking efforts? After the child grows up it has to stand a great deal for various reasons and for various purposes. A great deal of the child’s time is spent in sitting, sleeping, lying down and so on. Out of 24 hours a child may sleep for about 10 hours. But out of the rest of 14 hours it has to stand a great deal. It may not be possible for us to mention how many hours the child stands. But the standing position has great purposes, reasons and implications.
An important point in a person standing is to show respect. But strangely sometimes standing is used also as a punishment. I remember a joke. The teacher
asked, “Pandu where is the Qutub Minar?” Pandu did not know the answer. So as usual the teacher said, “Stand on the bench.” Pandu stood on the bench and said, “Teacher from here also I can’t see the Qutub Minar.”
When bosses and other higherups come, the subordinates stand as a mark of respect. Once, in an office the boss was entering the building. The peon who was sitting at the door did not get up (Due to ignorance or carelessness). The boss got angry and gave him a sharp slap.
Once, a big boss of a certain company came from America for a visit of their Indian establishment. In the evening there was a social gathering. The foreign gentleman was going round meeting people and chit-chatting with them. He came near a group of ladies who were seated and talking. When they saw the gentleman approaching they got up. But that person said, “No no, please do not stand. This is a social gathering. Let us meet and talk informally.” One lady said, “Sir, you also please sit.” He said, “I have been sitting all day. I don’t want to sit. You people sit and let us talk,” Will the ladies continue to sit? If they continue to sit then we can say that there is a very good relationship between the boss and the staff. And also that the staff are not afraid of such matters.
Many jobs and occupations require the person to keep standing for a long time. People in the armed forces, police, especially traffic police, watchmen, waiters in restaurants, most workers in factories, teachers, and lecturers and so on have to stand and work. Surgeons operate mostly in a standing posture. Others who have to work standing are bus conductors, hair dressers and salesmen in shops.
I remember a joke. In a rural area it was very hot and humid. The teacher was an old man perhaps about to retire. Unable to bear the heat and the sweat, he removed his shirt and vest and sat on the chair with legs stretched on the table. Within seconds some boys came running and shouting, “Inspector has come.” Our friend got up and before he could do anything the inspector was standing right in front of him. He said, “Sir, I was teaching chest, lungs, thorax etc.” I am not able to say whether the inspector bought the old man’s submission.
Apart from these occupations there are other areas also where people have to stand. Religious services, singing of the national anthem, paying last respects to people who have passed away, standing in the queue for various purposes (except perhaps queue in a doctor’s clinic or other places where there is an arrangement for sitting for the waiting patients). I saw a cartoon where a lady was sitting a little away from the queue reading a book. She had put the papers in her dog’s mouth with a chain and the dog was made to stand in the queue.
Standing in the queue for buying tickets or for any other jobs has its own fun and problems. During busy season people stand in the queue day and night. Sometimes you find that one or two persons standing near the counter and talk to the people in the queue. The others would get upset seeing such tactics and call out to them to get back to the queue. They say that they are not in the queue but only talking to their friends. I remember in Chennai we used to stand in the long queues to buy tickets for MGR movies. Some children used to enact sword fighting for the entertainment of the people in the queue.
People like police, teachers, watchmen, etc have not only to do their work in a standing position but they cannot take it easy and sit down. The people in the above categories not only have to stand and do their work but they cannot take it easy and sit down. Once a traffic policeman was standing right in the middle of the traffic junction and a vehicle came and hit him. He died. Government set up a memorial for him.
Sometimes a large number of people keep standing for a long time expecting a minister or a politician to come and inaugurate a new project or make a speech. One is sure to feel tired having to stand for such a long time. Sometimes you get unexpected rains also. A man like me may not mind sitting down on the ground but the ground may be dirty or other people may look with disgust or there may not be enough room at all for the person to change from the standing position to the sitting posture.
JOB’S DEMAND A GREAT MANY JOBS AND OCCUPATIONS REQUIRE THE PERSON TO KEEP STANDING A GREAT DEAL OF THE TIME. PEOPLE IN THE ARMED FORCES, POLICE, ESPECIALLY TRAFFIC POLICE, WATCHMEN, WAITERS IN RESTAURANTS, MOST WORKERS IN FACTORIES, TEACHERS, AND LECTURERS AND SO ON HAVE TO STAND AND WORK.