Tuesday, 28 April 2015


Image courtesy: Google

At the sound of the bell mom ran to the door, excited to receive my friend Kiran. We went to the same college in Bangalore and shared a room in the hostel. My mother was very fond of him and made sure she made his favourite snacks whenever he came home.

But things hadn't been so rosy three years back, when I had just joined college. While waiting for the bus from Palakkad to Bangalore, my mother showered lavish doses of advice that sounded like threats to me.“Befriend people from our own community. Beware of students who drink, smoke and eat meat. Dear Lord, I hope the ‘modern’ kids there don’t spoil my son.” she had said. According to my mother, people of other faiths couldn't be trusted. I had tried to erase the xenophobia that plagued my family but in vain. They were extremely orthodox and their blind faith made them intolerant to people whose lifestyle and faith differed even slightly from ours.

Precisely because of this, my friendship with Kiran hadn't gone down well with them. They pleaded with me to seek better friends who were ‘just like us’. What if he tuned out to be a naxalite? A terrorist? Our friendship received flak till the day I was down with chickenpox with no one to lend a hand but Kiran. While everyone shied away from helping me, fearing for their own safety, he had called the doctor, obtained the medicines and had nurtured me to recovery. My parents were touched beyond measure by this act of compassion and realized the folly of their baseless phobia.

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  1. A heart warming narration. We shouldn't have prejudice or fears which at times can be normal for parents. Glad Kiran melted the heart of your parents.

  2. Sometimes it takes a bit of a shock to rattle out irrational fears.

  3. I guess the older generation were brought up this way and they find it difficult to change their ways. I remember when I was small, my aunt never used to allow people who are non-Brahmins to enter inside our house and I was embarrassed to bring my friends home.

  4. I wish more people realized what Kiran's friend's parents did!! Older generations are hugely xenophobic, it's up to us to raise the next generation differently!

  5. Xenophobia is an awesome word for the challenge, though a horrible character flaw to have. As always, great story.

  6. It's often strangers who later on becomes closer than family :) All it requires is a good judgement. I love your tale around the baseless phobia, Vidya :)

  7. Wonderful story, Vidya. Fear often plays the spoil sport. Prejudices are harmful and baseless.

  8. It's best to give a person a chance until they give reason not to and even then there are sometimes second chances.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Road trippin' with A to Z
    Tossing It Out