Saturday, March 14, 2015

..Prejudices. Ignorance. Beliefs.. What?...

I am a big believer in respecting cultures, knowing them, understanding them and then living with them peacefully. I have grown up in a very culturally diverse environment. The place where we stayed while growing up had people from all over India. Hell, I moved 1600kms away to another city to start my career. Later, I relocated to a different country with different traditions and culture and I wouldn't have been able to survive had I lived in my bubble of ignorance.

People love stereotypes. I have been stereotyped on numerous occasions and I think I am okay with that. I take it all with a pinch of salt. What really irritates me is the insensitivity of people and how openly they dismiss, ridicule and rubbish other cultures. It happens every now and then.
If my friends or family do something like that I can police them but at work it's really difficult.
I can't be moral police and teach them the right thing. The other day someone came back from Uttranchal and started ridiculing the locals there. It felt really bad. I countered him a couple of times but he rambled on. I was in his state for 6 months and everything wasn't rosy for me either. I was branded as the "north Indian girl" and what it brings with it. There were instances when I was directly / indirectly attacked for being a North Indian. This did hurt because most times it came from people I thought were my friends. I never ever said a word about that because I understand that most times the cultural gaps are our own doing. Thankfully in my case all this was compensated by the other guys I met and became close to.

In another instance we all decided to go out for a team lunch. We have some coworkers visiting us from the UK and we decided to treat them. We went to a famous South Indian restaurant where a particular guy passed a statement with respect to South Indian food in a very derogatory way.
Nobody said a thing but I was really offended. What really irritated me was that nobody took the initiative of even responding to his statement. So I asked him why he was even there. If you hate it so much don't come out to such places. Period.

For me beliefs are very personal and I feel that nobody can take them away from you. You form your beliefs and then you change them. I think this is the reason why I don't retaliate when somebody ridicules or dismisses the other culture because in the end they are their "beliefs".
What I really appreciate in people is their tolerance towards other cultures and cross cultural sensitivity.

I can just Imagine and hope for a day when we all would learn to coexist with differences.
You may say I am a dreamer but I am not the only one..


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