Thursday, August 02, 2012

We, the People ...

OK, this is one of those extempore posts, and yes, it comes after a long time. I felt if I did not do it soon enough, I'd probably never do it.

It was a busy Thursday morning like any other. Many tasks, TBD's running down my mind. I was dropping off my daughter at her school. And as it often happens, I was Multitasking. After dropping her off in her room, I saw a teacher from that school, Ms. Gina. She was parking her motorbike! Now, I had seen Ms. Gina several times. She had always been grumpy, or so I thought. Sometimes, I even thanked myself that she teaches kids in another room (not my daughter's).

Out of curiosity, I approached her and said, "Wow, Ms. Gina, I didn't know you ride a motorbike!" Not that everything unusual is great, but I was seriously intrigued. "Well, I have been riding for years now", she said. "Amazing", I said, maybe because usually you are attracted toward something that you have always wanted to do but could never do. "My entire family rides. My brothers (when they were single) were professional riders. I am not a professional, but this is the only vehicle I ride", said Ms. Gina.

I couldn't hide my bewilderment and I wished her a great day ahead and went off.

This is perhaps on the lines of Atul Gawande's five rules for Harvard graduates. Paraphrasing him,
My Rule #1 for you comes from a favorite essay by the writer Paul Auster: Ask an unscripted question. Ours is a job of talking to strangers. Why not learn something about them?
 Many a time, we are under the effects of our preconceived notions. Even if you are not pursuing a career in medicine, a large part of our lives is being actually social. Just a curious observation or question sparked by our genuine interest in things other human beings do can make our life more enjoyable, isn't it? 

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