iSCRIBBLE

NIDIA 16 – Avoiding Annoyance

When: A week ago

Where: Where I live


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Rarely have I experienced discrimination or racism in the States. That makes me one of the few people residing anywhere in the world then doesn’t it? 🙂 Please note that I used the word rarely. When you don’t know what you deserve, you live among bad situations with the assumption that you deserve them (Human nature?). That was pretty much my life when I studied in DDCOP (Don’t you think it is cool that they have a website now? A bad one though! Not a lot has changed in that place since I left that school. The only cool part is they are looking up to technology to project themselves as a genuine institution in the field. ) When I strike out lines that I write, I don’t want you to read them. They are like private thoughts I am scared of expressing freely ( Because you cannot raise awareness about poor educational standards in India. That is the unspoken social norm). But if you still went ahead and read them, you have no manners ( *just kidding*). Today when I look back at those traumatic days spent in social isolation and humiliation that I was subjected to because of one woman’s crazy mind (* at least hundred students who graduated from that college will agree to that statement*),

I can’t be thankful enough for what I was put through because of unethical administrative practices in educational leadership. 

*Avoiding Annoyance Lesson 1

A few weeks ago, I was getting my groceries billed at a place I frequent. I forgot to swipe my card and was busy loading the cart (Okay, I am that annoying customer who does it. Sorry for that). The person standing behind me said everything worse he could say to a brown skinned lady from a South Asian country. 🙂 Well when I describe it like that you don’t want to ask me what all he said in detail. I am not angel about using bad language. But my foul language usage begins and ends in comedy situations with people that are extremely close to me. That’s it. The typical person that is me first froze, but then felt deep anger. When you have had worse things said to you in your face, in your own country, by a woman who is supposed to be your principal, you learn to count numbers when you have anger rushing into your blood in a situation like that. I arrived at the point of counting numbers after several years of being a hot headed stupid girl who fought for fairness always. Then there comes a time when you realize that fighting is not always important.

Learning to ignore the worthless is a great tool to possess in today’s times.

When this person was calling me names, all I was focusing on was getting out of there before my seven year old niece heard those ugly words. For her, I sound different when I speak English. Myself and her mother dress different from her friends’ mothers and sisters (read Americans here). She is always observing and asking questions about where I come from and where I intend to take myself. If I had lost it at that moment and gotten into an argument with this disrespectful man, I am sure it would have had whatever conclusion any one of our egos wanted. But that would have tainted the memory of a seven year old American citizen about the way America treats non-resident aliens ( this term again has another story). For her the world begins and ends in every unique situation she encounters. She and her peers are learning so quickly and questioning so strongly every second they are growing in this country. I went home and was all red faced when I was blurting out what happened to my sister with an angry face. Do you think she never has experienced anything like that before? She has lived here for 13 years. She must have experienced situations worse than mine. But I don’t know of any time she got into a fist fight/argument with anyone in similar situations. So I guess I learnt it from her. Avoiding Annoyance Lesson # 1

*Avoiding the Annoyance Lesson 2

          When you are trying to educate yourself, criticism is an integral part of the process. I have always considered myself as someone who doesn’t know enough about anything in this field. So I am always shamelessly asking questions and participating in discussions. When I am mindful of being respectful and compassionate towards others, I expect to receive it back from others around me. Luckily I am surrounded by a ton of people who teach me everyday to be a confident person that I should be. I am surprised at how many students I met in this country  have inspired me with their dedicated work and compassion. Then along come a few who don’t know enough about dealing with people from foreign cultures. I do not know what runs in their brains. But their interactions are always causing pain and make you feel like you are not good enough to be among them. They cross all lines of communication where they say things to you that they wouldn’t dare say to a fellow citizen of their country. Initially these small unpleasant interactions hurt me and made me think if I shouldn’t be here. But when I weigh these experiences with everything that the other Americans are doing for me to prepare me for the field, I calm down my feelings of anger and annoyance. A casual conversation with another woman coming from a diverse background like mine was quite enlightening. She told me,

“Sri, every time this person(s) talk to you like that, ask yourself, what can I learn from this person? Every thing will become simple at that very moment”

