Openness by Samarth Jajoo
How does your community view the stranger? Samarth Jajoo, a member of the Ed Board in Aurangabad, India, responds:
Strangers are an essential element of our society.
I think there’s a strand of ‘knowing’ in ‘not knowing’, of ‘familiarity’ in ‘unfamiliarity’. The distinction lies in very blurry areas.
Why is that sometimes we strike the most interesting conversations with people we barely know?
The truth is that every person whom you’ve ever met was a stranger to you earlier. Before Columbus discovered America, it was a stranger to him. Before you were born, your parents were strangers to you.
Some people recognize you by your name and your face, but if you aren’t really the ‘famous’ kinds, chances are that the entire world recognizes you as a stranger. In fact, you were a stranger to yourself once — or perhaps still are.
When it comes to answering the question, “How are guests or strangers treated in your community?”, I’d say that they [guests and strangers] are not quite the same, but my community tries to treat both with warmth and joy.
The world, as a community, needs to be open to strangers. We must be more welcoming and accepting. The more people we help, the more help we’ll receive. In India, the tradition of treating guests like Gods is prominently advocated, but it seems to be fading away. The only way to preserve our culture is to become more accommodating as individuals.
After all, everyone was once a stranger.