Happy Good Friday everyone! I’m going to invoke the spirit of this holiday by channeling forgiveness, gratitude and general positivity.
In India, an unfortunate product of our social conditioning, is that people openly judge others. There is often no filter between our thoughts and words, and we particularly enjoy giving unsolicited advice to others. I’m including myself in this broad sweep, because we are all guilty of being judgmental. This problem isn’t limited to Indians- in fact it’s everywhere- but Indians tend to be more explicitly unfiltered!
Times of strife, such as we are experiencing now, are ideal opportunities for personal character assessment. You can introspect and decide whether you want to grow as a person by invoking positivity and gratitude, or you want to stay mired in negativity by pulling others down.
Ironically, since everyone has time on their hands, I find people are quicker to judge than ever before. It’s as if they’re unleashing their frustrations caused by the lockdown, on unsuspecting individuals. Perhaps this gives them an ego boost and a sense of superiority!
I’m narrating a couple of incidents from recent weeks, where judgmental John’s and Jane’s have tried to pull me down:
- INCIDENT NO.1:
I live in a gated colony, which has been closed to the outside world since lockdown was imposed. There are no known cases of Covid in our colony, and so, the residents are allowed to walk on the roads, with strict instructions to maintain adequate gaps between each other.
NDMC workers arrive every morning to clean the area. One morning, when I was out for a jog, a woman from the cleaning service, yelled to me from across the road, “Madam, aapko police uthake lock-up mein daal degi!” (Madam, the police will pick you up and throw you behind bars!”). Before I could respond to her, she was chastised by her own co-worker, who told her to that residents were allowed to walk inside the colony.
She sheepishly replied “oh!’ and returned to her work.
Just a moment before she had yelled at me, a man (a fellow resident of the colony) had gone past, but she hadn’t felt the need to warn him of the police!
Basically, I was an easy target for her to dangle her supposed superior knowledge in my face. In case you think I’m making a mountain of a molehill- it was her expression that irked me. She could’ve chosen to say the same thing in a reasonable manner, like, “Madam, you’re not allowed to walk on the roads.” The fact that she made an almost crude threat, without being aware of the facts, shows me she was probably taking some unrelated frustration out on me.
- INCIDENT NO. 2
I reviewed an American film on my IGTV (Instagram video) called “Coffee and Kareem”, which I rated as worth a watch and funny. Unfortunately, I bracketed it as “black humour”, which is a derogatory term that should not have been used. Since my regular audience on Instagram is mostly Indian, I didn’t think much of it. I hugely regretted it when I got a deluge of hurtful and negative comments from members of the African-American community, calling me out on the use of the term, and also personally attacking me for being a bad reviewer.
Faced with this unprecedented situation, I apologised for the use of the term to each person, and then deleted their hurtful and negative comments. I also contemplated removing the review in general.
These people had a point which I’m not disputing, however, I was blown away with the extent of their negativity towards me. I wasn’t trying to be racist and neither was my review. So, perhaps it was a product of boredom from the lockdown or anger/frustration at some other issue that they decided to take out on me.
Here’s what I’ve learnt through these incidents- you can’t stop people from judging you or bringing you down, but you can decide how to react to it. I walked away from the NDMC worker and enjoyed my jog, reassured that I was doing nothing wrong by being outdoors. I kept the review on Instagram, because I realised despite the negative comments, my audience is growing and there is an increase in my views!
Hence, perhaps being judged is just another way to analyse a situation and learn from it?
Keeping this in mind, here’s my tip to beat the lockdown blues today:
Think of an incident that upset you in a similar manner– where you were judged for no apparent fault of your own. Write it down, introspect on what you’ve learnt from it, and then trash that paper. Throw it out of your system- good riddance to bad rubbish!
When I’m a bit down and out, I look to books and TV to pull me up. So, here’s my TV show recommendation for today:
“Just For Laughs: Gags” is the ultimate prank show with hours of hilarious entertainment. Watch episodes on Youtube– it’s an ongoing series with its own page.
I couldn’t find a book that I’ve read and loved from the letter J, so I’m recommending an author instead:
Julian Barnes is an English author of much renown. My favourite book written by him is the Booker Prize winning “The Sense of an Ending”. It’s an absolute pleasure to read his beautiful and evocative writing.
As for a blog recommendation:
www.jaisjottings.com written by Sitharam Jayakumar is quite well-known in the Indian blogosphere. He’s currently writing poetry on the subject of animals through this A to Z Challenge, but I particularly admired his in-depth posts on sportsmen during last year’s challenge.
That’s all for today folks, and I hope you enjoy the weekend!
Do check out my daily update videos on Instagram Stories for #LockdownWithTheLadyLawyer and follow me there to stay better connected. Also tell me your favourite TV Shows/ movies/ books/ bloggers with the letter J?
Joigin till Monday!
This post has been written for the #AtoZChallenge 2020. My theme this year is #LockdownWithTheLadyLawyer, where I’m journaling my thoughts during the coronavirus lockdown, and sharing numerous recommendations that will help keep your spirits up.
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