Perceptions change. All the time. I agree with Heraclitus on it. You can never step into the same river change. By the next time you try to step in it, the goddamn river would have changed and so would you. To put it in other words you perception about yourself and the river would have changed.
Often we believe that people metamorphose. But may be it is just our perception about them that change.
I know a person , an intellectual friend of mine, in whom initially I couldn't find any elements of goodness. All I could see was a very arrogant rude fellow who was just impossible to stand. He belongs to let's say a little different cultural background than mine. Being the 'conservative' soul ( I stress here, kindly replace the 'being' with 'used to be', after all we are talking about change ) I couldn't exactly associate decency and goodness with someone whom I knew smoked, drank and sometimes took a step further. He was not even interested in studies. But he I must tell you is very talented. I respected it. But that was all I could respect. He made me uneasy and irritated. But my friends, at least some of them, did try to convince me that my perception may be wrong.I openly told him I disliked him. Fought with him. I believed that would could never stand each other. It was simply impossible. The adamant conservationist that I was I refused to even move a little from the circle of perception I had drawn around myself.
Time passed ignorant of the trivialities that was happening in my life. Then something really upsetting happened. One of those little experiences that knocks on your head and reminds you that you dont dwell in clouds. I have this annoying habit of keeping such stuff to myself. If it is sad I let my friends see the tears, if it is sadder I run away from the crowd and hide myself from everyone including me. Then I had a little chat with this 'unstandable friend' of mine. Honestly, I didnt mean to talk. I didnt want to go any further than a normal talk of courtesy. But surprisingly talking to him made me feel much better ( I don't know the psychology behind this). Slowly I found myself telling him things I never even told my intimate bosom friends. Any even more surprisingly he understood. He told me a little story. The story about a man who goes to a psychiatrist for his brother who believed he is a chicken and acted like one. The psychiatrist asks him why he didn't take his brother along or didn't try to cure him so far. Then this guy says ' But I really do want the eggs sir'. The story was simple. But the message was strong. I felt better. Felt good in fact.
Much later, I apologized to him for being rude and so wrong about him before. I could see all that my friends were trying to convince me. I saw him being courteous not just to me but the others around me. No matter what all he indulged in the integrity inside was intact. At least he was not one of those hypocrites who behaved in way that proclaimed "hello there, I am the good guy , come to me " and stabbed you behind the back. There was no 'hug and slap' policy involved in him . As surprised I was at this rediscovery, I was at the thought that why couldn't I see this before. Prejudice pays its price, doesn't it? I told him I could see a gentleman behind the mask. He said when you peel a mask, you find another. And another. And another. He told me he wasnt so good, and I knew that his perception about himself was may be as wrong as mine was.
I have changed. I am glad I have. It is beautiful at times to have a whole new perspective about people and things. Sometimes it feels good to be proved wrong. To look at things from a different side.
I am sipping my coffee. In the background I can hear two aunties cribbing about the spoiled youth of today ( hey, I am not eavesdropping, they are loud enough). How one of their neighbour friend's blah blah son ( I could make out that he used to be a 'typical good mama's boy ) had fallen into the 'evil' hands of bad friends and had been 'utterly spoiled'. Not at all an unusual conversation in an Indian background. I pause. Thoughts drift. Again, I sip my coffee, busy redefining 'evil' in my head.