In, Three Thousand Stitches, author and chairperson of Infosys Foundation, Sudha Murty sheds light on some of the prevailing biases in the society. One such incident was her own experience in London Airport. Sudha Murty, in her salwar kameez, was waiting in a queue to fly business class. A high heeled lady with Gucci handbag had asked her to stand in economy class queue and even called her “cattle-class person”. Sudha Murty, realising that the lady’s gesture was because of her dress, remained quiet. Later during the day, Sudha Murty chaired a meeting in which the same lady attended in plain khadi saree. No wonder that the lady would have been shell-shocked. This doesn’t begin and end with this great person. It happens to all of us, sometimes as a receiver and at times as a giver.
In numerous occasion a person is valued by what one wears or / and uses. In personal gatherings such as wedding, a grand silk saree or suit is expected. In offices, a person is judged by the brand one wears, the person with tie is assumed to be more professional. In public transports, though lungi and shorts / tracks has common objective the treatment differs. In certain communities, the respect or the crowd a woman gets is directly proportionate to the new jewellery she showcases. There are communities which measures one by the diamond they own (not even gold). The resultant, people buy jewelleries otherwise they may not be able to afford. Not just these, one ends up buying things that’s not required or more than what is required just to be part of the elite club. Courtesy to various finance options and e-commerce offers.
The mistake isn’t always with the giver. In today’s world, the receiver has positioned himself to be treated differently. A person with bike feels a person with car is much larger, a person with premium sedan feels a person with luxury car is much larger, a person in rented house feels a person in owned house is much larger and so on.
One must realise that material things can never determine what a person is. Let’s learn to value people for what they are and not what they own.