Ever have something you did or said affect anyone? It probably happens more often than you know.
We were speaking to each other after a long time. I have known her (call her sunita) since we were children when I was staying with my grandmother as a young school girl. She was my only companion out of school as we did not have too many neighbours with young children. We would play together whenever we could (not every day). With time, I was back with my parents and we would meet during the summer holidays on and off. Eventually, my trips to my grandmothers" grew less and the distance between us increased. Then I heard that she got married and moved to Canada.
We both got busy with our respective families and lost touch. Recently, I happened to be in her part of the world and I called her up. After the initial exchange of information on kids' names, ages,where and how we were doing, etc we got talking about old times.In an emotion charged voice she said that she always thought of me very fondly as " You were the only one who did not ever mention the dark colour of my skin" she said. Stunned as I was about such a revelation (people whom I expected emotion for nice things I believe I have done , have often shown none) I managed to say something appropriate and eventually we signed off with promises to keep in touch.
It hoever set me thinking. Here was woman on the wrong side of forty, with grown up kids and a decent life, who had clung to a memory that was not demeaning. It was not as if I had actively encouraged her to not think of her skin colour, it was just that it never even occured to me as different(Thank god for parents who never even brought such things to our notice). Now that I think back, I remember that her cousins and even her own siblings would tease her. Maybe she was teased in school too. So, by no real credit to me, I stood out as someone nice.
The more I thought about it the more I realized that you can touch a life without even knowing it. If it works in the positive, it must work the other way too.( I am sure there are people whom I have hurt too, just as unknowingly!).
As for me, I have decided to be more careful about how and what I say. Now, if only my tongue doesn't get the better of me!