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?


Anonymous said...

Nice one, Such. I will talk to you to know who are the different characters that you talk about... And yes, I had formed my own perception about this Roomie and lot of things that you have said later on do not go with my perception of this girl!

- Gowri

Joydeep Dey said...

What a moron of a BF making the girl pay like that! Was he on dole?

Ashwini said...

Absolutely my thoughts too, Joydeep !!
Such, yes, my image of the girl in the first part didn't match that of the girl in the second part of the story ... left me thinking 'is it the same girl'? Its funny the way we form perceptions about people, no?

Pinky Says said...

Well, G will update you. Have updated few names.

Joy and Ash: Lol! Completely agree but it seems The guy was a student too as per Asra. Thats why she had to cut chicken. Ya, but ur rite why couldnt the guy work instead. On second thoughts: an absolute moron...

Anonymous said...

Okay i still dint get what ur perception of the girl was... and why were you so shocked ? is it usual in your culture not to adapt? i in fact, find this story very touching... i think its circumstances which change a person and there is nothing to be shocked bt it... I would ‘ve rather taken it as.... Hey now! She got a circumstance where she showed that she can be flexible in her ideology.
i think its perceptions which make society so DAMN biased and DAMN dirty place to live in.... but what shocked me was your perception about men ! Should they necessarily be the provider and work for the girl? I am not sure if i agree !?! ... maybe you should stop working and let your man take care of you... if you have one that is! or does your perception differ there? if it does , then you should perhaps alter your perception about the story! or maybe not write a blog on perception coz it’s difficult to perceive what your perception is!
Jacqueline Klemann.

Pinky Says said...

Ah, well...Ms.Holier than thou attitude or whoever you are. But whoever you are you must be god and not human to form perceptions or supposedly but you are contradicting yourself by forming perceptions of a culture you dont know and so on. :)

Thats exactly what I was trying to convey. I realized that perceptions can be so deceiving and sometimes so wrong and I was shocked that I formed an impression. I guess we are human so everyone has their own interpretation of certain things or stories.

Well, let me tell you my perception of you. A real sneaky individual with a big chip on her shoulder or a grouse against the world hiding behind an anonymous ID. :D

Atleast I am honest enough not to act God behind a fake ID.

Anonymous said...

Nothing's wrong with perceptions. Forming perception is but a natural routine human condition.

How we manage perception is what matters.

Love for flesh (clandestine trysts in hotel rooms) and dislike for meat due to cultural conditioning is not mutually exclusive.

Also talking about perceptions, blogging doesn't indicate disability to have a man or a husband in the blogger's life.

Attempts to come out of cultural bondage is always a healthy sign. :)

plain jane said...

What a great story and I like the way you tell it. I agree with you--my perception of Roomie definitely changed when I found out why she was so hard up for money.

Pratima said...


That was a great blog and I am grateful to Jacqueline, who has with her extremely prejudiced insights illustrated what the blog is talking about... perceptions!!

She too like roomie (maybe she is roomie!!) has brought forth the eternal escape channel for all people who hide behind ideologies they do not believe in and take solace in blaming everything from 'cultural conditioning' to 'circumstances'.

And please do continue blogging.. I think you are great and for now I will save myself the trouble of forming perceptions about some half-wit who has borrowed thoughts on culture and ideology and well... perceptions!


Anonymous said...

Well written, very interesting point you made on perception... We see this day in and day out in our lives... the office appraisals and the promotions are the best times when you see it coming out most prominently ... Everything is decided on just one thing "perception".