Black and White

Opposites. Antonyms. My favorite part of the English question paper, back in elementary school. The little me loved these pairs of words we connected using lines, in “Match the following.”

Light x Dark

Soft x Hard

Good x Bad

Happy x Sad

Black x White

As simple as that. In reality, however, there are a lot of words between Soft and Hard. There are a lot of things between Good and Bad. And there are a hell lot of shades between Black and White.

Often we look for extremes, in life. Most of us want a list of good people, whom we can always trust, and a list of bad people, whom we are to always avoid. Most of us spend so much time and energy trying to judge each person in our life and categorize them. I think they can’t be categorized. People are unpredictable. You, me and everybody else. We cannot even predict our own selves.

Categorizing someone makes an impression of them in our mind that refuses to go away. It creates a mesh, one that acts as a guidebook for how to treat them, how to talk to them, how much time to spend with them… a mesh of expectations too, and if that mesh is broken, somehow, due to the person’s actions.. it hurts. And so, it is not healthy to keep trying to decide how to act to someone because people are not Black or White. We’re all gray. Beautiful and unique shades of gray.

Once we train ourselves to accept that, it will be easier to get over being mistreated by someone. Afterall, disappointments can only come from expectations.

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Virtual friends

Since childhood, we are taught not to acknowledge strangers. Any food they offer should not be taken and any smile they flash should not be returned. And maybe this is why I have been rather ashamed to admit that I make friends online, some unknown homo sapiens on the other side of the computer screen.

You could say I grew up online, for most of my time has been spent discovering new social networking sites and making sure I had an account on every one of the e-mail service websites. And once when I was exploring new folds of the internet I developed enough courage to reply to a text from a stranger and since then I have been unable to pull myself away. Be it about differences in cultures or education systems, opinions on Youtubers or anime, or just useless chatter, a conversation with my virtual pen-pals always seems so interesting.

There is something about talking to new people that is very fascinating,  especially when you cannot see or hear each other originally. It is just an exchange of words, words that speak so much more than one’s voice or one’s looks. Sometimes the probability of the person on the other side being a terrorist seeps into my mind and it lingers for a while, but that thought fades away as quickly as it comes, for I convince myself saying that it is not half as dangerous as it appears and that I have nothing to worry about. And moreover, it seems like too much to forego against the zest it gives.

Half this pleasure can be experienced by conversing with people you actually do know in real life, but whilst not revealing who you are to them. I usually do this by pranking my school friends and when one of them asked me who I was, I found myself saying “I like to keep my identity hidden, for I can shape myself into anything I would like in your mind. Had you known who I am, my words would be perceived in a way you think I am.”

Isn’t that true? When we are texting or talking to someone we know, we judge their words keeping that person in mind. In fact, we even imagine those words in their voice. But when you don’t know who the other person actually is, it is like writing on a clean slate. No presumptions. No expectations.

Perhaps it is due to the fact that this freedom of being whatever I want to be, cannot be possible in reality that I find myself drawn to conversing with virtual friends.

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