We all live our lives navigating through a series of stereotypes of our own creation. I must admit that I had a recent experience that made me aware of my severe limitations.
I have always been vary of a certain profile of individuals. The ones who look slick, dress sharp, drive fast cars and generally talk glib. I tend to be very guarded with these type of characters and somehow there is no specific rationale for my reservations with such individuals.
There is one such individual who I have interacted with over the years and have boxed him into the cage of my prejudices. I had an accident recently that has taken me over a month to recover. Given the nature of the head injury I drew an outpouring of concern and sympathy from friends and acquaintances. I noticed that this person was keeping a constant tab on my health and expressed a keen interest to meet me. My stereotyped self kept on postponing this interaction until one day I had to come face to face.
He earnestly inquired about my health that I summarily described. He complimented me on how positively I had responded to the crisis that I shrugged off. He asked me to take good care of my health that I reluctantly accepted. Then he mentioned to me something that hit me in the gut. He said that he wanted to tell me something that he had told very few people. My antennas were immediately alert.
“I almost died three years back”, he said. I was all attention now. “I suffered from a massive heart attack while driving. My kids were with me in the car and I was lucky to drive myself to the nearest hospital. As a result I have three stents in my heart. It’s in my genes. My father died at the age of 41 from a heart attack and my mother at 50 from a heart attack too. I am sometimes reminded by my doctor that it’s a miracle that I am alive. I believe that if I am living a miracle then I will make each day a miracle as well for my family and me. It’s the attitude sir which makes all the difference”.
“May the force be with you sir and do recover quickly” said this character as he bid me farewell.
“May the force be with you as well”, I muttered, crushed under the weight of my debilitating stereotypical self.