Pendulum swinging too far.

He: “In the present climate, this doesn’t look good. Does it? Two white men, Clifford and I, leading this place.”

Me: ‘I think it’s great as you both know your stuff and work well together. Also, the organization is gaining strength and reputation under your leadership. Give it at least another year before you change anything. Everyone’s happy.’

He: “Yes, but … it doesn’t look good.”

Me: ‘What do you mean? Who’s looking? So long as the job is done well and the purpose of the organization is served, I don’t see the problem.’

He: “Yes, but, could I ask you to be my Deputy?”

Me: ‘Oh. Me? Hmm. What does the role entail?’

He: “I will find out the details and let you know.”

Me: ‘So, you are offering me a role and you don’t know what it is?’

He: ‘Yes. But I’ll let you know very soon.’

Me: “If you don’t know what the job is, how can you offer it to anyone? How can you know that I am capable of doing it?”

This was wrong at so many levels. Don’t use people to make you look good. See beyond their ethnicity and gender and think about the job at hand. Think about their abilities and aptitudes. Remember meritocracy? Would you have a doctor or a lawyer or a car mechanic or an architect look after you only because they had particular demographics or because they had the right credentials and were bloody good at their jobs?

Moreover, my colleagues would know that my promotion had little to do with my capabilities or performance and everything to do with the fact that I am a ‘woman from a minority community’. It would be insulting. No. Thank you.

We are one race – the Human race. Each individual, fully deserving to be seen as their unique self, way beyond their gender or color or creed. Let’s not loose the plot altogether.

Only one race.

You are not your body. Who you are has nothing to do with how you look.

You are not your mind, your thoughts, your feelings or your memories. All those things are aspects of you but they are not you. They change from moment to moment. Thoughts come and go. Feelings mould. Thousands of old cells are shed and replaced by new ones every second.

During my training to be a doctor, I had to dissect a human body. It was an enlightening experience. On my first day at medical school, it was a shock – the massive Anatomy hall reeking of Formalin, 12 metallic rectangular tables, each occupied by a horizontal human form covered with a white cotton sheet. 4 students in alphabetical order, to a table/ body. All different but more or less the same, students and bodies. Mine was a dark skinned, muscular young man in his thirties. I wondered how he had landed up on this table in the heart of Punjab when he clearly belonged somewhere else. I wondered what his story was.

As I carefully peeled the skin off, a pale yellow silky layer unraveled itself. I peeked at the next table and it was the same. And the next and the next. Men and women, old and young, squat and fit, brown and black. Whatever on the outside, were the same just underneath.

We laugh and cry the same salty tears, we feel the same love, we yawn and sneeze and hiccup and breath the same way. We all are distinct and yet, more or less the same. We are all made up of a substance called ‘love’. We carry the whole Universe inside of us.  We are bundles of boundless cosmic energy. Our bodies are vehicles for us to experience this Earth and for this fantastic energy to express itself. Let us not allow anyone to tell us how we should look, as their vision may be limited. Be fully expressed. Don’t let their limitation be yours. You are whole and complete, just the way you are, no matter what anyone says. Don’t let anyone let you love yourself any less than one thousand percent. Your love and compassion for yourself is the source of all joy for all humanity.

Just as black people are so much more than just black and homosexuals are so much more than just that. And Saagar was so much more than just a handsome brown young man. Underneath, we all are human. We have the privilege of coming from the most gorgeous star. Our numbers are higher than ever before and our potential as a race is the highest it has ever been. At a time when we need more cohesion between humans than ever before, we are building divisions all over the world – us and them. Be it the colour of our skin, our religious convictions, our gender, our choice of sexual partners or our private medical choices. We need bridges, not walls. We need to see ourselves in others and them in us – vulnerable, tough and unique at the same time. Everyone. Absolutely everyone.

I say to all you planning and scheming and dreaming, defending, proving, and justifying, laughing, crying, and feeling people, wanting love and understanding, offering love and understanding people:

 “You be me.  I be you.  They be us. We be them. All be one. Love be all. All be love. Only love. Get down on it.”