Over the years we meet different sorts of people. Of course everyone has their unique behavior, but some attributes could be common based on the environment they grew in. It could be countries, cities, language, religion, communities, schools etc. So many factors decide condition the way we think, accept, reject or created perspectives. Few things we get conditioned into before even we are aware that we are being conditioned. However, others we like to believe that it was our conscious choice as we were well grown up adults and mature enough to decide by ourselves. Most often than not what we think was our conscious decision, if we look deep enough, we fail to justify that it was our decision. This come very handy when we have to defend ourselves about our presumptions and generalisation of certain observations for wide group of people. In general it can be tagged as stereotyping and in strong sense racism as well. Sometimes it may be too hard to confront them, but other times it could be funny as well. All depends on the situation and state of mind of an individual. I came across many such scenarios in my life. It is probably boring to list to them all, but as I was sitting on the sofa waiting for my computer to upgrade a specific situation came to mind. This one random thought then pushed me to getup and write something.
On my travel, I put a lot of effort to find select certain volunteering projects. One of the criteria was to simplicity and effective usage of resources. I expected that it would be help to me learn some ways and if not then build up a mindset to be always aware of wastage and possible alternate usage of resource. It can be with food, clothes, shoes, water or other objects in the house. I was happy when I found such a project and was the host accepted my profile as well. I just had to wait a month or so to finish my existing project before I could start this lesson.
It is not that I was completely clueless of the wastage. Thanks to my parents, extended family and community, I learned the value of things. It did not learn much about the financial value of the object and personal affection towards the object. The value I got to learn was the effort, energy and time that one spend to acquire that object. The sacrifices and calculations that parents did to select and buy something for us or for them. Once it had reached home, it was not about who asked for it. Nothing was ever looked at from the perspective of possession, but from the function that it serves to someone. For this reason, the books were never a one person possession, but they were passed between siblings and cousins as per age. Same as valid for clothes, shoes, bicycles etc. based on the condition and possibility. However, the times changed as they always do. I got used to the busy work life, no time for food, leisure things leave apart time to think about effective usage of a cloth. Rules became simple; do not need it, throw it. It was not in the mind to think if the object is still useful and can be handed over to someone. But, now it was time to learn something again.
|When it is too much of stereotyping ..|
I went to this place with an open mind and to see what all I could learn. In general, I really liked the dedication the lady had for the effective usage, no to low wastage and re-use of the objects. It needs amazing awareness and dedication to achieve that level. She made sure that ever fruit from every plant or the tree was effectively used. From the wood used in the garden, grass pulled as weed, cardboard that came with some item, milk bottles, soap and so on. This was not done based on any checklist or something like that. It needs a certain attitude and she had that attitude written all over her. I was happy to watch and learn all of those. However, I was not ready to teach anything back to her as she expected for some reason.
She had been to India and travelled few place many years ago. I do not remember where all did she go and where did she stay. But she seemed to have kept the idea of India very close the idea of a British officer who left India during its independence. She had image that whole of India struggles with water, food, heat, cold every day. It is true that sheer by numbers a big amount of population, even bigger than many countries, still face these issues. But, this is where the conscious of thought of relating one attribute to all of the country comes in play. Despite the fact she travelled many places, had a lot of experience, she could not separate herself from generalization of limited observations to wider scope. She is not an exception rather this is very common behaviour.
In this case for me, it created a strange situation. She expected that I could teach few lessons on effective usage of resources. While this idea helped to create a certain respect for me in her eyes, but it also created a confusion. Whenever we had some conversation on such a topic, she would point out that as an Indian I should know much better on effective use of water. Now water is something, that may have caused problems for a big part of India, but not for my state. I would listen her story every time with patience, when she tells me how she admires those Indians who goes through this struggle everyday. I tried to tell that it is not the case for everybody, but her generalization keep the comparison between an average western water consumption vs average Indian water consumption or availability for that matter. I could not bring myself to tell that for me it was not never a problem. I did not grow up with any water shortage at all. In fact I did not even realize that water could be a special resource when for the first time I saw a bottle of water!. As a kid, I would fill up a big tub and float in it for shower. During summer school holidays when all the children would come to grandparents house, the old house would become a fun house. We would take buckets and tubs to flush the floor with water. First we get out its heat and then we put more water to have slides on it. This could go on for an hour or more. After a lot of fun, we would rush to drink lemon soda or water that was kept chilled by my uncle.
Ideally it would have been good to get the situation clear. But, I was happy to play with the special attention that I got because of her mindset. Besides every time, she mentioned about the water shortage in India, it would bring a smile on my face with flashback memories from my childhood. Well, I might not have saved much water as a kid, but at the end I did manage to share a trick to re-use the water that we used for mopping. She was happy with that. I hope she remembers it and when she use it might bring a smile on her face.
If you are a pack of females at Restaurant…
…You want separate checks. And I don’t mean split evenly by the number of people. I mean split down to the exact number of Diet Cokes with lime each person consumed. And if eight gals order a $14 appetizer to share, that needs to be split into $1.75 each. If you are a pack of females over age 55, I’m near tears. You want all of the above, plus you’re going to complain about every … single … thing.