Jul 11, 2016


Landed in Mumbai on a cloudy morning. Got promptly ripped off by a cabbie in what seemed like a clever scam. Was too tired and too pre-occupied and let's face it, a bit scared to get into a confrontation.

I am not particularly familiar with Mumbai and my ideas about the city are formed by second hand stories and news items and popular media. I idly watching the passing scenes and pondered about biases. That line of thought was prompted first by the face of an auto-rickshaw driver and then another vendor. They both had a prominent tilak, a red streak from between the center of the brows going upward in an angry slash. The slightly longer unbound hair and the tilak created a stereotypical portrait for me, with a slightly negative connotation too. If the cabbie who had just then duped me had had such a mark, I wondered if it would have subconsciously reinforced a negative bias.

If I had landed in my home town that morning instead and had encountered another rickshaw driver, slightly darker, with a forehead covered with horizontal white streaks of holy ash, it would have incited a completely different stereotype in my head, with a neutral to slightly positive connotation.

Thankfully the rational part of me is functioning strong enough to assert itself, to urge introspection.

Unfortunately neither evolution, nor conventional teaching methods have caught up to this modern world. And we are everyday seeing the results of unrestricted, rampant biases.

July 11, 2016