Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Perceptions, Vegans and Boyfriends

It has been a mission for a few team members at work to get Gita to put on weight, eat non-veg and get married though not necessarily in that order.

So today after lunch, the ribbing started as usual. To try and show how people are adaptable and can change given the circumstances, Asra told us an interesting story. Her sister who is currently studying in the US has a vegan roommate (let us call her Roomie) who considered non-veg the ultimate sin and absolutely refused to have anything to do with it starting the day she was born.

Anyways, the story goes like this. As days went by, Roomie started finding it difficult to cope with living expenses as well as college fees. So Ms. Roomie decided to look for a job. Recession had struck and jobs were almost non-existent. However, Roomie managed to find a job in a restaurant where the task was to chop whole chicken into pieces. Everyone who knew her were surprised when she accepted the job and wondered how she would adapt. Every evening when she would return from work, Roomie's flat mates would ask her the numbers she had chopped that day. The numbers were never less than 100.

Gradually, Roomie progressed from chopping chicken to baking non-veg pizzas in the same restaurant. :) She even got over her inhibitions and started eating chicken gravy with rice and mastered the art of deftly removing chicken pieces from the gravy.

We all wondered how dire the circumstances must have been for a pure vegan to take up this job which several non-vegans too would baulk at. Based on the story so far, we started visualising a girl from a traditional, conservative middle class family trying to make ends meet as a student far away from her home country.

After a while, Asra continued with the story. It seems Roomie had a BF. There were several nights after hanging out with Roomie, BF wanted to stay over. However, Roomie's 3 flat mates refused to allow BF to stay overnight. Similar to Roomie's rule: No non-veg, they had a rule: No men allowed. Lol! Can this get more complicated?

Since her BF was not allowed to stay over, she would book a room in a hotel nearby the nights he visited. Now hotels are expensive especially for a student. So that's how Roomie was unable to manage her expenses, went broke and resorted to chopping chicken.

So where does perception figure in this? Well, it was the picture of Roomie I created in my mind after hearing the first part of her story. When I heard the circumstances, I was shocked as it went against the image I had formed. That made me realize how powerful, fluid and deceptive perceptions can be. Did you feel the same way? What was your perception? Any thoughts?