Yesterday, I was on OWL shift in an experiment and had an American girl in the shift crew. We were casually talking, since the experiment didn’t require much attention on our part of responsibility and at ~ 3 am in the night, we are not in a state of awareness to do anything academically fruitful. After talking for about 8-10 minutes, she shifted from the other questions she was asking about Indian Culture, and said…
“I came to know that in India people don’t have sex before marriage, so then, Is the age of marraige very early ?”
I said NO, she then quickly suplimented the question by
“… what is your age?… are you married? …. I really cannot even remotely understand how does the (social) system work then! ”
I saw a sincere curiosity as she asked all these questions calmly, but in one go.
In trying to understand and answer her question, I realized, how much of a difference can ‘perspective‘ bring to the same question or issue. I put myself in her shoes, trying to imagine a state of mind, which would stem this question in me. I noticed, a part of me begging to look at the obviousness of the question raised, but I still grossly felt as if someone has asked “Why do you say hello when u meet someone” .
Despite the native desires and tendensies being the same, all across the globe, the way we grow adds a ‘tag of obviousness‘ in such a subtle way, that even if we argue and invite criticism in it, the domain in which we even ‘imagine’ may have a zero overlap with another person.
after all the jiggle in my mind, the bottom-line of my answer was “that is how it is !”
… well then, she probably thought that she offended me by her questions, and she changed the topic and started talking about what her other roommate says about her own (eastern) culture.