Sunday, September 10, 2006

How divided are we

The Indian Social set up appears to be screwed up left, right and center. I mean, we all know this isn't it?!?!? No - we don't know it enough. We never know enough. Yesterday, i had a bitter reminder of this fact when i got to know someone knew.

This is a female who had got in touch with me almost two months ago - might be more. She was planning to appear for the GMAT and wanted to clarify some doubts. She saw my posts in PG and courtesy my good score, i was chosen :) I received a message from her stating all this and also things abt her u get to know in a intro session. Now my profile in this forum just says "iday" and so she asks "what's ur name?" I reply with mine and she's gone. Whoosh...

Now, she was a Gujarati and it did occur to me that something might be wrong here. But i dint want to take any wrong meanings out of it and left it as such. But yeah, the girl was really GONE :) She dint ask me any questions abt GMAT and it proved it. Then, to my surprise, she re-appeared yesterday. Same old GMAT clarification. We shared our yahoo ids and were chatting.

I decided that i better ignore the whole thing coz i dint want to create any awkward moments. So we talked a lot about GMAT. Once this was all over, she dropped this question "You are a Muslim right???" Now i cudnt stop myself anymore.

Me: Yes i am! Isn't it obvious from my name? But - Why did u ask?
She: Nothing - aise hi.
Me: Coming from a gujju, this question has a lot of meanings. So it wud be better if u can explain.
She: No, i am generally afraid of Muslims.

Believe, me! I was kind of prepared, but not for something like this. I don't blame the girl. Anyone who had been there during the riots would have developed strong sentiments about either sides. As someone who has read a lot about this, i knew i was gonna face this sometime. I had a gujju guy in my dance team which performed recently. But he dint seem to have any of these apprehensions. He has moved back to Ahmedabad and we are still good friends. But this one was so awkward.

This girl had been so affected by all that happened that she had kept herself off from Muslim folks till now. She apparently dint attend lectures handled by a Muslim prof :) I then asked "Okie - but what made you get in touch with me again?" She replied "I changed. My managers in my company are Muslim and they are good people". It was really heartening to see that she actually thought she should get back in touch with me and let me know :) She could have really not bothered at all and there are so many others who can perhaps give her better GMAT tips than me :)

But what she did is representative of all of us, the common ppl. We common public are generally nice. We normally wudnt do those kind of things that happened during those riots or any other riots. I am not gonna get into stuff like which community is wrong and which is right. There are lot of theories doing the rounds and it is really not my business. My general theory abt this has always been the same and this is exactly what i told her yesterday "There are ppl with screwed up minds in all communities. Infact, they are beyond the community tag. I don't think they even qualify to be called humans. So as common ppl, it is better that we look and value ppl for what they are and not based on any other discriminating characteristics - including age, gender, caste, community or social status."

There was a huge grin on my face when i was telling this to her. I was thinking "what if i had tried to explain this to her when she was, err, still afraid of Muslims???" I'm sure she wudnt have bought it. I'm glad she realized. I'd be glad if the others do realize as well. I'll be really glad/thankful if the politicians dont play with sentiments and allow the ppl to realize.

17 comments:

scipio said...

Efff!!!!
She is lying da mama!
She is probably afraid of you after seeing the foto on ur blog! :)

Iday said...

Do u mean to say she got in touch again after seeing the new pic ;)

scipio said...

Yeah! So that she could write a horror story based on it :D

Iday said...

LOL :)
But then - may be u forgot!

Horror stories always have sexy lead characters :P

johnyCAGE said...

@scipio lol
great going.
@iday, man, u gotta allow other bloggers to comment. theses world beyond blogspot!
damn! i cant provide my blog link here... it will lead u to the useless bloggers profile.

scipio said...

sexy lead characters

That's usually some girl dude... Do you think nost watchers of horror flicks are some girls wishing to drool over drop dead gorgeous hunks?
Alrite I ain't gonna pull your leg further.

But seriously tho'... I can't comment on your experience, but I have to say that there have been once or twice when I have been in an awkward situation because some ppl don't like brahmins. I guess you handled it well, kudos homie (err... that's homie as in nigga'-speak)

Iday said...

@ JC
Man - i am so sorry. But then i think there still is a way to give links in blogger comments.
I've seen scipio doing it somewhere. My guess is that the same blogger codes apply. So u can give links using the same tags we use while we make posts.

@ scipio
Exactly the point man. Someone likes or dislikes an individual just for the sake that he has some tag.
And the frustrating part is that these stuff wud hardly have been of such importance but for these politicians.
This started right from the time we got independence.
When india was geographically divided, i guess the seeds of communal division were sown too...

I dunno whether i handled it well or not. She was in a diff frame of mind anyway - not that i confronted someone with strong feelings and changed their opinions abt ppl like me :)

johnyCAGE said...

do u hv any problem with non-blogspot guys?
fyi scipio link also leads to his profile (not his blog) like mine.
it will be resolve only if u allow OTHERS to post comments too.


err i had enough with 'codes.' tell me if u got d soln.
hope u understand.

Iday said...

@JC
sorry - i misunderstood ur earlier comment.
I will change the setting allowing others to post comments.
I thought this was again abt that tool u were earlier refering to.

Iday said...

okie JC - done!!!
u can provide ur link henceforth...

