It’s disconcerting to realize that years of first world existence, education, experience and travel to exotic destinations often do very little to open up minds. Once you decide what you think is right, is right, you will never be short of excuses to deride beliefs that are different from yours. Different is a concept that most of us are not comfortable with. We baulk at men dressed as women, find the sight of gay men holding hands hilarious, crack jokes at the eating habits of people from certain regions…In our little universe inside the well, we are perfect. So, when it’s someone else who ridicules our skin colour, customs and rituals, we bristle with indignation.
I grew up having to put up with “ami tomake bhalobashi” and “roshogulla” jokes. I took pains to explain that our cuisine is beyond “machh-bhaath”. But that didn’t stop me from making fun of my butter chicken loving Punjabi friends. In our limited perceptions – all Punjabis are crass, anybody living in the south of the Vindhyas is a brainy South Indian who licks sambhar off his elbows, North Easterners are Chinkies and Nepalis, watchmen.
We colour our opinions with many shades of prejudice.
We waste no time in forming opinions, castigating our fallen heroes, shaking our heads with disgust at the falling morals while safely assuming that there’s nothing wrong with us. It is as if we have never lied, been unfair, hurt our loved ones and been insincere.
The thing is, we expect very little from us and too much from others. We are never short of excuses to justify our failures but quick to condemn other’s failings.
So, if an employee gets chastised by his employer for not delivering – it is the boss who is nasty. If someone decides to be truthful rather than pretend to be nice, that person is hurtful. If someone’s opinion clashed with yours, she is dismissed as a troll. The girl, who’d rather immerse herself in her thoughts than indulge in inanities, has attitude problems. The guy driving faster than you is a show off and the guy driving slower is an idiot.
Everyone in this world is an asshole but you.