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More Than One Story

Updated on January 2, 2014

So often, we have stereotyped images of people who are not like us – and that’s all the story we know about them. We see things the way we want them, very often in black and white. I listened to a talk the other day by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a writer from Nigeria and what she had to stay made me stop and think, really hard. What she has to say is this: we need more than a single story about others before we can make up our minds about them. And yet, we so easily tend to fall into the trap of believing and judging from just one story. So often, we let that one story shape our perception,our opinions.

I must confess that I suffered from the one-story syndrome too when I was younger. Much of it was to do with the American Consulate in Bombay, where I lived. To get a visa, one had to stand in a queue from 4 am in the morning. I know people who picked out their shoes so they would be as comfortable as they could, knowing full well that they could be there for hours. What was worse, they very often could not get in - only a stipulated number was allowed in - and they had to go back the next day. For me, that was enough to judge and I must admit I judged quite harshly. Call it pride, call it sheer laziness, call it cussedness – I just refused to go. For me, anyone who made it so difficult for someone to get into their country wasn’t going to make me beg to get in, least of all, stand around waiting for hours before it even came to the begging stage. I was very content to travel to any of the wonderful places east of the Atlantic.


This carried on even to my working years – if ever there was a seminar in the US, my juniors went. That was one of the reasons they loved working for me! So there I was, stuck with one story. All because getting a visa was so tough. Then things changed, became more liberal, visas could be got making an appointment. So we went and we were out in five minutes! The one story stopped being so rigid but it wasn’t till I traveled through America that I realized how wrong my perceptions had been. Warm, friendly people, always smiling and what impressed me most of all – so, so honest. The one story faded to be replaced with a much more balanced view. One in which a country’s policy didn’t really mean its people – the two could be two different worlds.

It’s taken me a while to get to this point when I have to write my 100th hub and I wondered what on earth I was going to write about. When I viewed this video, I knew this was it because what the writer talks about is taking place right here on HubPages. Most of us come to a community with preconceived notions about people and our perceptions have at best, in most cases, been woefully lacking. It’s amazing how interaction tends to make our one story grow to a balance of many stories. Writing opens the doors to help us see better, judge better, gauge better. Yes, there will always be a few with rigid viewpoints who refuse to see beyond the blinkers they wear but for most of us, it’s an opening up of minds, of hearts, of new stories being written for a better and more balanced picture.


So I’d like to say Thank You to all of you who have made my one story multiply to many. Here are one hundred hubbers who have made my stay at HubPages truly enjoyable!


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    • dianacharles profile image

      dianacharles 7 years ago from India

      What a beautiful 100th hub and how very true. I think most of us are victims of judging by a single story. Why judge at all in fact? I suppose, human nature and I am as guilty as my neighbour :(

      I have to come back to see that video, it is not streaming right now.

      Congratulations on your 100th hub and your 100 score. I see a lot of my favourites in your hundred hubbers. :)

    • dusanotes profile image

      dusanotes 7 years ago from Windermere, FL

      Thank you for this very endearing Hub. Good luck to you on your next one hundred. Don White

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      Thank you for counting me among your friends. It is a privilege to be in such great company!

    • Feline Prophet profile image

      Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

      Congratulations on your 100th Shal...and thank you for including me in your story! :)

      Here's to many more!

    • Jaspal profile image

      Jaspal 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      What a wonderful hub Shalini. Congratulations, not only on your 100th hub, but also for your perfect score of 100.

      Thank you for including me in your list - it's a pleasure reading your hubs! :)

    • jiberish profile image

      jiberish 7 years ago from florida

      Congrad's and thank you for some wonderful reads.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Congratulations on your worthy land mark and an excellent hub.

      you may be interested in my hub Parsley and Time, where your article on Bach flower remedies are mentioned

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Diana - thank you! Hope you can watch it - it's wonderful!

      Don - thanks for reading, as always!

      breakfastpop - I count it a privilege to be able to read your hubs!

      FP - thank you - did you ever think you wouldn't be there? :P

      Jaspal - may I return the compliment? Always a pleasure!

      jiberish - thanks - I appreciate it.

      D.A.L. - thank you - I will go look.

    • Laila Rajaratnam profile image

      Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India

      Shalini, as usual another beautiful hub!Congrats on your 100th hub and 100 score!:)Thanks for including me in this elite company.:)Love your hubs! :)

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 7 years ago from West By God

      First impressions are not always what the person is really like. Judging someone is like looking at a single facet of a diamond and not seeing the rest of it's brilliance.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Laila - thanks for reading :)

      Lady G - that's such beautiful and relevant imagery!

