Are You Being Too Judgmental_

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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

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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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*This is not a sponsored post.

**Copyright in pictures and content belongs to nooranandchawla.com and cannot be republished or repurposed without express permission of the author. As I am a copyright lawyer by profession, infringement of any kind will invite strict legal action. 

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66 Comments

  1. We have posts on similar concepts today. People judge like it is their birth right. The negativity in people especially on social media surprises me. We need to throw these things out of our system. 🙂

    1. People do think that judging is their birth right. But, I believe blacks have been downgraded and stomped upon a lot and we dont know the right usage so ho jatha hai. But, if we put ourselves in their shoes maybe we can understand their reactions.

      On a different note, people do judge and react to men and women differently. Sum of all our inculcated biases

      1. No Namratha I did put myself in their situation and that’s why I apologised to them for using that term. But they didn’t put themselves in my situation when they called me a bad reviewer because I didn’t agree with their point of view. Whatever you or they may feel, I and everyone else is entitled to their own point of view. They disagreed with my point of view of a film and hence called me a bad reviewer! Which makes absolutely no sense at all, and only shows their narrow mindedness. So their judgment of me was not justified in my opinion.

  2. Yes I agree Noor that people behave ( including us) so judgmentally and sometimes pass harsh comments that could hurts our sentiments..sadly everything is not our hand. I like your idea of writing down this on piece of paper, analyzed it and trash it. will surly look into comedy series you had mentioned on you tube. sounds entertaining to me.

  3. Well talking about being judgemental, this attribute plagues the entire human race I would say. Willingly or unwillingly we all are guilty of the same. The good part is that a huge setion of people now realise the folly of it all and like you said look at the positives that ensue.

  4. Certainly this practice of writing on paper and trashing away works well to shoo away the negativity. I have been doing it for years now. We can’t control how people treat us but we can definitely control how we react over it. Just for the sake of our own solace!!

  5. Seems like a few of us have similar posts today. True that there’s no escaping judgements, its affect depends on how we choose to respond to it. Completely agree. 🙂

  6. Good episodes. The cleaner in your gated security wasn’t expressing her frustration, I think. People like to show off their superiority one way or another. The poor woman was trying to tell you that she was much greater than you. I wonder why the Africans should take offence at the word ‘black’. Aren’t they proud of their complexion? Okay, they needn’t be if they don’t like. So what? Let dark humour be black humour or brown or grey or whatever.

  7. I agree with you dear! Sometimes don’t understand the scenario and the intention just started judging you. Kuch to log kahege, logo ka kaam hai kahna. If you are doing right don’t bother about the negativity which some negative people are spreading.

  8. Noor, first of all thanks for recommending my blog in your post for the letter J. In my own humble opinion I am better at prose than poetry. This is mainly because I am not very well versed with the technical aspects of poetry and most of the poetry I write comes offhand from my head. I don’t take too much trouble to make it technically perfect. I am simply thrilled that you have recommended my blog for the letter J. And as regards my blog being well known in the blogosphere I do have a reasonably good readership but for a blog which I started three years back (I changed the domain name once) I wonder if it could not be better. And I am happy you liked my A to Z of sportsmen and women which was the series I wrote for last year’s A to Z challenge. In fact I published a book on sportsmen and women too. Coming to people being judgmental, I have come across numerous occasions when a chance remark or a slip of the tongue produces a backlash that is severe. But that does not mean that we need to backpedal from our position. I am happy you did not remove your review and stuck to your guns.

  9. Judging others comes so easily to us and more so in these trying times. Putting someone else down makes us feel temporarily better about ourselves. Sad but true.
    Just for laugh. Gags!… Gosh! How much we used to watch this series, years ago! My son loved it so we watched it along with him 😀
    Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach is an inspiring read!

