Ganesh. That’s the name of my neighbor at Honey Valley.

He has long hair and even though he has never set his foot outside India, his English has an accent. I don’t know enough to discriminate between Australian accent from American one, or American accent from British one. So, I can’t tell which accent he sports. May be it is not specific to any country. Just some accent because you don’t want to speak English the way Indians speak it.

Till sometime back, I was quite prejudiced for such people. Not that I would consider them inferior or something. Just that I would assume them to be so different from myself that I won’t even think about talking to them. I won’t consider the possibility of having a conversation with them that could interest me.

Now things have changed though. I find myself as comfortable with people who have pierced body parts, long hairs and english accent as with anyone else. The primary reason being that my outlook about people in general has changed.

And the funny thing is when I interacted with such people, I found them to be same as everyone else. I had thought that they would be different in one way or the other but they are just the same.

It shouldn’t have been so surprising in the first place because we are, after all, human beings and if we are all the same, there is no big deal about it. However, I was amused by this observation anyways.

Then I felt that it was as natural for someone to keep long hairs or pierce body parts or speak in accented English as it was for someone to get up early in the morning and prey to God.

We all identify ourselves with some ideas. The idea could be anything from communism to wearing a white shirt to office. We all identify with some ideas. And ideas usually have a visible form (or symbols) associated with them. These symbols could get associated with the idea either because the main progenitor of the that idea used that form or because a lot of people following that idea had also that form. For instance, Gandhian cap. In old days, if you swear allegiance to the ideas that Gandhi Ji had, you would wear a Gandhian cap. So, that cap became a symbol of Gandian ideas. Over a period of time, it so happened that all politicians were wearing that cap even if they didn’t believe in Gandian ideas at all. So, the association for the cap changed to politics.

So, it is like adopting the visual symbols of the ideas you identify with. I used to wear cargo pants to office because it was a symbol of the traveller like attitude who doesn’t care for the orderly environment of the office.

But identification with some ideas does not alter your nature which is 100% human to the core.

So, now I may, at times, be amused by the visible symbols one adopts to express his/her identification with some ideas. But I never let that make me forget the human being behind those symbols.

Another interesting thing here is the influence of personality type on the adoption of visible symbols pertaining to your ideas.

Those who have excess of Rajas will be seen more with these external symbols. Those with excess of Satva will hardly have the external symbols.

Long time back, I had gone for rappling with a group. Most of us had good shoes and some were sporting a raw, prepared-to-be-in-jungle kind of look. However, one of the guide was wearing floaters and shorts. That is the difference in Rajas and Satva.

[Written at Honey Valley]