It’s nine thirty at night and I am on my way back to home sweet home. I’m looking for a rickshaw that won’t overcharge me on my way back. Yea right.
I’m on my fifth ‘take your mode of transportation and get out of my face’ exchange with an intolerably cranky driver and on the verge of tipping over with the unbearable weight on my shoulders due to my hopelessly full bag.
Finally, a nice old man with a beard stops and asks for a fair amount, enough to cover his expenses for driving to no-passenger-on-my-way-back land. I oblige. I just can’t take a bus today. I’m exhausted.
I’m in the rickshaw and we start a friendly conversation. I tell him that I remember that he’s taken me to my place once before. He remembers but feigns unclarity. I smooth over the converstation by telling him that I am horrible with names but I never forget a face. He’s pleased.
A calm takes over the interiors of this shaking vehicle as we speed through the highs and lows of the miracles of Indian road construction. I escape reality by mentally reviewing the contents of the day.
Soon enough, we find ourselves in front of my gated community and I am looking for the right amount of money in my yellow oversized wallet. As I hand the man his due, an old lady comes to the rickshaw, asks him whether he will take her to a nearby locality, suddenly frowns, says something inaudible, and walks away.
I look from him to the quickly pacing woman to realize what just happened. The lady, on seing that the rickshaw driver was muslim, decided against taking his rickshaw. The kind man, who graciously drove me here for a fair price was dealt with unfairly.
Dealt by the prejudices of our society.
Dealt a lower hand.
This situation may be reveresed in other parts of the world but it doesn’t change that fact that knowingly or unknowingly, we all fall prey to these prejudices. Sometimes because the people we are surrounded by don’t bother to withhold judgement.
All I know is that it takes only one prejudice to plant terror.
And only one blinded extremist to start a war.
What I’m thinking: Fair dealings in relationships between individuals is as important as fair dealings in business. Only through fairness can we overcome the trappings of our egos and prejudices.