Thursday, June 17, 2010

Opinions of Strangers

People have been proffering their unasked-for opinions and advice a lot lately. I’ve started noticing this recently: complete strangers are very willing to tell me their opinion on something, or to give me to advice on matters that have nothing to do with them, without the least amount of encouragement from me.

A woman trying on a kurta at the trial room next to mine in Westside asked me how I think she looks, gave me a minute to give the polite answer, and then immediately told me that the kurta I was trying on made me look “a bit pale”. The security woman at the entrance of my workplace started her morning by telling me that I’m very tall and also fat. Clearly, I enjoy food more than I should. A tailor taking my friend’s measurements for a dress told her that her breasts were too small, and gave her “tips” on how to make them appear larger. Two taxi drivers were more than merely expansive on their respective opinions about women working (more on that later), and the importance of God in a young woman’s life.

People assume that random strangers are interested in their opinions and are open to their advice. But we’re usually not. I am not interested in the security guard’s opinion on my weight. I am not interested in knowing what the woman standing next to me in the queue for the bathroom at Pizza Hut thinks about the abominable state of bathrooms in Jaipur. And I definitely do not want to be told by a man that the fact that I work is against Indian culture, against the will of God, and probably against the wishes of my parents too.


Anonymous said...

The thing to do is to carry The Complete Works of William Shakespeare with you and thump such people. Concussions can only improve their mental condition.

Sumedha said...

I like that plan. :) Shall keep in mind the next time.