I wonder why we jump to conclusions about other people and their activities. I recall with fondness incidents after I joined as a teacher an army institute where a Colonel was its principal.
With my civilian background, everything there was a little overwhelming. On the first day at the campus, I was greeted by the Colonel who talked in an authoritative tone. He was bald, tall, well-built and had wide Chinese-like eyes which, according to my colleagues, caused a sense of fear amongst the school staff and students. While some called him Hitler, others had other nicknames.
My first encounter with the Colonel took place when one evening I was having a walk with my friend Vivekananthan. We're enjoying our walk when suddenly a voice shook us. I saw the Colonel walking briskly towards me. "Rajesh, keep your hands off your pockets while walking, will you?" he said this and walked away.
On another occasion, I was walking to my class when I noticed two eyes glaring at me. It's the Colonel waving at me. I quickly walked to him. He looked into my eyes and said, "Rajesh, I see you walking to your class as if you were an Oxford professor"!
I started avoiding him. One day, my friend and I decided to have tea at the shop near the main exit gate. We planned to dash out of the school with the first bell. The Colonel caught us but said nothing.
The following day, he summoned us to his home and offered us tea which he had prepared himself. With tears in his eyes, he then talked about his family and told me that I reminded him of his son who was living abroad.
Whenever I think of those incidents and the Colonel, two things come to my mind: Why we're so bound by our preconceptions that lead us to wrong impressions about people? And, let's not let our prejudices blind us to the good within others.