Bowing and touching feet of elders and teachers has been an integral part of Hindu culture. I believe that bowing and touching feet is the greatest gesture of respect one can show. Sadly, I don't feel like bowing and touching feet.
My parents, especially my father often make it a point that I touch feet of elders in our family. And its only for guys to do so, not for daughters, still don't know why! I forget to touch feet because I don't feel like, and prior to meeting the elders, my parents remind me that I have to touch their feet. :D
I have never touched feet of my parents, I don't know why, sometimes I feel guilty about it, other times I feel my parents understand me and I feel grateful about it. I don't have any problem with touching feet but it doesn't come naturally to me.
In a social gathering, I have to remind myself to touch feet of elders of the age of my grandparents, and shake hands with others, else I forget what to do! I become a dud in a social gathering, especially among strangers, and I hate that.
I somehow tend to respect those who touch feet of elders, because its the greatest gesture of respect one can show.
Bowing had been there in other cultures, but bowing and touching feet is a part of Hindu culture and its one of many things I love about Hindu culture!
P.S. - It is said in Hindu Culture that if someone touches your feet, you are obliged to bless that person! So beware, don't let anyone whom you don't wish to bless, touch your feet. :D Something of this sort happened in Mahabharata, but I can't seem to recall what!