Trust me I put it into practice and you will be amazed at how many unpleasant situations I have avoided in the last several days. You might ask me who is going to correct these people who hurt others with their communication that is loaded with ignorance. There will be one person from their own kind who will say it to them in their face. They will not like it. But they will swallow it and learn from it. I might sound like an uneducated, ignorant fool to say it but that is the truth of this world. Humans are comfortable learning about life from one of their own (however you might want to define the own word) in contrast to learning from some one not their own. I might be flawed in my way of understanding the whole phenomenon, but as of today the 17th day of February in the year 2015, this is my understanding. If I improve my analysis on this, I will update it here for sure 🙂

For a lot of people I sound like a snob every time I mention my under graduate school. I am a strong believer in the  desperate need for higher educational standards in India. I will not stop writing about that school until things improve over there. Not until, faculty and staff in that place realize the importance of putting student interests before their their own interests.

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9 thoughts on “NIDIA 16 – Avoiding Annoyance

  1. Interesting. I am sorry you had to go through what you did. Especially #1.
    To be honest, I have also seen that happen between other races. Ive seen rolling eyes and extreme rude behavior of white women to south american women (who are actually nicely dressed) white men with mexican/spanish men and women, and black women with white women and I can keep listing, but you get the point.

    I am not saying what you went through is okay in the grand scheme of things. It isn’t. BUT when you put things in perspective, and realize that the people of the world will always, always continue to find affinity towards their own right down to the basic level, and that class and social norms sometimes overtake etiquette, one doesn’t feel too bad.
    Frankly, you were being nice. Your niece was am sure seeing and hearing sub-consciously what was going on. I wish you put your foot down and told that person off. Calmly but assertively that you will not tolerate the abuse. Your niece would also have learnt a valuable lesson in not letting anyone hold themselves better than you.

    Of course avoidance helps, but it’s entirely situational. A grocery store? I would have created Hell, and I have. No one, even the Prez of US will hurl curses at me and get away with it. (hug)

    The world is a nice place, really 🙂

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  2. Rajendra Kumar N says:

    Wow Sri… You have really bowled me over with this article. Yes I do agree with your views fully. Yes controlling anger and avoiding unpleasant experiences … All cannot do it. If u r able to .. May be I have to agree that u have reached a higher level. Good article… Made me think a lot early in the morning. Thanks.

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  3. Kudos to this article, Sri! I couldn’t agree more when you said “Humans are comfortable learning about life from one of their own ,” of course with my own definition of ‘own.’ 🙂 It really disheartens me about what you’ve been through and what my fellow countrymen face in their day to day life. I can only begin to understand. Having high tolerance levels and possessing a proper anger management technique are virtues that not everybody possess. “What I can learn from this person” is a good question to ask, but what if I get an answer saying “nothing, at all!”, which is the case in majority of the situations. 🙂 Let me try to put your article to practice and see if that makes any difference. Nevertheless, there’s nothing like a good read to start the day off. Cheers!

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    • Nothing at all is never an answer Sarat. When a person is behaving very bad, you LEARN to never behave like that with anyone else. There is always something to learn. It is just the way we see it.

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      • Ok fair enough. By “nothing at all” I mean “nothing new.” We have been raised in a way that we’d already been told how to behave and how not to. In other words, if some one behaves very bad with us, we’ve already (probably) been told not to behave like that by our elders.

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  4. pallu says:

    Paddu,

    Well written article! Must laud you for bringing up sensitive issues like this with no sugar coating ! While I agree with you on the fact that , you do meet different kind of people in your day to day life, with some being extremely unpleasant and unkind, its the majority of positive experiences that you have which make the negative ones seem forgettable. What I have discomfort in agreeing to is letting such people slide by all the attitude and rude behavior they throw around. Irrespective of race , age and gender , it is no use giving them the benefit of doubt because if you were in their shoes they would definitely not let you go without giving you a piece of their mind. I’ve had a similar experiences too in the past and all I have learnt from it is that being polite to undeserving people can only strengthen their idiocy. What I would have wished for you to do in the shopping mall situation was to politely ask the man to shut up and mind his own business. It would have taught your niece to never take shit people throw on you and to stand up for herself. Well you had your own reasons. But i think you should not have been so nice either.

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