Of Similarities and Stereotypes.

Here’s a conversation I had, while my encounter with a new friend on Whatsapp. The backdrop is we both are to move to a different city from our hometown in a few days, and as a more ‘easy-to-network’  generation, we connected through various social networks, going to the same company, same place with the same purpose.

Roshita: Hey! Where are you from? I am from Kolkata.

Me:  I am from Madhya Pradesh. Glad to hear from you.

Roshita: Me too. We can be friends, now since we have chatted.

Me: Ya sure! I hope we will be.

Roshita: Is somebody coming all the way to Chennai to drop you?

Roshita: Someone will. It’s pretty far from my city that why. Also, I am moving out from my hometown for the first time.I have been a pampered kid lately.

Me: Ditto! I so get your story!  🙂

Roshita: We are on the same boat, we seem to get along well.Your are not a Bengali too…are you?

Me: Nope yar! I am not. Since you are in the city of Lord Durga, wishing you a Happy Durga Puja!

Roshita: Thanx.

You might wonder why I started off with this conversation…Doesn’t this discussion remind you of something? It is a natural thing to look for people with similar interests and thoughts at times when you are alone, in a new city or culture. It even gets to us when we start out for a college education or relocate for a new job.But, in the hunt to find familiar people, haven’t we been a bit biased?

Cultures, religion, belongingness connect us, as well as they create a divide by letting the formation of small covens. We have faced a hundred events of stereotypes, each one of us.I don’t want to name any of those ,so they donot leave any ‘prints’ on your mind, if you were never aware of them earlier. But why do we dismiss the thought of discussing this!

Two people from the same states or cities, may be easy to get along! There is nothing wrong in being with the right people. But looking through the glasses of stereotypes, our vision will be blurry, we might miss out a lot. There is just one little wish that prejudices didn’t hinder our togetherness. That there shouldn’t be ‘filters’ in our views and opinions.  Every varied personality deserves a fair chance.  Shouldn’t we be more welcoming?  It is great to see close groups as ‘the cool Burkha Gang,’ ‘ the Mallu gang,’ but it might be much better  to see ‘the party animals,’ ‘the shy cult’ or ‘writer’s or photographers  adda!’ What do you say?

Even though it is an automated system in our minds, that is how connectivity works for us, through similarities.It will take us a while to change, to accept, and many more repeated reminders like this one. But, let’s try not to fall into the traps of biases and prejudices, even if that needs a conscious effort. I am urging so because that is what we learn at schools, colleges or offices, the lesson to smile and open our arms to diversity! The diversity of personalities and interests!

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Anuva Agrawal

As an avid reader, I realise the power of words and here is my attempt to make an impact through the bit of creativity in me. :)