Saturday, 1 October 2011

Why holding ears is a punishment?

"Hold your ears and stand near the blackboard, facing the class.” I don’t know which school teacher she was. I might have got punished like that probably ones or twice in entire schooling life. Not that I was such a sincere student who never got punished. I would rather say that if you never got punished in schools, never bunked classes in college and never went for a movie with office mates, what a waste of life!

I got punished in school many a times, though I find few of those punishments very funny today. If socks were not clean or shoes were not polished properly, the punishment was to wear socks in one leg and shoes in other without wearing socks under it, which essentially meant that you have to sit in the class that whole day. The sad part was you missed that day’s play during long - recess. Standing on bench for disturbing the class – I think that was perfectly fine punishment. Standing outside the class for not bring books or not doing home work, that was also fine as you could see and enjoy students playing in play ground. But here the only problem was, if some other teacher or principle happened to see you standing outside class, their look use to embarrass you. Though the feeling lasted for only 10 minutes and then you use to again get engrossed watching other student play, through the corridor window.

We use to get remark in our school diary for not doing homework/ not bringing homework copy, etc, and we were suppose to bring parents signature on the remark essentially meaning that our parents have also acknowledged it and probably scolded us. I always took signature from my dad for the first remark and then the complete year from my mom. Moms are always easier to convince especially when you are wrong. There was also a rule to bring only roti and sabji in lunch box. No Idli, Upma, snacks was entertained. I was the dabba captain. So till the time our class teacher use to take attendance in first period, I use to check everyone’s lunch box. Students not abiding by the rule use to get remark in diary. I feel funny thinking that I use to see what everyone bought in tiffin everyday.

So yes I have received punishments for every deviation from the rules set by school authorities. Probably that is also a reason why I am a bit disciplined today to say the least.

Why these sudden thoughts over school and punishments? The reason is my wife asked me,

“Why holding ears is considered as a punishment?

For a moment I didn’t know how to respond. Then I blankly said, “I don’t know but that’s a very interesting question.”

And then I decided to google it out. Even google doesn’t know why it is so! I myself pondered over it. ‘Hands-up’ position indicates that you have surrendered or you will remain in-active. Why holding ears as punishment, you can hold nose-though that would look funny or catch your shoulders – that can be painful actually. The only reason I could think of is probably when you hold your ears for long, after some time, the head automatically bends down. This position indicates that the person has realised his mistake. I couldn’t figure out anything else apart from that. If you have any idea over this, do share it…

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: Since toddlerhood we make kids hold ears and ask them to say ‘sorry’ or apologise but I don’t know why holding ears is considered apologetic. It could be a way of greeting people like the Japanese greet each other by bowing!


  1. nice nice

  2. very well written..though couple of disagreements..
    Are you disciplined?? ;)
    how can holding your ear be a way of greeting people? dosent make sense

    I agree that it cud be due to the head bending logic..and also it engages both the hands unlike nose catching!!

    this is a sure food for thought post :)

  3. @lavina :
    "Are you disciplined??" The answer is I think so, not sure. If I am not, I will someday... I am not in haste and even if I dont become disciplined, who the hell cares!!! :P

    "how can holding your ear be a way of greeting people?" - Arre thats just a suggestion yaar... It sounds weird because we havent seen it. we touch somebody else's feet. If you look at it thats so tacky! And that form of greeting actually means 'my wisest body part - head, is at your least pure body part legs!' like wise we can hold ears and bend our head - indicating purity or heart and soul! :)

    Thanks a lot for your comments... if put me in thinking mode!

  4. I think holding ears keeps ur hands up for few minutes which gives u pain.. thus, a light way of punishing !!

  5. I guess the original idea probably was pulling down the ears instead of holding it. That can be quite painful. I had a few occasions when I had my ear pulled.

  6. very interesting...never really thought about's not very painful but it's generally children who are told to hold their ears so you don't really wanna hurt them...
    kids generally have the habit of breaking or throwing stuff around maybe its just a simple way to keep there hands busy...

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  7. Jyoti, Ramakant, Oxymoron: Agree with your interpretations to an extent! :)

  8. That is indeed a weird thing, I wouldn't have asked myself this question. Very well articulated and I know how it feels when teachers give that stare while we stand in the corridor.

  9. Ha ha... very relevant questions you have there. I have never thought about it. I guess it could be something to do with how hands start paining kept like that for long. :P

  10. heheheh such questions cannot be answered... even I had similar question...
    why its always same "pinch"... ?

  11. remembering childhood..........

  12. Awesome…

  13. classic…

  14. wow….

  15. It is so amazing and good...

  16. Marvelous…..

  17. Good one...



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