Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Prejudiced perception

Arun and Veena were returning in the evening after attending a birthday party to their home in Lexington. There was still some light though it was getting dark. It was winter and the road was covered with snow. Arun is a careful driver and knew the dangers of skidding out of control on the icy roads. The traffic was less.Veena cautioned him to drive slowly and apply the accelerator very gently. There were a couple of cars moving slowly ahead. Veena had always a feeling that the whites in America had a condescending attitude towards the coloured immigrants. She harboured a notion that everywhere whether in malls, airports or banks the response to fellow whites was quicker and more helpful than the cursory short answers to the immigrants. Arun did not share her view and felt there was no such difference in their attitudes. May be they had more things in common to talk about just like an Indian meeting another Indian in an Indian store. Basically they were helpful in nature to all if a need arose.Veena did not agree with him and narrated some instances from her experience.Arun laughingly responded telling her that her English accent is still very much like one from a rural town in India making her unintelligible to most here. She pulled a long face and sat quietly as the car was slowly moving on the community road.
It was then Arun saw in the rear mirror a SUV coming fast and trying to overtake his car. He moved slightly to the edge when he saw the SUV swerve towards his vehicle when it witnessed another car coming from the opposite end. Arun too to avoid a collision swerved his car ramming it into the snow bank. The car could not be taken out without help. Both Arun and Veena came out of the vehicle wondering how to get the car out. The removal of the snow on and under the bonnet appeared formidable. Even as they were surveying the scene and contemplating to ring 911, three vehicles came and halted one behind the other. One young American in his twenties came out and said ”Hi, seems you have got into a problem. Can I help you?” Three others including a lady converged around them .Meanwhile the young man brought out two towels from his car. He told the other two guys including Arun to push the ice from the top of the car with some sharp tool and that he would work underneath. He spread the towels on the ice and lying under the car worked his way to break the ice and remove them. It was freezing cold. The others all of them white worked feverishly to get the job finished fast. After almost 25 minutes, the car could be brought out free from the snow bank. As the radiator came alive purring, Arun started thanking them profusely for the timely help. They brushed it aside saying that it is a normal human trait to help people in distress and that they haven’t done anything special. They all went back to their cars after shaking hands and drove away fast.
It was Veena who spoke first as Arun was driving again.”I am sorry I made a mistake. You are right that there is no bias, as I wrongly perceived. People are all humane and good whatever the colour or race they belong to. I will hence forth be more positive and friendlier.” Arun interjected saying, “Don’t forget about your Tamilian accent when you speak to others.”


  1. A good story with a very positive message. Human goodness is to be seen everywhere; and so is human cruelty. Such is life.

    In this case, Veena and Arun were lucky that they were met by kindly people. It is true that God works through us.

    Thank you, Parthasarathi, for writing this post. I needed to read something like this today.

    :) Ayesha

  2. A great story that rubbishes stupid notions made by us. Thumbs up to it:)

  3. A very interesting story. Makes one realize that we often tend to make quick judgements bout things which may not be correct always. Its always better to form opinionsin the long run rather than that based on a few incidental experiences.

  4. Thank you Ayesha,Sana and Swetha for the nice comments. regards,KP

  5. Nice story that re-affirms the basic goodness of human nature

  6. good story with the light on human values of helping and caring. always, 3 cheers sir!

  7. Interesting story which narrates about human kindness and values..Sometimes, we tend to judge people in a wrong way, this is the message i have taken from this story..Thanks KP for sharing this wonderful one..

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  9. You r an absolute conceptualize r , Thank you for sharing this wonderful piece of art.

  10. usually the complexes in us,make us feel that the other person ignores us..
    once we learn that we are equal to others(so nicely put in Brida),i dont think w would ever feel that someone considers us lesser than them.
    guess the first step is self acceptance...
    but,ya thatha..i feel the last line about Arun telling her to mind the tamil accent was uncalled for,cos when a person is realising something for their betterment,we should encourage at that moment..
    anyway,a very sweet write up..:)