Anonymous said...

done dana dunn done :D :)

JohnyCAGE said...

oops i am not anonymous
this is johnieCage,
with link beneath.:D
thanks buddy

btw
wellsaid "There are ppl with screwed up minds in all communities. Infact, they are beyond the community tag."
:)
thumbs up!!

Meru SAVARNI said...

iday

in the same breath that you seem to accuse the girl in question of some sort of insensitivity, some one could just as easily say the same about your own insensitivity towards anyone who is a Gujju...

"you wrote -
Now, she was a Gujarati and it did occur to me that something might be wrong here.

Me: Coming from a gujju, this question has a lot of meanings. So it wud be better if u can explain. "

the point is NOT that all common people are nice..if it were so, the world would be very nice and those handful of "screwed up people in every community" will NOT get a chance to win and rule over the common people..

I think there's more to it. I think in EACH ONE OF US there is a darker side, a certain bent of mind that gives birth to prejudices..like the ones this girl in question and you seem to hold.

It would be better for us to accept the differences we have and face them rather than close our eyes and pretend that "those bad guys out there" are the reason why prejudices exist.

BTW, you have a great chance to make it to HBS/Stanford if you can execute the essays well on those "sensitive points"...

Iday said...

@meru
i guess i have to explain :)
i dint mean to "accuse" her of being anything. I used the sentence "she was a Gujarati and it did occur to me that something might be wrong here" because i understand that the scars caused by those riots probably influenced her ideas, which is quite possible for even the most reasonable individual on earth. What happened there, apart from being horrible, will have affected the people who have been there and seen all that happened. I never held (and will never hold) anything against the girl, because it is only human to form such opinions when one goes through such a difficult crisis.

//the point is NOT that all common people are nice..if it were so, the world would be very nice and those handful of "screwed up people in every community" will NOT get a chance to win and rule over the common people
Agreed. Quite true.
But i look at the same thing and put it differently by saying "Not all common people are bad" which is quite opposite from your "I think there's more to it. I think in EACH ONE OF US there is a darker side, a certain bent of mind that gives birth to prejudices." perspective. Again, you and me have lived a different life and hence the different perspective towards the same thing we see. You say "there are bad ppl and hence i shud be careful about everyone" which is really not entirely wrong i must admit. But that is not the way i look at people :) That is not the life i can live :) i would rather say "let the bad ppl (and the bad sides of ppl) be where they are. let me jus bother about the good thigns in life and move on". Once in a while i might get across bad something/someone and be affected - but that doesnt mean i shud take that effect on to the remaining lot.

//like the ones this girl in question and you seem to hold.
Let's leave the girls out of this :)

//It would be better for us to accept the differences we have and face them rather than close our eyes and pretend that "those bad guys out there" are the reason why prejudices exist.
Differences - we always had, we always will have. That leading to hatred and disliking is not what we want. We see a 1000 ppl and in some way or the other we can show that each one of them is different. But "those bad guys out there", i think, are the reason why we have the hatred today. When a bloke claiming to be a Islamic terrorist bombs up trains and kills ppl, the rest of the world are NATURALLY bound to look at other Muslims in a way they never did earlier. Isnt this what's happening now???

Iday said...

//BTW, you have a great chance to make it to HBS/Stanford if you can execute the essays well on those "sensitive points"...
I missed this :)
Thanks for your wishes. I am not writing a lot about any sensitive issues in the essays. Dont wanna strike a wrong chord out there. And i have lots to write otherwise. But thanks for your wishes.

Checked on ur blog that u got married recently (3 months ago) - Congrats to u and ur wife.
May you have a great life together :)

Meru SAVARNI said...

Thanks for the good wishes.

By "sensitive points" what i meant (i've been an applicant for quite sometime now.) was that in your past if you've experienced something on the lines described in your post, i think you should explain it in the essay to the committee..because, i have by now realized that you are good at not only explianing it (:)) but may have been good in the past in facing those situations i.e. if someone discriminated you on the basis of your religious identity, you are actually facing it and doing it in a manner that is very mature..(ofcourse i don't have the details on your past but this was a guess based on what i saw in your blog)..and this in the years i have known and experienced b-school admission process, is a very valuable characterestic...that is considered by some as even essential in modern day business....

Iday said...

//i've been an applicant...
Yeah - got to know that from ur blog.

//...for quite sometime now
mised that :)

But Meru - this is the first time i have been in such a situation. I have been fortunate enuf to have (1) been born in this part of the country where such things havent happened (and i hope it never happens anywhere) and (2) been around really good ppl (let's jus say - in this regard) all my life. So - i really dont have any such past instances to string together something in my essays. I still have stuff to do with the essays. So i'd definitely have ur suggestion in my mind and write about this experience if i find it to be a fitting answer to any of the essay questions :)

I dont even know whether what i did was what i would have done in any other situation. I expected her to say something like this because she vanished some 3 months back at the mentioning of my name :) I dont hold anything against gujjus, but the other reason why i was not shocked/surprised was because she was a gujju, which means to say that she was there and probably directly affected or seen people get affected during the riots and hence is kind of allowed to react this way :) I dont know whether i wud have reacted the same way if the comment had come from someone else :) Hopefully i will.

This is the first of my posts that has drawn so many comments. And this is the first one where i intentionally edit all my replies to those comments :)