I was livid, almost near an outburst but I restrained myself. We were at a panel discussion and represented our school. Every time we raised our hands, the mic was passed to someone else. As the event was nearing its end, we got a chance and I stood up only to see some of the people leaving and others just uninterested. I was shocked but that didn’t bog me down. “India’s development lacks fruition because of its direct jump from agriculture to service/tertiary sector creating a huge gap of manufacturing sector which is the most crucial aspect of any country’s development. Our minds have been trained and in fact have been subject to constant propagation that job security and regular salary is the mantra of a smooth life. And if we go deep into this gap crisis, you will realize that at the very core, we lack the quality of education and the facilities that can enhance learning. What we need to start at a very basic level, is integration of education at country level and introducing more practical elements. We can also start conducting business and industry seminars for students where they would be inspired to start their own thing.” Everyone was stunned. No one expected a municipality (lower level of government) school participant to be such a fluent English speaker let alone the on-point content of the speech that had been brilliantly delivered.
Still, I could sense the hesitation. Judges, students, teachers, organizers had all their minds made up. Municipality school, no talent-pure garbage. From the time, we had entered the discussion, we were judged. We had been judged for the school we represented, we had been judged for the clothes we wore and also for the bags we carried. It was the time of results now. I was confident that we would at least be one of the top three if not the first. But the expectations were crushed within minutes. All the international school names were announced as the top three which followed a thunderous applause. As we were about to leave we heard “Our judges found this team to be excellent at few areas and have thus decided to announce a consolation prize. I would like to invite the students of Maratha Vidyamandir to come up and collect their prizes” There were faint claps but nonetheless we were happy that we at least got some recognition.
I have, from the beginning of the time when maturity had hit me, been staunchly against this entire human process called judging. I wanted to get this concept right and so I had asked numerous people as to what judging meant to them.
Few told me that judging for them was forming an opinion about someone, few others told me that it was about creating an image of a person in mind and the remaining people just followed the perception what other people had. The common thing that I observed in all of the responses was that the opinion/image which was being created, was formed BEFORE they had interacted with the person or even had met him/her.
I discussed judging at a stretch with many people. They were of the opinion that one simply can’t stop judging because it is a human nature and that forming opinions and passing comments was a regular thing. When I told them that I respected but didn’t completely agree with their opinion, some of them frowned while others just thought that I had no basis. But I do. Because my elder brother and I were a living proof that it was completely human and quite possible to not judge anyone.
Recently, a few friends and I were on a trip to a hill station. It was chilly outside, so one of my friend decided to smoke. She was new to the group and was oblivious to certain likes and dislikes of the people. Personally, I don’t like smoking but I didn’t interrupt or think anything else, if my friend wanted to smoke. If she felt better and if it’s her choice then who am I to stop anyway. As soon as she was about to smoke, few of the other friends had entered the room. They starred for a while, some of them shifted uncomfortably and finally after giving a fake smile, they left. I could see the expression on my friend’s face. And I also knew, how they had judged her. Throughout entire trip I could see the behavioral change for her, especially in the girls in our group. They were gossiping and throwing indirect jibes at her. I tried my level best to stop it. They didn’t know that the girl they were judging just because she smokes, was also a school topper, was also someone who had sacrificed the recent college trip only to go to an African country for providing medical assistance to their people and she was also the only earning person in her family. But who cared, who would have wanted to know anything beyond a puff of smoke? All they want is to form rapid opinions and pass judgement as much as they can.
Fear. People also fear judgement. They fear that if they do anything which is different from the general norm, they will be ostracized out of the group, society or community and be judged for their entire lifetime. Seldom do they realize that it is this different thing we do which can lead to new ideas, new way of doing things, new thinking or maybe, a new society! Even the things you consider silly today, may have value in the future, you never really know. And even if you are being judged for your choices, that wouldn’t really matter once you are successful. It never really matters.
Forming an opinion after you completely know a person may not be that bad, because then it is, I guess, equivalent to making an informed decision.
Randomly judging someone just on the basis of their choices of movies, their way of dressing, their lifestyle, their economic status would lead you to a distorted opinion or image of that person. Trust me, I have had so many people regret their judgement about others.
All I want to say is, stop judging people even before you interact or know their background.
People have potentials and capabilities beyond your imaginations. It is just a how you perceive. It is whether you want to have an open mind, let people be as they are, be happy, express themselves to you or just create a box of judgement and regret later. The choice is very well yours!