Outsmarted By A Single Story

Sitting on your couch at your home and watching TV or reading a newspaper only shows you one side of a story.  Such a single story may give rigidity to your thoughts which may soon turn into a stereotype. Over time, I had developed a few stereotypes about the rural areas of our country and the people living there. It is said that you cannot truly understand something without completely immersing in it and empathizing with those involved. So with some limited amount of money and no means of communication, and to validate my stereotypes I visited a nearby village called Badi Gaon and asked some questions to the local villagers about their life and their perspective on different things.

When I was in the bus with one of my friend, we were talking about our previous learning as to why we are proud of India. We were unaware that the bus conductor sitting on front seat was listening to our conversation. On reaching the village he asked for money; as we were on very limited resources, we told him that the amount of money he was asking is too much for us to pay. He replied that ‘you both are talking in English about why you are proud of India and you’re saying that you have no money’. This was very surprising for me as one of my stereotype was that villagers don’t understand English that got shattered and my belief about villagers that they judge the status of people by their looks and language got strengthened.

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