Sunehra Koshy: CEO of Crack at Dawn Craft Reflects on Sir/Madam Culture
Sunehra Koshy, the CEO and the Founder of Crack at Dawn Crafts (http://www.crackofdawncrafts.in) is an emphatic disciple of No Sir No Madam drive. Crack at Dawn Crafts is a start-up that helps in creating a truly memorable experience for all special occasions.
An MBA in finance and marketing, she worked as Assistant Vice President (AVP) of operations at HSBC Bank. However, Sunehra loved making crafts as a kid. She re-found her childhood hobby while on her maternity leave. This is when she was inspired to start a firm to display her art and craft. Thus, began the onset of Crack at Dawn Crafts.
Sunehra has inculcated the practice of addressing with first-name at her company. “I keep telling my employees, not to adhere to using salutations. Some of them are still reluctant to adopt this habit. The idea of using Sir/Madam to show respect is so deeply imbibed in them that they refuse to accept any change.”
Moreover, she includes — I believe removing Salutation custom makes communication easier as well as instils parity. When I began working at HSBC, I never had to address my colleagues or seniors as ‘Sir/Madam’. As a matter of fact, we even had the liberty to allude the Vice president by her name.” She conceives, slowly and steadily, private companies in India are adopting the MNC culture.
Sir/Madam tradition still dominantly exists in the defence forces. “I remember having friends whose parents were in the military. They would address my father as ‘Sir’, and it made me feel awkward. I was not sure if I am expected to refer their parents as ‘Sir/Madam’ as well.” It is instilled into folks from the military background to use salutation, to show respect.
Demanding respect, over the years, has impaired the working class of society. Sunehra voices — I know some friends of mine, who are well educated, yet they treat their house help in a very graceless manner. They do not let the maid use their dishes, even though they are the ones who clean it.
People need to realize that we all are equal. We have been lucky enough to get various opportunities in life. Let us not discriminate someone for being less fortunate. “I have never imposed on my house help to address me as ‘Madam’. I incline towards her utilizing my first-name. It enhances our correspondence and feels mutually respected,” Sunehra alleges.
To spread uniformity in the society, it is important that we first educate people about this. “I think, right from their initial schooling days, children need to be instructed about mutual respect.” The habit of expecting to be addressed as ‘Sir/Madam’ creates a sense of superiority as you grow up. I do not feel Sir/Madam is necessary, however we can go for choosing salutation of Mr/Mrs or the surname. Appropriate counselling needs to be given so that children do not grow up to be uncouth individuals.
She continues — In India, even the parents are expected to address their child’s teacher as ‘Sir/Madam’. In the United States, she never noticed any parent or student using salutations to address their teachers, she speaks. Again in the U.S. no one referred Sir/Madam to the teachers. However, the salutation of ‘Mr/Mrs’ and the surname was applied while talking to the faculty. For instance, “Mrs Kranich can I please have an eraser.” This made communication between the parents and teachers more transparent. Furthermore, it helped in establishing stronger bonds.
Sunehra withdraws by conjecturing, “I do believe the Sir/Madam practise is strongly ingrained in the culture of lower income groups. It adds to their inferiority complex in comparison to those in medium to high level income groups. We should inculcate a sense of pride in these strata of society such that they have dignity in their position and role.”