You know I am in Bangalore to attend #SURGEconference 2016, Right? (If you didn’t, you missed the first chapter; read Bangalore Diaries#1)
So yes, it is day 1 of India’s largest Tech Startup Conference. Right here in namma Bengaluru and yours truly has a media pass to the event. The why or how doesn’t work. The universe’s plans unfolds in it’s unique style and they don’t follow your why and how concept. So don’t even bother asking why or how did I get an invite this epic conference. The only reason I can think of is maybe because thetalespensieve.com is the 13th best book blog in the country or a crass reason can be that I am part of a FB group called – Startup Talky 😀 Enough timepass, let’s get to the story.
The morning trip to the venue was easy. Poulomi – my helpful college junior who opened up her house and heart for me to stay till I can find a place for myself, also volunteered to drop me at Manpho Convention Centre because it is right next to her office. The interesting part though is the return trip.
So, I got out of the convention centre, badge hanging around the neck , laptop on the shoulder, oozing inspiration with all the entrepreneurial talk….day dreaming about TTP; but trust me when I say this, even with all that inspiration I had no idea wether the bus stop was on the right or the left! I tried my trusted friend – google maps. It showed me the Manyata Tech Park Bus Stop really well and correct I am sure, but I just could not read it well. I remained confused between the main road and the service road! Then with the phone beeping critically low battery, I shoved the phone into the bag and decided to get my hands dirty the traditional way. I asked the next person I saw on the road. Simple. 🙂
I was walking with all the energy I could manage at the end of a tiring day and I could see this lady standing at the bus stop looking at me. I just knew she was going to talk to me. Which of course isn’t a very welcome prospect with me. But obviously she didn’t know this so, she opened the conversation with, “Where…” I just stalled her right there and blurted out, “I don’t know the buses. It’s my first time this side.“She said, “No, No…I am asking where did you get your earnings from? Nice design. Very pretty.” And I was like, Gwad another gold loving mallu! Relieved that I don’t have to tell her the route, I kind of uninterestedly said, “Mom got it from Kerala, I guess.” She still wanted to know if she can’t get the same design in any of the gold shops in Bangalore. At my wits end I just told her, “You can take a picture if you want and try asking in the shops that you shop at.” More conversations followed while waiting for the bus and in the bus like what I do, what she does, where I am going, where she is going, her job, her kid and very reluctantly about her impending divorce too.
But something I did really got me thinking about this little brush with a complete stranger.
I thought how judgemental we get about people and that too just based on our perceptions. We judge someone else based on our perception. How unfair can it get! While she was talking to me I am guilty of judging her twice – once when she asked me about the earning; because in my little world I have seen Kerala-ities love gold a lot, I thought she was a Keralite. She tuned out to be a Tamilian! Secondly, while I was taking her to be a Keralite I had already ascertained in my mind that she must have been brought up in Kerala and must have come to Bangalore after marriage. Reason? With eyebrows undone and unwaxed hands I thought she can’t be a metropolis girl. Turned out she has lived all her life in Ramamurthy Nagar. Right in the heart of North Bangalore! I don’t know how many times she judged me in that 35 minutes conversation, but vociferously she did once, when she asked me which church I went to. The reason? Because I wasn’t wearing a Bindi it was taken that I am a christian.
Guilt did ravage me when I rewinded this talk while walking back home from the bus stop. It is so easy to judge. Big and small. I don’t judge a person for bigger things. That’s a conscious effort which has now become a habit. But I think these smaller things, maybe they are embedded in the psyche which make an unannounced appearance and form an image in the mind. I don’t know how but I want to break free of this. I don’t want to form an image about a person or a situation that I am not fully aware of.
I would welcome suggestions. Your comments are my access point to growth.