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My World!


At 70+

as I look back

over my time on earth

I try to see,

to understand,

my interactions

with those

my path crossed.


I have

worked closely

with people

from different regions,

different communities,

speaking different languages,

praying to different Gods,

praying differently.


I have

lived with them

as neighbours,

as co-students,

as colleagues...

in houses

in hostels

and late night offices.


Muslim neighbours

from early childhood

extremely respectful

of us, our differences,

our preferences.

Ensured we got served

no non-veg food.

Even by mistake.


And Christian neighbours

when we moved north.

Sikhs and Jains.

Parsees to boot.

The Hindus

were always there...

But I did not know

anyone's caste!


Linguistic identities

were more apparent

when parents

were in our midst.

I learnt a sprinkling

of many languages

but most fell

by the wayside.


Now in Bangalore

neighbours are

Hindus

Muslims,

Christians.

From Tamil Nadu,

Andhra, Kerala

and of course, Karnataka.


I have experienced

neighbourly nuisances -

their cats

ruining our garden;

our dogs

disturbing their peace;

their falling coconuts

damaging our tiled roof...


I never encountered

religious hatred

nor bigotry.

Never had to confront

nor endure

anything but

human greed,

human indifference.


What I see

around me

is very strident now.

I see much angst

against Muslims

not for what they do

but what they did

in the historic past.


It sets me thinking...

Have I just been lucky?

Or cut-off from reality?

Or are good humans

a two-way street:

you get dealt with

as you deal with others?

I wonder...


What's been your experience,

my fellow humans?


- Ganesh Eashwar

©


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