We often get asked, what do the folks behind Chatoveracuppa chat about. Actually a lot. So here is glimpse into what we were discussing over the long weekend while working on the 75th story on the blog. Soumi took a picture of her desk to make this come more real for you. Our conversations are always accompanied by a steaming cuppa. We do this in between several interruptions from the people in our lives. Our children peeping into our computer screens, interrupting us to ask a science question or telling us about an injured finger and our husbands almost always narrating newer stories in parallel.
Soumi : I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of Target yesterday. I saw a mother help her little girl out of the car and she was then working on getting another one out of the car. As it happens, in a split second the little girl was running across the road. Even before the mother could notice, another car came around the corner. Loud screeching sounds. The girl was not hurt. No one was hurt. A possible accident averted.
Piya : Then ?
Soumi : The mother got understandably upset at the little girl. She looked so overwhelmed and emotional. I came out of the car to see if I could help. She put both the kids back in the car and abandoned the shopping plan. But guess what ?
Piya : I know what. You looked around and saw other people notice this too. Perhaps judging the Mom for not being careful.
Soumi : Yup. Not perhaps. I am quite sure about it. Everyone was discussing in audible tones on what the mother should have done and what she should not have. It is easier to judge. Although the fact is anyone could have been in the mother’s place. There is always room for that 30 second error. We know that.
Piya: Yes. I know. By the way, we have more pictures and stories from the storytellers for the 75ththan we thought.
Soumi : Yay ! I know.
Piya : Anyway, back to your story. It reminds me of the time I went to the local USCIS office for an interview. There was a young couple with a month old infant. At one point the infant started crying and nothing would help. Pacifier. Bottle. Carrying. Rocking. Nothing. They even took the baby out for some time and then brought back in. Their attorney too took turns at looking after the baby. But when babies cry there are times you cannot do much. We all know that. The baby had to be there with the parents for the process I overheard the attorney say that to the couple as they started making alternative plans.
Soumi : And people were watching and getting annoyed ?
Piya : Yes, very much so. Most had the look that we have had enough, please take the baby out of here. You know the sort of general judgments. Look at the parent, they cannot even get a baby to quiet down and things of that nature. And this from a room full of people who either have kids of their own or will definitely have nieces and nephews or even grandchildren for that matter. This office had no notice that babies are not allowed.
So now, you dear readers. You tell us that you have not observed this or not judged someone yourself at some point. We both will be candid and accept we have done that ourselves but most times we quickly remind ourselves that it could be us. And that stops the judgment right there and puts things back in perspective. When we have been judged we have felt awful about it. But when we have been assisted instead, we have felt relieved.
Like this one time, I was in a similar situation in the parking lot of a mall. One baby in the Bjorn, a few shopping bags in one hand and a five year old holding the other hand. The five year old freed herself and began to skip and hop in between the parked cars. No amount of pleading with her helped. Just then a stranger from the other side of the road yelled at her “ Listen to your mom. Stop running in the parking lot.” My daughter froze in her spot. I thanked the stranger. I did not take offense because it was way better than being judged as an incapable parent.
That is why we ask today, Why judge ? We would love to hear what you think.
Co-Authored by Piya Mukherjee and Soumi Haldar