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People construe the demeanor of another to mean different things. Shyness, arrogance, sadness, guilt, indifference, cunning, pride, you name it. This makes me conclude that it is not really about the person or their demeanor, rather something to do with the person making the assumptions.

In middle school I joined a new school in a new state as a result of father’s transfer to a new place. As the new girl who hadn’t yet settled in, I rarely spoke to anyone. The class already had well established groups whose formation went as far back as nursery days. I was also terrified of crossing the high-school section of the school while walking to my classroom from the where the school bus dropped us. I would notice (from the corner of my eye) some of the more ‘awesome’ older girls, prize winners in various fields, sitting or standing around in groups and chatting.

In the course of the year, did make some friends in my class. I also got the opportunity to see more of some of the ‘awesome’ ones too, when we all became part of the same dance group representing the school. A few days afterwards, one of the by now friendly seniors turned to me and remarked, ‘You know, we thought you were a stuck-up kid. But hey, you are okay, not arrogant like we thought!’ Arrogant? Stuck-up? WHY would anyone think that of me! I was puzzled as heck. To this day I wonder what gave them the idea. I merely walked past them on the way to my classroom! I am glad though that they changed their mind after getting to know me.

© Shail Mohan 2020