The Need To Question What We Learnt As Kids

As children we accept what our elders say. As adults, we must  educate ourselves without blindly accepting all that we've been taught. 

As children, we accept what our elders say.  As adults, we must  educate ourselves without blindly accepting all that we’ve been taught. 

One pleasant evening, my best friend, her daughter and I were marching down the busy streets of Pondy Bazaar, the prefect place for a shopping spree in  Chennai. My best friend’s daughter, Mira a bubbly ten-year-old, walked in front of us, gazing at the shops. Suddenly her mom,  Vidhya, stopped and told me that we needed to enter the Bata showroom. From her tone, I felt that it was not the need to buy slippers but to just move away from where we currently were. I stopped her and asked,

“Tell me, what happened? You look panicked.”

She pointed her fingers in the direction of the crowd ahead of us, specifically at two people who were walking in our direction.

“So what?” I still couldn’t solve this puzzle though I did see fear in her eyes.

“Let them pass by, then we shall come out of the shop” she murmured. I stood frozen as I did not expect my well-educated best friend to behave this way. Mira was watching us closely. I couldn’t let this happen – such fear shouldn’t be passed onto generations.

Questioning our biases

“Vidhya, do you realise they are also humans, just like us? Then why are you so scared seeing them?”

“I don’t know”, she simply replied.

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They were nearing us. I bent down to Mira and said, “Can you see the two of them?”

“Yes, Aunty! But, why do they look different?”

I was expecting this question from her and could see worry in her eyes.

“Yes Mira because they have received abundance of blessings from God. So they are passing it to the people who come their way. Here, give this to them.” I gave Mira a few hundred notes.

“No one has ever talked about us like this. Bless you.”, they said, placing their palms on my head. Turning to Mira they said, “Bless you little angel”, and happily took the notes from her.

Mira was smiling but my friend stood shocked, for the two people I write of belonged to the Hijra community.

It is a common sight to see these people around us in our day-to-day life. Still, some of us are scared to even look at them. The technology in today’s world keeps progressing but we are still backward in these areas of life? A simple smile to them can make the necessary bridge that now seems impossible. When they are no different, why should we treat them differently?

We need to keep educating ourselves

We grow up emulating our parents’ activities. It is important that what is being passed on to future generations deals with sensitive information. We teach them to help the needy so that the seed of generousness blooms inside them. Similarly, it is important to educate them about people belonging to the third gender, especially highlighting how they are now achieving in various fields.

During a conversation about a recent movie, my friend told me that third gender people are born without genitals. Hiding my stunned expression, I asked her how she come to know about this little ‘fact’.

“My grandma told me when I was fifteen years old.”, she replied.

“My cousin, when he was seven, asked my grandma how babies are identified at birth. She said if we want a girl baby then we make the baby wear a frock. If we need a boy baby we put on a shirt. I was ten then and trusted the answer. If I say this now would you believe me?” I asked.

She laughed at me but  I went on, “I am not joking. Why do you still believe in something that you heard in your childhood?”

She remained silent.

When we are young, our elders answer our questions in such a way that we are convinced of their answer without revealing the complete truth to us. Thanks to the role of the internet and social media in today’s world in raising awareness through stories, blogs and articles, awareness about issues our parents kept from us are being discussed. Of course, it is important to create awareness amongst our known circles, at the same time there are situations where self-education may also be needed. Let us listen and pay heed to the inner voice which is curious the truth behind life’s myths,  and never ignore them.

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