  10. Oh unfiltered judging is the national pass time of India, and that’s not even funny. I have grown up with ppl (adults) commenting on my skin color as if it was their moral duty to inform me that I am dark. Its incredible how ppl pas on their judgements about someone’s looks, nature, lifestyle, future withiut even realising for once that it’s wrong. Anyway, congratulations on your growing international audience 🙂

    1. Tell me about it Sinjana… After giving birth I got stretch marks, and even my spinal doctor seemed shocked and thought to ask me how this terrible thing happened to me 😂😂😂
      Thanks for congratulating me… makes me happy;)

  11. I’m so sorry about the way people behaved because of your review. I wish people knew how to be kind in the online world. In fact, I also realized that mothers are the easiest targets for judgmental people. It’s like whatever you do, they will think you aren’t doing enough.

  12. Noor I really liked this post. When I stay at my sister’s place in Kolkata, I stay in this type of gated colony. I felt the flavor well. And about the rest, you know well I am also used to such talks. Yeh society kab sudhregi pata nahi. Anyway, enjoyed your post dear. And it left me in thoughts.

  13. People are very judgemental and it is certainly very irritating at times ! I like your tip of writing on piece of paper how one is feeling!
    Thanks for thevl show and the book recommendation. I like James Patterson”s books and my son loves Julia Donaldson’s books!

  14. I am glad you know how to channelise your angst appropriately through the medium of your blog. People will judge as if it’s their job and even retaliate but don’t fret over them. Move on darling all of us face it at some point of time

  15. Just for laughs gags is fun time watch. Being Judgmental is something people take it for granted, just ignore as you said just write and trash it. Best solution to deal with it.

  16. Hi Noor:
    I’ve experienced very similar “interactions” for a long time. There is that sense that they are “teaching” you the right way to do something. Happened a lot when I came out of college with a BA and began working in the food industry. There were many judgments from patrons about my intelligence, etc, because of my position. I even had a District Manager call me “college boy” constantly when he thought it was a put down. Ah, people. Judgments suck, especially the ones that come from within us.

    J is the Day, so:

    TV: What is Jeopardy, Alex? This game show has been on the air for a long, long time. My father had to have it on, no matter the time slot. He should have tried out. Dad got many more right answers then not.

    Movie: Jason and the Argonauts. 1963. Mythology enhanced by the wizardry of Ray Harryhausen”s stop motion work. The scene with the skeleton warriors is worth watching on it’s own. Remember: 1963. No CGI. Amazing. And the cast isn’t bad. It was adapted from some hack’s story. 😉 Apollonius of Rhodes.

    Book: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Sussana Clarke. Amazing world building and characters that magically leap off the page. It’s a short read of over 800 pages. Worth every turn.

    Blog would be Jenny Writes at https://www.jensunwriter.com/
    Her AtoZ’s theme are things that bring her joy. Nice way to go about the challenge.

  17. Appreciate your strongness and honesty Noor to discuss about the incidents happened with you, and the way you handled those shows your sincerity, yesterday more or less same thing happened on my insta post when i posted about Mr.Jehangir Khan and I got only one comment by the follower and that was “deshdrohi”, wanted to tell him that the post is about Dr.Jehangir not shahrukh, also thought of removing the comment but left it there as it is, thinking of that everyone is free to express but atleast one should learn the way of expression. anyways these incidents help us to learn the things in a better way. and yes I will check the blogposts of Sitharam Jaikumar for sure.

    1. That makes me sad Archana.. not only that this person would call a fictional character deshdrohi, but also that he would refer to a well-known actor as deshdrohi just because of his religion. People are really horrible sometimes. This is taking freedom of expression too far in my opinion.
      But thanks for sharing this incident with me 😊

  18. Compassion not judgement is what we must learn anyway.
    You are such a sport Noor to have written about your misadventure on Instagram. Takes a lot of courage to do that and do it so gracefully.
    More power to you!

  19. I like the way you explain the incidents…no matter how well you do someone will try to pull you down… And yes nowadays people find it their moral duty to judge coz they have all the time in the world.

  20. 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. This is great advice. Some people are just so rude and inconsiderate. Being in India, racism is not exactly something we are used. I’m sorry that you had to go through that. Glad that you were able to work out that issue. In today’s world, even the slightest mistake can be blown out of proportion.

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