I believe that to a large extent our personalities are shaped,very early in life. Our childhood environment and the way we are brought up,the experiences we have and the view our parents provide us of the world, makes us what we are.

I grew up in India as I have said before. My father has had his education the England. He was sent to prep school at the tender age of eight, and remained here untill he finished his degree.

Though my mother came from a sheltered background,her father was a very forward looking man, a scholar and an author of many books on the history of the region,the South,which was then known as the Deccan.

My father joined the Indian army after returning to India,so soon after their marriage they went away to live away from their respective families. My mother quickly transformed, into a modern westernised woman. Her long black hair were cut and permed. She started wearing make up, a teacher was appointed to teach her spoken English and teach her the ways of the western society. She very quickly adopted those, and by the time I came on the scene, the family life was very British!

We had toast, marmalade and egg and sausages for breakfast, and throughout my childhood we had a cook who made western dishes, and another who cooked Indian cuisine. So dinner will have three courses, and a delightful mixture of diverse food stuff.

So I grew up among British White, Hindus, Parsis and all other religions and customs. During Hindu festivals it was traditional that all Muslim friends were invited and vice versa. This was however not the norm. When we returned to our native place, the relatives were quite conservative. They somehow were not too pleased by our cosmopolitan life style. Life there was divided into castes, communities and religions.
I remember my aunts asking me if my mother went to the parties, and did she “eat and drink” with all the men! Not knowing the score I would tell tales and my mother will have to endure cutting remarks.

My father questioned all religious practices, he had read extensively about all the major religions, and decided that he liked none of them and would not be an adherent to any! So we had the freedom to choose,if we wanted to follow a faith or just believe in ourselves!
My sister and I both did have the freedom to read and find out about other faiths, and though my sister became a devout Muslim, I believed in being a decent human being and believing that you did not need a doctrine to do the right thing.
So am I right in believing that if you are brought up in a diverse and open environment you remain free of prejudice? Or is it necessary to have an adherence to a faith to keep you on the straight and narrow?

I  wonder more now that am getting older, I wonder if I would have been a better person have I adhered to a faith?

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