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      Ah Shalini! You've honored me.. and it's I who should honor you.. you were one of the first, along with Feline Prophet and Jamagene, to turn my world inside out. I'll never ever forget the midnight laughfest over one of my goofy first hubs about eating school paste. Thought I was gonna die. I adore you so much, respect you even more.

      Congrats on your 100th hub and I look forward to each one you do! Lots of love.. me! PS.. can't wait till Ag sees his pretty face in here! You have the whole gang! Nice!

    • shamelabboush profile image

      shamelabboush 7 years ago

      Congrats on your 100th hubs Shalini, you deserve the best! Thanks.

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      I am thrilled to be part of your montage, Shalini! I have listened to the video and I agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly. Your American experience makes me laugh very hard. But I would have reacted in similar fashion, had I been confronted with such a elitist attitude... Congratulations on achieving 100 hubs!!

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Wow! Congratulations on your 100th hub, Shalini! I loved it! I'm honored to be a part of your montage, as Storytellersrus put it and only regret that I didn't have my real avatar at the time you created it. I'm honored to be a part of your circle of Hubbers. You certainly had a story to tell! Many happy returns :D

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Candie - yes, that was such fun - and you've lit up my life on HP ever since - thank you so much! I quite forgot to include the bunyip :D

      shamel - that's so kind of you - thanks!

      S - thank you - I look back and tell myself I was so stupid! Thank goodness for a child and the call of Disneyworld to make me change my perceptions!

      Dohn - I'm honoured to be able to read you here - thanks for coming by :)

    • profile image

      ColdWarBaby 7 years ago

      Wise words and an important message for your hundredth hub. I too am honored to be included in your montage.

      Thank you, for this and the many rewarding exchanges we have had. Hopefully there are many more to come.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      CWB - thanks so much! It's meant a lot to me to have come across someone with such integrity and dedication to the cause of humanness - and I look forward to many rewarding exchanges too.

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      What a beautiful, beautiful hub- you touch on topic dear to my heart, which is to see past our limited perceptions, to embrace diversity. This is why I loved living in NY as I experienced friendships with people from various races and cultures, and I learned at the core we are all the same; we loved, laughed, cried and shared dreams.

      Thank you for including me, its an honor. :)

      Congratulations on your 100th hub!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Dear VioletSun - thank you so much! Yes, that's what I loved about NY - and I've found the same kind of feeling in London and Bombay - so much diversity living together in relative harmony - and realising that underneath it all, we are the same.

    • blondepoet profile image

      blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

      Wow Shalini this is nearly as awesome as you chickadee, thankyou so much for the mention....missed you heaps and heaps xoxo

    • Catherine R profile image

      Catherine R 7 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Congratulations on 100! What a wonderful video from Chimamanda Adichie. I really enjoyed it - thank you for introducing me to her. I am ashamed to say that I was guilty of the single story syndrome with regards to Nigeria (even though I have been to several African countries which makes it worse). Listening to her brilliant talk has been an excellent lesson to me.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      BP - it's so good to see you back and active on HP - we all missed you so much! How can I not mention one of the nicest hubbers I know? :)

      Catherine - thanks for reading. I think all of us have preconceived notions - I do believe the Internet is slowly diffusing them though!

    • dianacharles profile image

      dianacharles 7 years ago from India

      No......still haven't managed to get it to run beyond a few seconds :(

      Shucks,didn't expect to see my moniker there among the 100...thankee kind lady.

    • profile image

      ColdWarBaby 7 years ago

      Having just finished watching the embedded video I am compelled to return and thank you again. Your awareness and acuity have, once more, given me an invaluable source of inspiration.

      Chimamanda Adichie manages to explain, among other things, in a few words, exactly how the propaganda machine of amerikan mass media has inculcated so much ignorance and misunderstanding in the people here. The single story, repeated until it becomes the one truth, even when it is a lie.

      Education, the free and honest dissemination of information and knowledge, to all people, is absolutely essential in the creation of a harmonious, global society, a real civilization.

      I struggle to drag monsters out of the darkness for all to see. You shine the light of possibility upon them, showing them for what they are and proving their vulnerability.

