Mirror Magazine
3rd September 2000
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Enjoy the diversity

Imagine how dull the world would be without different people.......
By Uthpala Gunethilake
If you think that the concept of parallel universes exist only in science fiction and the minds of star-struck scientists, then think again. These hopeful believers are correct except for one thing; those other worlds do not lie as far away as they think. Sometimes interacting with people we meet in our day to day lives seems like trying to get two different worlds in line. All we want is to be understood, but that is the one thing that doesn't happen. None of us can really figure out what the other is trying to say, since the other speaks in a totally different lingo, and we keep on hoping that he will switch to ours, while he wishes for the same. 

Angry and frustrated, we will not get very far in getting to know each other. But maybe if we accept that our languages cannot be changed, we can put aside the old and invent a whole new lingo common to both of us.

If there's one thing common about all of us, it's the fact that each one of us is different than the other. All of us realize this to some extent, but it hits us squarely on the jaw only when we find ourselves in a sticky situation caused by misunderstanding, or the failure to accept the differences in people. 

Maybe your father is trying to convince you that taking up his profession is the best for you. Or maybe a friend is trying to drag you to see 'Omen' and finds it hard to believe that horror movies aren't on your list of favourites. Day in day out we land ourselves in unpleasant situations because it's hard to accept that people are different. 

But imagine a world without different people; I tried to but couldn't. It's evident that the world we live in thrives upon differences. Imagine, at home, school, or work, if all of us were made of the same mould, thought the same thoughts, lived the same lives, excelled in the same things; not only would it be a fruitless organization, it would also be hopelessly uninteresting. Our lives are intermingled with each other's, and we depend upon many things that various individuals can give us. As Dinuka (24) says, " If all of us could do the same things, you wouldn't need so many of us." 

The more different the people you move around with, the richer you are as a person. We select our friends and associates, and sometimes unconsciously cast away those whom we think are different from us, while drawing closer the ones with whom we have something in common. This seems to be the best way to avoid everything from personality clashes to boredom. But it is also the case of missing the bigger picture. A different person means a whole new experience, and if we adjust ourselves a little bit to make room for the small edges which do not quite fit into what we are, we may be opening ourselves to new dimensions in life.

Every person we meet has something to teach us. We need to be open minded in getting to know people for the first time. 

Most of the time we try to change someone else to suit us, and when we don't succeed we move away from him or her, blaming it on the differences. Divorces, family feuds, friends falling out with each other and workplace battles all may be rooted in an unwillingness to accept another person for what he or she is.

Diversity is a fact of life and the same things do not matter to everyone. Valuing the differences, rather than trying to make someone else become like you, may be one huge step ahead in becoming a complete person. Trying to understand what drives another person to be what he is may be a better alternative than grumbling about his shortcomings. 

Everyone out there who has landed in even a mildly sticky spot with someone, due to differences in opinion and personality has the perfect right to tell me to go fly a kite. But I also know people who move around with others vastly different from themselves and who because of that, have become so much more interesting themselves. Swallowing our impatience when someone doesn't see things the way we do seems to be a small price to pay for being offered a piece of the beauty of life if only we have the openness to take it.

You don't only make discoveries in laboratories and hundred-year-old peat bogs; discoveries can be made closer to home. Openness and patience, acceptance and respect can open hitherto unknown worlds within people you meet everyday. If you are someone determined to enjoy life to the fullest, then start by enjoying the people around you, forgetting the fact that some of them are mildly irritating or massively insufferable.

Yoland for Delhi show

Yoland for Delhi show


Itching to say something but no one wants to listen to you? Something which annoyed the life out of you or which restored your faith in humanity? Comment, criticism, praise or food for thought - here's an invitation to hang the laundry of your thoughts on 'The Clothes Line'. Write to us and tell the world what's on your mind. How gode! It's amazing how a single word can say so much about a person. Stupid, gorgeous, witty... the list is endless, and new descriptive words are being added everyday. I came across one the other day, it's called 'Gode' - maybe you've heard it? It set me thinking...who exactly are these 'Gode' people? This term usually refers to the non- English speaking crowd, and sometimes even those who prefer to use their native tongue even though their English is pretty okay. But most frequently it is used to describe those of us who are not so quick to ape the latest fad/fashion of the west. But come to think of it, it is the sweat of the 'Gode' that lubricates the machinery of our country. It is their blood that is spilt on the war-front so that others can live. They are people who have remained true to their roots - Sri Lankans each one of them, and proud of it. But what of the people who so disparagingly use this term, the 'Non-Gode' people, so to speak? They are the ultra-Westernised, having a very high regard for themselves. I like to think of them as headless corpses - for their heads are usually floating in the Western world, even though their bodies are over here. Sometimes they even pretend not to know their native tongue. They are those who prefer to turn their noses at our culture and pretend they live in the west.. But how many realise that they stand a good chance of being lookded down upon or worse if they were actually there? Don't get me wrong, I'm not serving sentence on all Westernised people, just the ones who've got carried away and look down on those who haven't lost touch with reality. But as much as a single word can say about someone, a few extra words can provide a clearer picture. For example 'Gode': 'Realistic', 'True to their roots' or even 'Confident about their identity'. How about 'Non-Gode' then? Many interesting additions come to mind. But perhaps 'pitiful' is the only one necessary. A Sri Lankan 


Life is full of confusion that can turn into frustration, It's hard to live upto our ambitions, Some use kindness as their ammunition, & prove to be innocent in their whole vision As they shoot you down to gain position. Be careful of people who tend to be brothers, They use you for their false motives as others, It's hard to love & care for each other, It's like a battle & we all end up in scars, hard to recover. It takes time for us to discover, Wolves in sheep's coats who pretend to be brothers, It's true that life is like a flower, Which blooms and dies at any hour. We all have to take the road of pain, Be sure to use our brains, Live upto what's right though it's a pain, Sacrifice and sometimes wait in vain. Rukshan Lawrence Life is made up of love & dreams I often get scolded by my husband for poring endlessly over romantic novels...historical, Mills & Boon etc. And then I often wonder how can anyone can fail to see the beauty of love in different shades. Characters falling in love and then living happily ever after in a world filled with greed, lust, where love seems to be only a minor part. I often tell him, these books that make me soft, force me to look back at my own life, reflect powerful emotions that human beings suppress which are at last undone through the imagination of the writer. Maybe I'm a dreamer. But I see the world clearly. How people mistake love for lust, how they step further and further away from love itself. And I see what those writers are trying to show...that love is the most powerful and deepest emotion of all...and it comes only once in a lifetime...and that without it life is nothing. Malintha
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