January 19th, 2010

Join the Masses

Things are not what they seem

Perhaps I never really realised it. Because our own world seems so normal to us. My world,  unconsciously was my own, my frnds, my relatives, my school. They formed the basis of the 'world' for me. I realised its not everyone's world, but the world of people like me.
To me till a long time the average urban dweller had a lifestyle similar to mine, perhaps a little different becuase afterall everyone cannot be similar.
And so all Bengalis were not ardent rice lovers, though of course they ate more rice than others.
And all modern day women studied and had careers.
And though 'people' followed superstars lives and fashions, these 'people' were obviously not from similar families and backgrounds.
And though some girls were fashion slaves, they obviously were a different social strata, right?

Then slowly, steadily, I realised that people are people. One type for each variety. And each type for all varieties.
Dumb educated people. Intelligent uneducated people.
Women more interested in marrying than studying.
Men accepted and applauded for being chauvinistic and controlling and women respected for being helpless
Dowry is still OK as is pati parmeshwar

That there are 'types' of people, not bound in by anything except their personalities. Educated Americans with a world view like an uneducated Indian village idiot and educated young girls as smart as most household helpers.

The world is as varied as it was 100 years ago. Things, really have not changed much. Because I am sitting in a certain percentage perspective of it, it seems different to me. It looks to me as if that percentage has grown because I am now part of it and it surrounds me. My world makes me and I make my world. 'Real India' is what India seems to me. To encounter anything else, a shock. That some else's real India is different from mine I can grant but that it is vastly different for a peer of mine - can only astound.
In my world all married couples are working, forward looking, relaxed with respect to traditions. But more I see of the world, more I realise that what I considered extant. That people they show in movies exist in real life, and think they live in movies.
That there are women in the world with an incredible wishlist for 'the man in their life' (here) and that there are people who grudge Re1 rounding off as a restaurant tip when they are earning perhaps better than me and there is no moral wrongness in it.That, people do wear shiny belts and shinier shirts and expect it to look understated.

Stereotypes that are real. And the reason they are stereotypes is because perhaps out of 10 types of people in a population of 100, the steroptype will be 20%.

The world is vast, and we are all different. And yet we are all the same - same as before.
I have learnt that I am like many, but that many is a small lot in a big big world with stereotypes.
I have learnt that the word is much vaster than I can summarise
That 6 billion people are indeed of colours more than the small classifications of culture, status, background can provide
That actually, a personality is shaped by the person more than his education
More indeed than his parents, his language and his eating habits

I have learnt that I should value what I am, who I am
Because there are few like me
And none skin to me
Because I am, like you,
Not a stereotype
Because I am,
Different.