It was my dad-in-law’s shraad and we had invited a pandit at our place for some rituals. As we started lunch, the pandit looked pleased to have ‘typical’ north Indian food, considering he himself is a northie and in Hyderabad, most of his jajmaans were south Indian. Inevitable as it was, the discussion about south indian fooding and cuisine started among three northies, with flowing sense of superiority that our cuisine is so rich in comparison to rice-eaters.
I too gave my inputs and suddenly in the middle of the discussion, I felt utterly stupid to even get involved in something that talks about what some people eat. I mean, who are we? Lawyers in the court of God, to prove that since we know 100 different varieties of paratha and 1000 different varieties of curries, we are superior to those eating food with rice being a perpetual denominator.
I know a lot of people who have this air of superiority because they think their taste is so better than others. SO? Do they pass any nutrition of their diet in our bodies? Or, for that matter, how does it matter at all, if you like beef and I like beetroot?
But the problem is not with geography or people belonging to it. It is also not about taste, rituals, gender or education. Even south Indians feel greater than northeis for their inclination towards education and tradition of collecting degrees and settling abroad.
It is about how we are programmed.. groomed.. and raised by our loving parents and teachers from the day, we started understanding things in this complex worlds. More we were trained to accept the existence of other people and mould ourselves in order to incorporate them, more we learned to respect the differences we have from other human beings, starting from our own families to nations and religions.
But unfortunately, who will execute the task, when the mothers and teachers themselves are unaware about these wonderful phenomena of ‘respecting the differences’ and ‘not being judgemental’. After all, our own homes cradle the hypothesis that we are better than certain Sharmas, Vermas, Dubeys or Pandeys. Sometimes it’s because we kept our house cleaner, or we had a better dressing sense, went to a better school, scored better marks, or ate at better restaurants, or if nothing else, we simply looked better. At the end – my mom, my dad, my home and my everything else is THE BEST – and not just my best.. it should be the best for the whole world. Totally forgetting that we are just an element in a small circle of a huge Venn diagram called society, and every inch of ‘my best’ is intersecting the best of other people. And when two people fight for single glory, they clash, till clashing and debating becomes a way of life to express superiority.
Sometimes it feels so sick to be judgmental, to tell people what they should be doing and not respecting the choices they make. To deciding on who is beautiful, who is rich, who is nice and who is mean. What they should be doing and what might make their life go up or come down. Who has better etiquette and who is a smug! Uff!! It’s tiring and appears like an attempt tantamount to holocaust without bloodshed. But we are killing variety in society, making people get divided into our own convenient categories, which I think is worse and totally unnecessary. Sadly, this transcendence that begins with petty issues takes some people to unbelievable insanity where they start making attempts to suppress or remove those who they feel are lesser!
May be the life would have been better, if we were told that world is so vast outside our houses, when we were not allowed to leave homes alone. May be, it would have helped us more, if our mothers have told us more about other religions and why they are amazing than telling us that our Gods are the mightiest. May be we would have learned more about ourselves, if we were scolded for bringing expensive junk food in our Tiffin boxes making us look richer than the other kids, who had to bring that same sabzi paratha every day.
May be we should have been told that variety is the spice of life and that is why God made everyone so different, yet so similar, so that in a bigger picture, we are still one. Wish we had been told about such wonderful tales about the universe, world, science and civilizations, so that we had known at that tender age itself that we are a small note in a huge orchestra and our real responsibility is to keep oscillating with the rhythm and harmony; rather than each one crooning for himself.