Don’t judge others; especially, when you have not walked their path

We must completely avoid judging, or at least opining and commenting on, the lives of people whose path we have never walked.
Shreekumar Varma
Photo Courtesy: The Hindu/Internet
Our good friend, the acclaimed writer and poet, Shreekumar Varma was abducted last fortnight in Senegal, in Western Africa. He has since been freed and is hopefully back home in Chennai. Shreekumar had, it appears, been to Senegal to sell an original painting of Raja Ravi Varma. Interestingly, Shreekumar also hails from Raja Ravi Varma’s family. The story of his abduction broke a couple of days ago in India and his subsequent release has been going viral on social media. What baffles me is the way people are judgmental about Shreekumar and his predicament.
Some of the questions being asked or judgments being pronounced are:
·    Was a ransom paid for his release?
Was the painting itself the ransom?
Shreekumar was a fool to be lured to Senegal to sell an original Ravi Varma painting
Something’s fishy about his visit and the whole story
I wouldn’t ever sell a Ravi Varma original
Maybe he was selling the painting without his family’s knowledge
Now these questions and points of view may be arising out of curiosity because Shreekumar’s story is in the public domain. But is it necessary to pass judgment on matters that don’t concern us directly or of which we have no or limited knowledge. Just because you are on social media, and there is an opportunity and space available to air a comment, don’t opine on people and events that you don’t know anything about.
People who know Shreekumar and his wife Geetha will agree that they are surely among the most genial people on the planet. We have known them only over the last three years, but we have immense regard for them. They conduct themselves with so much humility – despite their lineage and all their accomplishments – and dignity. No one I know knows under what circumstances Shreekumar made that trip to Senegal. I personally don’t think it is relevant. He got into a messy situation there. And the local Indian Embassy, the Ministry of External Affairs and his family worked on securing his release and safe passage back home. Simple. And period. There ends the story. I don’t think anyone has the right to dissect, analyze and pronounce judgment on a matter such as this – especially when they are so totally removed from the truth and the facts.
We have seen how social opinion colored and condemned the passage of justice in the Aarushi case – the Talwar couple serve a jail sentence when there’s not a shred of evidence against them! Vaani and I have also been at the receiving end of unsolicited public pronouncements and judgments. So, we surely know how it feels. We have learnt to be detached from what people have to say about us. But sadly not everyone may have that ability.  
Let us understand and appreciate that people – that includes you and me – do things in Life with their own rationale and logic. Sometimes, things go horribly wrong despite all the intent and planning. So, people do end up in a circumstance that they never quite believed they will ever be in. Everyone’s story has only one truth. And unless you know what that truth is, don’t speculate, don’t opine, and most important, don’t judge anyone. Apart from puncturing the morale of those you judge, it is, quite honestly, a total waste of your time and, seriously, none of your business! 

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