When Anti-Racism Becomes The New Racism
I remember Akarth (not his real name) who was one of my very first friends when I moved to India in 2014. I don’t know for sure whether it is because of my dominant introversion but something about me values friendships much more than most people or at least, much more than the value most people admittedly place on their friendships.
There are many people who could consider me as their friend but in my reality, they are just familiar strangers. I may have their phone numbers, and maybe we even talk very often but their names don’t show up anywhere in my mental friendship book.
Therefore, when I refer to Akarth as my friend, I am not just referring to someone within my social circles. I am referring to someone I really liked and considered a friend and the true sense of the word.
What made me really like Akarth is hard to point to because it was many things that had to come together for me to accept that connection but if you were to point out one of the most important factors, it was his brutal honesty.
Akarth always made sure you knew what he was thinking. If he wanted to know something, he was never afraid to ask. I think this was because he was young at the time which made him less concerned with what would be considered appropriate. He was quiet just like me, but once you got to know him, he too ran his mouth by miles a minute which made for a curiosity you rarely find among 17-year-olds.
I was 21 at that time, and even if 17-year-olds like Akarth were my classmates, I knew we weren’t the same and I didn’t want anything to do with them. The truth is that I was broken and this had happened when I was 18 so I was scared of being a bad influence on those young classmates of mine.
I also took steps to make sure I was never in their company. But Akarth went out of his way to still make conversations with me. His conversations were also not the common shallow questions that many of my schoolmates used to engage in with each other. I hated questions such as “what is your native?” or “Had breakfast/lunch/dinner?” And Akarth never asked me any of those. He always asked what he really wanted to ask.