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Profile Incorporated (standard:non fiction, 2659 words)
Author: JuggernautAdded: Nov 13 2010Views/Reads: 1334/788Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
We profile everybody everyday, it just the way of life.

Profile Incorporated 


Subba Rao 

When I was 10 years old, my grandmother warned me not to play again with
a neighborhood boy. She gave the impression that she knew something 
about him that I didn't know.  Apparently, my grandmother profiled this 
boy quickly just by his looks and his accent. After I grew older I 
realized that he belonged to a caste that was considered at that time 
not good enough for me to associate with. 

On the first day of my school, the headmaster, a tall man with a slight
humpback wearing the traditional Indian garb singled me out.  With 
curious look, he said  “you are going to get good grades at this school 
just like your uncles and your father.” 

I pretended as if I didn't hear and continue to fill the registration

He repeated his statement. 

“I will try,” I said in a timid voice. 

“Be bold, I am sure you will,” the Headmaster was insistent in his

When I was young, almost everybody who had never met me before
identified my caste just by my looks, mannerisms and the way I 
pronounced words. On the very first day in the classroom, my class 
teacher twisted my ears and said, “I know who you are.” 

I felt like kicking him for pinching my ears painfully hard but then he
was my teacher; I smiled instead, nodding my head up and down, a sign 
of docile agreement with his comment. 

On the very first day on my job as a chemistry instructor, I was pretty
nervous since it was my first assignment as a teacher in front of over 
40 students. Somehow I managed the class to my satisfaction. A senior 
colleague congratulated my performance and commented that it was what 
he expected from people of my caste, as I fit into a pre-existing 
profile already implanted in his mind. 

Several years later, thousands of miles away from my home in India, I
was relaxing on Manzanilla beach in East Trinidad. The sand is coarse 
and black and the water cloudy with silt drained from the surrounding 
hillsides.  The only attraction of the beach was coconut trees and 
tranquility. A black man walking pass me casually picked up a 
conversation and invariably ended up talking about cricket, a sport 
Trinidadians and other West Indians are crazy about. 

“Andy Roberts and Michael Holding, make you guys tremble and piss in
their pants, man,” he said. 

Both Roberts and Holding were legends in fast bowling in the 70's and
truly scared the hell out of Indian cricketers at that time. But, how I 
came in to the picture, I thought. I was just laying down on the beach, 
which was deserted on that day. 

“Yeah, Yeah, I know those guys are pretty fast, but what you think about
Gavaskar, didn't he scored a century against them?” I asked, jokingly. 
Gavaskar was a famous cricket player from India in 70's. 

“True, true man,” he shook his head, and slowly walked away leaving big
footprints on the wet sand. I had been screened and profiled by this 
cricket enthusiast in a few minutes, that I was from India. I don't 
think he meant to be rude in any way. 

Travelling in a minivan in Jamaica is an experience one cannot forget.
People without private cars travel in minivans operated privately by 
ruthless drivers and the conductors or hustlers who collect the fare 
and jam the van with the passengers. The drivers often let off the 
passengers on the roadside at any point in the trip without reaching 
their respective destinations if the passengers in the van were very 

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