Preconceived Notions

We move through life with our assumptions and presumptions caring very little to check their authenticity. A blonde is assumed to be dumb, an obese person supposed to eat more, a person living in ‘foreign’ to be wealthy and so on. Actuality can be the exact reverse and sometimes quite shocking too.

After my post graduation I had a lot of difficulty in getting a job. Initially I attributed it to the financial market not being so developed at that time and after a succession of failures I just assumed that I was not good enough. After finally securing one and working for a couple of weeks, my superior’s remarks dumbfounded me-We never thought a small town ordinary girl like you would be so full of energy and ideas. And then it struck me like a bolt of lightening. I have never cared much for looks or appearances, believing that your actions matter more. But his remark opened my eyes. That looks do matter, its not always matter but about packaging too. Needless to say the very same day I visited the neighbourhood Saloon, got my eyebrows done, asked for a suitable hairstyle, got some new clothes and started using slang in my language. Anybody experiencing Mumbai life will understand the importance of slang in ‘Mumbaiya bhasha’. Needless to say my other colleagues started noticing me after this makeover.

In complete contrast in my student days in Mysore I was supposed to be ‘fast’ and modern because of my different pattern of clothes and accent. Reason being that I had come from North (Bhilai) and didn’t think twice before conversing with anybody-male or female, old or young.

Then their was this hep girl who I was in complete awe of. Reason being that she was my entire opposite, Very petite, wearing latest trendy clothes and a confidence which I lacked. My assumption was that she is too western and that she will not be much connected to our ‘roots’ Until one Tuesday morning I saw her wearing a mini skirt standing in the queue for darshan at Siddhivinayak temple, with her eyes closed chanting a Shloka. What a contradiction!!

Newly married; as is the custom in India we were invited to the homes of our friends and relatives. And being the chubby self that I am, it was assumed that I would be eating well and my plate would be piled up with food. My refusal for such proportions would be termed as haughtiness. After a couple of such encounters, as soon as it was mealtime I would get up to serve everybody and thus save myself from stomach aches later on.

It was with starry eyes that I came down to Bahrain post marriage; dreaming about an easy life, fast cars and cheap gold. until reality struck. Nothing had prepared me for the job insecurities and uncertainties, the high cost of living etc. I had never before imagined that the cost of accommodation would be so high that people would be forced to share or sublet. Or that even after performing extremely well your remuneration will be lesser than a an average Britisher or Egyptian just because you are an Asian.

After coming down in the Gulf I had also assumed that all Ethiopians have loose morals. Until an acquaintance told me the story about a woman who came down as a maid but was forced into trafficking. She had to continue with it because she had a family of 8 to support back home and also because her passport and papers were snatched away by her ‘benefactor’.

Its so very easy to be judgemental and so very difficult to be judged. Its better to go ahead in life with our hearts and mind open rather than jumping to conclusions. Who knows what all facts lie beneath the glossy exteriors.

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