Saturday, 6 May 2017

Disillusioned Human to an Enlightened Individual

  Fours years ago I stepped on  American soil. Life would change for better (or for worse), I knew. My idea of life in America was probably taken from the Hollywood. People probably do the same with Bollywood. For instance, Slumdog Millionaire (a Hollywood movie) won a lot of accolades. Interestingly it seemed like the only thing people took from it was that India is poor. I would invariably get a lot of questions on poverty and population. Which was funny in the beginning, started getting a little ironic later. For those who believe India is poor - India is a developing country, we have poor people, sure, we also have a huge population and it definitely is tough to provide amenities for everyone. Yes, there are slums in the cities in India, and there is filth , it is crowded and hot. All true... India also has billionaires and middle class people, educated people who speak english perfectly well, India is rich in its varied culture and landscape with scenic beauty and not to mention good food ;) .

   What most Americans don't see or have turned a blind eye to is the poverty in their own country. Just because you drive luxury cars and have big houses, doesn't mean everyone else does. Being a therapist, I have been fortunate to experience small towns life and, worked in rural areas. Treated patients living in posh houses to Homeless who lived in cars(temporarily staying at friends place with 10 other people). I have seen more than I bargained for. Treated patients in sketchy areas. I had to see my patients in later in the day  when trouble makers were hopefully asleep. I did not carry even a pepper spray since, it was considered weapon (Cellphone and 911 was my only hope, if things went awry). I hold no illusions! There are hoarders where you can't step into their house, literally. Some houses are so filthy, you feel you need for a hazmat suit before you enter, with it stinking to high heavens. There are pan handlers here, like the beggars in India, living under the bridge (some better dressed than others). Most unemployed are not because they cant get jobs (Before foreigners are blamed for taking the local jobs), they choose not to. Circumstances can affect your life and at times the choices you make. But you have control over your own destiny. If your life is not the best. It's probably partly the result of your own choices. I would see young people just whiling away time smoking and drinking beer while watching television, instead of making a effort to find work. I have heard too many stories from my patients. Some, where the mothers/fathers and grandmothers/fathers still support adult sons and daughters or even have custody of their grandchildren. It definitely is saddening to see such disappointment on their faces to be earning member in their 70's and 80's. There are also hard working  people who hold two full time jobs. Struggling to make ends meet. I am constantly amazed by their strength. My problems seem so inconsequential. There are all sections of people you come across, with different ideologies. 

  What I take from my experiences, working in two different countries, is that life is not all that different. People are similar, emotions are still the same, more openly expressed here, guarded in India. They just speak different languages. Everyone has their own cross to bear, so to speak. I am glad to have had the opportunity to work and help people. Spread some smiles and, share their  sorrows while getting them stronger. Sometimes, having someone to talk to makes all the difference in the mental state.  I believe, I have matured in my thinking with all the struggles I see around me. Most of my patients have taught me something. Either with their pearls of wisdom or learning from their mistakes. I have learnt to be less prejudiced, less judgmental and learnt to appreciate people for who they are. Rather than superficial things like, where they come from, what languages they speak, how much money they earn. They have taught me to be empathetic and sensitive.  Knowledge is power and light but, the more you know, the more you realize you know less than you think. I still have some prejudices, preconceived notions and, still fall prey to hasty judgments. As I grow older I hope to grow wiser....

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