Sanitizing my perception


10 years back, I picked a book from the biography section. I honestly don’t remember who the author was or worse about whom the author was talking about. All, I remember is I didn’t like it. Probably, the literary content of the book was too much for a 15 year old back then or preaching the philosphies of life through a man’s journey didn’t interest me back then. Afterall, I was 15 years old and was caught up in Harry Potter fever.

Years rolled on.. Slowly, my reading topics widened and I was reading lot of books but some how I didn’t pick a biography again.

Years rolled on and had become an ardent reader. When talking to new people, and when the topic comes around books and when people ask me.. “What sort of books do you read?” My answer to this question shifted from.. “Well.. Just read one book on biography section. I didn’t like it thou!” to “Well.. I’m not a big fan of biographies!” to “Well.. I don’t read them because I don’t like them and they are a load of crap anyways!”. Somehow, slowly and steadily this anti-biography fever started defining me or rather I started defining myself very strongly against biographies. I never noticed any of this. Of course all these things were totally unconscious reactions built up over a course of time.

Recently, I was talking to a stranger on a flight back home. We started chatting to kill away the time and we found that we both had common interest in books and yet again the question popped up.. “What sort of books do u read?” I said my interest and told my stand point on biographies. He absorbed my answer, thought for a while and asked me.. Well.. How many books have you read on this genre that made you reach that conclusion?

The question striked me hard. Man. I don’t even remember what the title of the book was or even if I completed that book or if I just gazed through it. I just had a view point on something that happened long long ago which slowly became a sweeping generalization to a definition of myself and my hatred towards it. It’s surprising on how an innocent perception about a little thing grows on and on to become a part of our identity.

An innocent question from a stranger made me rethink my conclusion. Did I really not like biographies or was I reacting to some cloudy fact that I kept carrying all way long? I didn’t have an answer. I decided to put it to test. With a open mind and of course with a little uncertainty, I finally picked up an auto biography of Dalai Lama and have just completed it. I must say, I really loved it.

This incident in particular left me wondering. If a thing as little as picking up a book has a ton of insanity behind the decision making process, how many such sweeping generalizations and decisions do we make in life? πŸ™‚