When we were children, we were taught that books are to be revered because books give us knowledge. It was also taught that it was not good and not respectful to touch anyone with the feet. So every time we accidentally or deliberately touched someone or we touched books with our feet, even dropped the books from our hand, we were taught to say sorry by the gesture of bowing our head, extending our hand and bringing them to our heart. No words are spoken but it’s a way of saying sorry and paying respect. In Marathi, it is called “Paya padne” (touching the feet).
The rule is followed by everyone even when an elder accidentally touches a child with his/her feet. Each country has different culture and the way we interpret something can be interpreted in a different way by others.
While coming to office today, I was making my way into the crowded metro when my foot touched a lady sitting. Instinctively and without a second thought, I said ‘Sorry’ my hand went forward and touched my heart. The lady on the seat looked at me like I was some kind of wierdo. I looked away smiling at myself.
Some habits die hard, they really do!