Sunday, 14 March 2010

Are you an equal opportunity friend?

I haven't really been up to blogging lately. There've been lots of stuff going on. I went through the HRDC training sessions and came out of it full of knowledge and backaches. All in all, it was an interesting experience. The long weekend helped me recover totally from it.

Talking about the long weekend, on Friday 12th we celebrated our country's Independence day. I spent mine with Jev at Choisy with Mauritian foods and drinks. And on that day I got to know something great about him, that he is a patriot. You see, I am a patriot too but I guess that those are the things that we don't really say out loud. It's kind of hard to start a conversation with "Hey honey I'm a patriot! Did you know that? What about you?". And so we ended up not saying this to each other. But it was on Friday when he was buying flags and quadri-coloured ribbons that I actually got to know this aspect of him. And so it was while we were hanging out in the car watching people making the most of their day at the beach that we talked about what the independence day means to us. This brought me to comment on Eski's Independence Day ad campaign.

Our "national lemonade" brand has plastered billboards all over the country showing hands of people from explicitly different races and religions doing friendly gestures. All this is fine and I'm sure many of us are already befriending people irrespective of religion or other differences that society has created, except that it feels wrong and quite hypocrite when you actually show people doing it in advertisements. 

Taking my own example, my friends are varied, in a lot of aspects but I'm not about to pronounce myself as an equal opportunity friend. Friendship just happens, it does not happen because of the colour of someone or his/her religion. It just happens because something clicks. It did not occur to me that "Hey Deborah we are so different, let's be friends because I have to befriend someone from your religion." It just happened that Deborah is a foodie and so am I. 

And so I thought why not show real friendship? Friendship as it really is? Sometimes it would be with people from the same religion or caste as you are and sometimes it would be people from completely different religions. Because friendship happens with the people and not with the religions or races. The sooner we overcome the religion, caste and race barrier, the closer we would be to the actual state of equal opportunity...


  1. You're 100% right.

    When you think that politics is about choosing "friends" based on religion, community, social status or colour of skin, no wonder a lot of us are completely disinterested in it...

  2. We spent a great day on the 12th.

    It's sad to hear people say we are a mixed race. We are not. We are one race.

  3. Oh dear, the 'I am a patriot' conversation, it's as stressful as the first time you say 'I love you' or 'Will you marry me?' :P

    Coming back to the subject, I am a bit weird about this. I am very aware of my ethnic background and I find it hard to hide it. I can't ignore it and I feel like I am lying to myself if I say I am not Hindu, Muslim, Catholic,...etc, I am Mauritian. Because it's not true. Because it's not true for the vast majority of people. It doesn't mean I am not a patriot though and it also doesn't mean I have to choose friends based on religion or that I can't see beyond someone's ethnicity. That's why I also hate telling my surname to people, especially parents of friends! People judge a lot. I know parents who would basically tell their kids who to be friends with and who to stay away from. I hate this kind of prejudice, it's very unhealthy. A lot of elders were raised in the quagmire of racial tensions, don't let your kids drown it in too.