Gentlemen in a Sea of Men

Gen-Z heartthrob Agastya Nanda’s views on “gentleman” has suddenly become a haute topic

Mumbai: Separating the men from the boys is tough. It’s even tougher to spot gentlemen in a sea of men, bragging about themselves. But Gen-Z heartthrob actor Agastya Nanda of The Archies fame, grandson of the ‘ultimate gentleman’ Amitabh Bachchan has made “gentlemen” a haute topic at family dinners, social media, and canteen kattas across the country.

Recently, on his sister, Navya Naveli Nanda’s podcast show, What The Hell Navya!, Agastya shattered macho man myths saying: “For me, being a man is really about being in touch with both masculine and feminine sides.” Barely had Agastya shared his views, and the social media went into a frenzy, debating about the qualities of an “ideal man”, the “complete man” and the “gentleman”.

The idea of a Gentleman

Many movies portray the image of a thorough gentleman as a man who rescues damsels in distress and bashes up the bad guys. However, the idea of “gentlemen” has changed with time. Earlier, it was based on class, chivalry, manners, attitude, the way he was dressed, and largely on the way the man conducted himself in a public environment.

Milind Jadhav, a life coach, says, “In today’s society, amidst increasing stress and struggles, encountering a man who embodies sensitivity, care, and selflessness is a refreshing change. This is at the heart of what it means to be a gentleman today. A person who is empathetic, compassionate, kind and does not hesitate to show what he feels.”

A man who opens a car door for a lady but drives aggressively, cutting lanes and honking, is not a gentleman. Conversely, a man lacking table manners but helping someone in need at a restaurant epitomises true gentlemanly behaviour. The days of mard ko dard nahin hota and ‘boys don’t cry’ are passé. As more women join the workforce and enjoy financial freedom, the expectations from their male counterparts have also changed. At times, a man’s intent for a chivalrous gesture is from an egoistic trait of flaunting his manliness and not ‘kindness’.

Sneha Gupta, founder and life coach, of Inclusive Growth Centre ((IGCentre) says, “Women demand equal respect and parity above all. Being courteous and kind harms nobody. Try to understand each other’s world and navigate accordingly. Each individual is different and should decide how they want to be treated in any relationship.”

Unlearning & Relearning

A gentleman is beyond just looks. To break through society’s standard of a man and the idolised portrayal of a macho man in Bollywood takes a lot of unlearning for many. Milind advises men to slow down and introspect. Milind says, “Firstly, let go of the story in your head that not crying equals being strong. Most people don’t even like themselves. It’s not right to suppress your emotions. People judge regardless. Prioritise self-love and acceptance. You do not need validation from billions of people around you.”

Sneha highlights the significance of mental health awareness and says, “Unfortunately some families and environments still believe in an unemotional manhood. Vulnerability and living authentically is important for all genders. Without self-awareness and emotional intelligence, it is impossible to be a gentleman.”

As humans, we connect with others at an irrational, emotional level. Milind emphasises that a person who can understand, use, and manage his own emotions effectively will be able to be an effective gentleman than one who doesn’t. Unlike his grandfather who has been a role model for many, Agastya believes, “Being a man is so individual. There is no one template that anyone should follow. It’s like finding you.” Well said, man!

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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