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There’s an old Hindi song from an old of my favorites, you may’ve heard it before…

“Tora mann darpan kehlaaye, bhale bure saare karmon ko dekhe aur dikhaye..”
I often hear this song. Apart from being extremely melodious, I find the deeper meaning very true in life. And, nowadays, somehow, it comes to my mind quite often. I don’t know if I’m all struck in the ‘different’ set of people here in USA or is it that I’m all mistaken and hazed up in my understanding of the world. My understanding of a person’s behavior is totally unmatched with my counterparts here. And, it has happened so many times now that I can’t just ignore the contrast.
I’ll try and explain the situation with some incidences which have crossed me. Our Client manager in this particular project is a person extremely diligent and thorough with his work. This makes him sometimes too pressing for work. He pretty much edges on being finicky when it comes to working late hours in office. He wants people to stay on even when there is not that much work. I understand that is his problem. But, just the fact that he has amazing knowledge and is very good at his work, brings him to my good books. So, every action of his that I see, I see in a positive light. I try and avoid the negative shades just to allow the positive ones stay in focus.
However, the same actions of his is taken very negatively by my friends around me. They always see that everything he does is a concocted plan of his, which is meant to lead into some dreadful treachery in future against us. If he’s got dinner and he’s calling everyone for dinner then it’s not out of poilte mannerism, but because he wants us all to stay on late and work. If he’s saying that I don’t want my engineers to go hungry then basically he means that “I don’t want you to go back home and NOT work, because you’re hungry.” Basically, he thinks he’s doing a huge favour by bringing food and we would have starved to death lest he hadn’t got us food.
Isn’t that stretching it bit too far??
I mean, I agree that the whole point of getting dinner in office is to help engineers stretch their working hours. This is not new to our stream and the projects we’re part of. There is always a phase in the project where the deadlines are strict and one needs to stay on late. Now, it depends totally on you whether you accept it as a fact or you sulk and complain. I think in any case you’ve to stay back and work. Then, why not just accept it positively. Why to think so much against him that some day he probably starts stinking too bad to you!?
Apart from this, I strongly believe that if you start thinking bad or negative about someone, you can never learn anything from the person. I strongly followed it with respect to teachers. When we start calling them names, or saying that ‘he knows nothing’. Just to be a part of our cool cool friends.. We basically stop paying respect to the person and we stop taking him serious enough to think that he can teach us anything. Then, even if the person could teach you a word or two, he won’t be able to. Because your mind is already blocked with so many of your negative thoughts.
Since I have no issues with the Manager, I find all our interactions extremely useful. I like to work with him and learn a bit or two of his ways. His management skills are as good as his technical skills, which is a rare breed to find. In a very short span of time, he’s risen quite a bit in his career and I think that’s reason enough for me to sit up and listen to him. Rather than read the autobiography of someone like Steve Jobs, I would love to have it from the horse’s mouth!
But…then sometimes I wonder.. is it only me a fool that I cannot see through his tactics? Why is it that when he asks for a feedback from his team, about the general health and progress of the project, I really think he’s asking that. I go ahead and give it my best shot. I try to give my genuine feedback. I don’t think that he’s actually analysing that what are the reasons I could give to throw them out, and what all can be my new ways of harrassing them!
And believe me, this counter-thought is not my assumed imagination of the other side’s thoughts. These are the words actually voiced after that meeting.
I tried and tried to look at him in that light. In the shade that he was indeed planning it all, and stuff. And, in the end, I could only see one thing. I cannot.
I cannot because I am not that way. It’s not about the other person, actually, at all! It’s always and always about who ‘YOU’ are. If you try and fool other people, whenever anyone talks to you, you believe that he will try and fool you. If you talk honest and truly from your heart, you just take the other person’s words on the face value as well. You don’t see anything beyond them.
You don’t see any malice or second motive behind his acts.
There was a short story our Hindi teacher had told us in school. Suits most appropriate in this conversation –
“Once a man is returning from a late night Satsang. While on his way back home, he crosses another man on the street. He instantly thinks that he must also be returning from some Satsang. The Thief also thinks that the other one must also be returning from work.”
I like to continue with my goody-goody, all happy world and believe blindly in the Kabir Doha –
“Jaati na dekhiye Saadhu ki, pooch leejiye gyaan,
Mol karo talwaar ki, padi rehen do myaan”
{ That is, don’t think about the caste of the Learned, ask more about his knowledge. Just like it’s better to value the Sword more than it’s cover.}
And this is possible to execute only when I stay with my perception of the world.

2 thoughts on “Perception

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