While coming back from school sometimes, I used to look at other people on the road and sometimes observing one person closely, I'd find myself thinking 'She has a world of her own, her own thoughts, her own family, her own problems and her life has no connection with mine! I'm someone who's just staring at her and she doesn't even know ... The second we pass, we're out of each other's lives, I'm a non-entity to her and yet I'm all that matters to me!' It used to thrill me while making me feel extremely negligible and insignificant. In spite of this seemingly trivial existence our prejudices can have chilling consequences.
Some of my favourite parts from the movie:
Anthony: Look around! You couldn't find a whiter, safer or better lit part of this city. But this white woman sees two black guys, who look like UCLA students, strolling down the sidewalk and her reaction is blind fear. I mean, look at us! Are we dressed like gangbangers? Do we look threatening? No. Fact, if anybody should be scared, it's us: the only two black faces surrounded by a sea of over-caffeinated white people, patrolled by the triggerhappy LAPD. So, why aren't we scared?
Peter: Because we have guns?
Anthony: You could be right.
... and then you know what they do. I think at that point of time, I actually raised my hands in disbelief!
And of course, these priceless lines, by the same duo:
Anthony: You see any white people in there waiting an hour and thirty two minutes for a plate of spaghetti? Huh? And how many cups of coffee did we get?
Peter: You don't drink coffee and I didn't want any.
Anthony: That woman poured cup after cup to every white person around us. Did she even ask you if you wanted any?
Peter: We didn't get any coffee that you didn't want and I didn't order, and this is
evidence of racial discrimination? Did you happen to notice our waitress was black?
Anthony: That waitress sized us up in two seconds. We're black and black people don't tip. So she wasn't gonna waste her time. Now somebody like that? Nothing you can do to change their mind.
Peter: So, uh... how much did you leave?
Anthony: You expect me to pay for that kind of service?
Just couldn't help laughing.
Sometimes, its like we just love filling our heads with our very own kind of trash. Once in 7th class, when I was new to the city, a friend invited me to her and her sister's birthday party (they were twins) and my grandfather refused to let me go without someone to drop me. Freshly brewed teenage rebellion took over and I ranted to another friend 'Yeah! How unfair! They just don't want me to have fun, what do they care about my feelings?!' and this friend, S, rather wisely said 'I wouldn't go alone in an auto, I don't know the place either. What if you get lost?' And somehow that put things in a different light and I backed down. Sometimes, certain viewpoints are so much more easier to adopt even if they aren't right, especially so, when you don't want to take too much effort to understand the situation or be objective.
Like once I was telling Happy Singh that people tend to ignore me because of my headwrap (hehe, new blogword i picked up) and she said, 'Maybe its not because of your headwrap, maybe its because you're small' (or something of that sort that I suppose generally makes me ignorable. Remember that funny article about the man who complains that waiters always see through him except when they want to bring the bill?) While I know for certain that some people do tend to behave like I don't exist,I also know I am occasionally susceptible to paranoia and that it's upto me to wave my hands and shout 'Lookey here!' to make my presence felt.
Also realized, with our own prejudices, we also have our own ideas of right and wrong. The other day, I was sitting in the canteen with a couple of friends. Someone called out 'noodles!' and a friend, who had ordered fried rice actually, found that nobody was there to take the noodles, called for them and gobbled them up. When his fried rice came, he gobbled that up too. I suggested that he pay for the noodles but he changed the subject.
I was a little indignant then, it was not like he couldn't afford to pay for them. When I told another friend this, he said 'You can correct someone once or twice. If people keep making calculation mistakes or aren't careful while catering to orders then they deserve to learn a lesson'. Who are we, I thought, to decide whether people deserve to learn lessons or not?
THen the same friend continued about how at a certain joint, there are always mistakes in calculating the VAT and then found myself thinking 'That's okay, na?' And then realized wit h a jolt that not paying the right amount of tax would be wrong too. Quite a revelation.
Blister is doing her housejob at a very busy government hospital. Since it's a government hospital, there are a number of people from the not-so-well off parts of society. Many of the patients are the goonda types who come in with wounds inflicted due to fighting among themselves.
Blister had her night duty there the other day and she found two men sitting in the ladies ward and just staring, in the most deliberate way, at the female patients. They were also trying to forcibly converse with the women. Blister shooed them away (quite a dangerous thing to do in retrospect) and they wandered off to trouble women elsewhere. When she later told her classmates about this, they said 'What? You didn't know? This is nothing. Class IV employees are often found doing things like this. They even attempt rape on the patients. It happens every day, don't you read the paper?'
And to think these patients are poor, helpless people who cannot afford to go elsewhere. There are people in charge of security but it is largely inadequate. So, the patients can either bear with the assault or take their illness home.
How very sad and terrifying.
Phir bhi, like the snowfall at the end of Crash, there are those little things that gladden your heart - rainwashed trees, roads, puddles, staring at a black sky upside down ... the clouds little islands in a vast sea, stars shining through little gaps, a plane whizzing by - a lighted ship on that dark ocean ... and your heart feels at peace - a feeling that is ephemeral yet precious.