By: Tinky Ningombam
No-one wants to be a stranger and be called one. You are as strange as the next person. Everyone in this world is a stranger to everyone else leave about a thousand people that you might be able to be make friends with or know at an average life span.
Sometimes we are strangers to our own friends. Most societies hate strangers. They are not to be trusted. They can be bad people. They can give you spiked candies. They can even be burglars or even mass-murderers. Strangers are better left alone.
It’s more irritating when a stranger passes a judgment on you or looks at you with spying eyes. But of course, they are strangers, they will act rather strange. Some people handle strangers well. They try to take the risk and start speaking to them. Some even find them quite pleasing and amiable. Amiable enough to be friends. Have you ever noticed that when one is in a long queue that never seems to be moving, that is when we normally check out these strangers with more suspicious eyes? And we criticize them and make up stories in our heads of what they might be thinking. We hear our own weird voices in our head “Just look at that guy, he looks like a thief” “This girl thinks she is so pretty that the world stops for her”. We never seem to have good thoughts for strangers, even if they are really good-looking.
Nowadays we are caught with surprise if strangers turn out to be good. If they helped you with your broken down car or come to your rescue in a fight. Those are good strangers who you meet ever so rarely that it has become an urban myth. Now when a stranger wants to help you or offer you a lift, you get more scared for their helpfulness. That’s what the world has done to strangers. They can’t be trusted with good faith anymore. We have lost our trust. We hate them even if they try to be good. We do not know what they are upto, that’s why they are called strangers.
You do not have to look strange to be strange. Those are two disparate things. But strange men bear more of the brunt. You tell your kids not to talk to strange men, do you also tell them not to talk to strange women? That is quite discriminatory is it not? To think women can be no better strangers to be warned against. Because I am not sure about you dear readers, but two images pop in my head when I think strangers. First is an old man with a scar on his face who looks like a pirate and the next is a very thin anorexic junkie with needle marks. Call me sexist.
But we forget that invariably we are not always surrounded by strangers. We are surrounded by people who we know: Who we start to trust. And most of these times, they are the ones who have access to hurt you more. And starting from when you were a child, most of the mental and psychological abuse, not to even begin with physical abuse is done in your homes. How can one be prepared from people who have to live with us? Who we know are ones who we cannot avoid? Is it not important to have a sound environment for a person. To be able to determine one’s rights and violations. We seldom let strangers meddle with business of the family, that what needs to be sorted is sorted within the family. But how many families amicably sort their issues without harming their women and children? We know these stories, but we always think we can’t do anything about it because it’s somebody else’s family affairs.
You do not call the police when a guy slaps his wife. I mean isn’t that surprising to start with? Should we or should we not think of that as a grave issue. And if I think of it as something that is ok, what kind of a person does it make me? What if the same woman gets slapped by a stranger? Will you call the police then? Or a little mob-justice to spice it up? Why is abuse tolerated from people who are close to us? Is that not abuse? Let these be some wonderful food for thought for you today.
And why in of all the species on earth, humans get penalized for beating someone else but not one’s own children. We think it is fine, that it keeps kids disciplined. And these same kids grow up to become abusive and beat their wife and children because it doesn’t seem like a problem to “discipline” them. That’s what they were raised with believing.
I have always wondered how much time it takes for one to trust a stranger. I think it is when everyone at home starts to become estranged, that’s when you don’t mind a stranger.