      Thank you for shining your light in the darkness.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Hi Diana - maybe you could try this: link:

      Hope it works for you!

      CWB - I'm glad the video inspired you. I feel people all over the world are the same - we all wear blinkers and judge by a single story so very often. Yes, the light of education is perhaps vital is dispelling this blinkered view. I do hope the Internet plays its part in making that possible. I know you'll shine on CWB, whatever the odds!

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines


      This hub reminds me of Kurosawa's Rashomon - that there are many sides to a story. Like why did the others endured the long hours at the embassy when you didnt? I mean why a hubber you "dislike" is "liked" by most? Before I totally meander farther from the subject at hand let me say that it's the "getting to know" you part is almost always the most fun anyway!

      And oh, congratulations on the 100th hub! I'm glad to know I somehow make your stay here enjoyable (let's just say I know how to return a favor :D)

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Another Akira Kurosawa fan? I should have known! Yes, Cris, you've hit the nail on the head. What a classic that is!

      'Getting to know' someone or something is, as you say, the most fun - one wonders why more don't do it!

      You've made not just my stay enjoyable Cris - but so many more!

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Wow! Congrats on your 100th hub! Like you I also suffered from the one-story syndrome during my younger days. I am happy I have gotten over that early on when one of the people I used to dislike (because of first impression) became one of my best friends.

      I am also pleasantly surprised and honored that you included me in your circle of hubbers. Thank you very much! If ever I get to my 100th hub and make a similar list, you will certainly on it too! I can also see that we have several hubber friends in common. It means we enjoy the same company!

      I'm certainly looking forward to your next 100 hubs! Congrats again! God bless!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Thanks for reading Jill - so glad to have discovered you and your wonderful artistic hubs on HP :)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 7 years ago

      Hi Shal!

      My heartiest congratulations on your 100th Hub! I am really honored that you have included my avatar in your top 100!

      This particular Hub of yours is a great one too, as it spotlights an important issue.

      Anyway, cheers and great celebrations all around. Looking forward to your 1000th hub!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Thank you, quicksand - you've been such a wonderful part of my HP journey :)

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Shalini, thank you so much for including me in your montage.

      We do so need more than a single story about others; unfortunately, perhaps because of the way we are raised...where parents feel they have much to fear and much to protect their children from...some of us never get more than one story.

      HP is definitely a place to learn to transcend such barriers.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Hi Sally's Trove - thanks for reading. Yes, fear is usually the driver - isn't it wonderful how the virtual world has the power to change things?

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Hi I was truly inspired by this. I posted a link to this on my new hub, haven't published it yet. I wanted to make sure it was okay first. Thanks again-Tammy

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      Hi me again I published the hub, let me know if you want me to take your story out.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Hi Tammy - thank you so much for the link. Sorry I was out and didn't read this till now. Off to read your hub.

    • Taichichuan profile image

      Taichichuan 7 years ago

      Great new! We are not alone on this Earth! I did not know Chimamanda Adichie,she is a great Lady. Congratulations for this 100th hub. I give you the black belt.

      Carry on your good work.


    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Thank you Taichichuan - I am honoured!

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Shalini I have always enjoyed reading your hubs and I am still in awe when I jump and read, Congratulations on your 100th hub and I hope that you will write one hundred more. :)

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      AE - always a pleasure to see you - thanks for stopping by!

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      WOW, What a great idea for your 100th hub! I must admit seeing that the video was almost 20 minutes was a deterrent. However, now 20 minutes later, I am so glad that I listened to what the young lady had to say. What a powerful, meaningful, speech that everyone should hear and learn from. Thanks for sharing!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Thank you, Money Glitch - yes, it really is a powerful message, isn't it?

    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

      Thank you Shalini. I enjoyed this hub. A sort of don't judge the book by its cover. So true about people, places, food and much more. Everything has more than one story to tell.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Hi Peter - thanks for reading - and for being a hubber who's been a part of my wonderful HP experience!

    • oscillationatend profile image

      oscillationatend 6 years ago from a recovering narcissist.

      This is such a great message.

      I, too, have been known to be unforgiving in certain circumstances, but only if someone I knew did things I disliked. I came back around later on, though.

      I'm notoriously apathetic about what people say about each other behind their backs. When it gets really strong, though, I have to back people up. We can't decide who is good and who is bad based on the merit of the small amount of time we share with them.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      Thank you oscillationatend. Yes, we really can't decide with so little knowledge can we?

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