CAN NEVER FORGET MY COLLEGE DAYS. Those were the days when I was away from home and living in a hostel, sharing a room with a friend. College and the hostel were two great learning centers for me. While college offered me the opportunity to prepare myself for a good job, I learned some of my greatest lessons in life at the hostel. Besides serving its basic purpose of boarding and lodging, a hostel may not look like a learning center, but for a discerning mind it’s a great place to meet and know people from different backgrounds. Sharing with new people is an art, which might require some adjustments to gain trust and to develop friendship. Sustaining the friendship without hurting anyone or getting hurt by anyone was a very important lesson I learned from my hostel days after I started sharing a room with my friend Jayanth.
Jayanth was from a wealthy family, very disciplined and worked hard to get good grades in college. He was brought up in a cosmopolitan city and his manners were very sophisticated. But he was also a bit prejudiced and sensitive regarding certain matters. Whenever we discussed different topics, I noticed that, he did not value my opinions. And whenever I raised questions about his opinions, he used to dismiss them saying that, “you are from a small town and I do not expect you to understand my opinions.” I felt hurt that, instead of evaluating opinions through logic and reasoning, he was judging them based on the background of the person. Though I felt offended I did not argue with him, because I thought that arguments were not the best way to prove oneself.
“You are from a small town and I do not expect you to understand my opinions."
Whether from a small town or a big cosmopolitan city, irrespective of the background of a person, I have always believed that anything should be evaluated objectively based on substance, logic and reasoning. I could have snubbed him by being aggressive, but I do not think that is a path mature people would like to take. I just waited and hoped for situations to arise where he would think objectively and behave with maturity. Whenever I had a chance I tried to stay away from his unhealthy discussions, but it was not always possible, as we had to share the same room. To be careful not to hurt him, and at the same time to save myself from being offended, I came up with an idea to tackle him in a discussion. After that, whenever we had a discussion, instead of giving my personal opinion, I used to quote the opinions of famous writers, philosophers and thinkers. This did not give him any chance to belittle my background and I was able to cope with him without getting hurt.
Time passed by. He concentrated on his studies and I concentrated on my studies without us interfering in each other’s things. He even invited me to his home for his birthday. On his birthday his father presented him a brand new car. He gave me a ride in his car along with other friends and we had fun that day. Everything looked fine and things went on smoothly between us.
One day after dinner in a casual discussion he asked me, “What do you think about Tara?”
I was not sure about the motive behind his question and to be on the safe side I asked, “What about her?”
“These days she is catching my attention,” he said. “I like her.”
I took a moment to think about her. Tara was a very beautiful girl who used to study in our college. I thought it’s very natural for anyone to like her. But, she was already seeing someone.
“I guess she is already going out with Anurag,” I said.
“I talked to her about that,” he said. “She says they are just friends and having some fun time together. Moreover what can Anurag offer her, except an old car?”
I understood the situation. His interest in Tara started after his father presented him that new car. But I always had a gut feeling that there was something fishy about Tara and she was not right for a sensitive guy like Jayanth. I wanted to be straightforward and tell him that she was not the girl for him. But I knew he would not value my personal opinion, just because I happened to be from a small town. Moreover I did not want to give him a friendly personal opinion only to be snubbed by him. I did not want to hurt him by ignoring him either. I thought for a moment to avoid giving a personal opinion and said, “Sheshu the philosopher once said, ‘look for morals before starting a relationship’.”
Sheshu the Philosopher continues...