A matter of perception

It is a habit of the urban, sophisticated group to label themselves open-minded, forward-thinking, and various other such phrases.

I assumed they were. They look the part, they possess the right vocabulary, they eschew correct opinions on all matters ranging from politics to caste system, they have graduated from college, they are what others aspire to be. Disappointingly though, they are alarmingly petty and not-open-minded.

I know someone whose husband left her (for reasons unknown even to her). She lives with someone else now, and she does not feel the need to be defined by her previous failed marriage, or her partner through her difficult times.

I know of the old man who believes his grand daughter should be free to marry the one she likes, rather than asking her to conform to the family’s or their society’s expectations of what the appropriate thing to do is.

I know a lady who encourages her daughter to study hard, work, and achieve something for herself; is that not what she strives for every time she sacrifices her sleep to do well in her exams?

I recognize the man who ensures he buys groceries and cooks dinner, his wife may be too tired after her chores in three different households.

Maybe these people know only to read slowly, maybe they dream of having a dignified job, maybe they look at the urban office-goer with awe, but who is to deny they are not open and accepting?

The more I observe people and understand their principles, the more I am aware of the yawning gap between being literate and being educated, thinking of lofty ideas and actually practising them, and how wrong it is to slot people who are different from you into categories. There are surprises everywhere!

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