Monday, July 20, 2009

Chewing the cud....

I read a beautiful quote in this book I'm reading - The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. I'm normally not the first person to remember and harp on about quotes, but something about this quote touched me somewhere deep inside.

It's attributed to Draupadi, from whose eyes this book describes The Mahabharata. She's an extremely strong woman with a point of view. Perhaps what charms me most about her, is that she's very human, very like any of us. Someone with her own grouses and expectations. Self-centred, manipulative, proud and refusing to be treated as an object by the men around her, she's someone we might encounter in our everyday lives. She's bold and she's attractive. That's how I like my women characters!

There's a situation in the book, where she is being told the Nala Damayanti story. And although she doesn't show that she isn't convinced with Damayanti's way of proving her undying love for her husband, she questions herself with:

At what point does forbearance cease to become a virtue and becomes a weakness?

This is something I've asked myself quite a number of times, although not worded so beautifully. Those who know me really well, will know that I'm always in two minds about something. Not because I am afraid what the world will say, but because I know it will affect my loved ones' lives, someway or the other.

Don't most of us prefer to remain silent, so that the people who matter the most can remain happy? Don't we keep mum about certain things when we should have spoken up, preferring to let someone shoot an arrow through our hearts instead? Sometimes it may be for love, sometimes pure weakness.

Why else do we prefer to listen to colleagues sitting on our heads instead of showing them their place?

Why else do we prefer marrying people who we don't want to, if not to keep our parents happy?

Why do we continue working on jobs that we hate, except not to disappoint those around us?

Why do we doing things against our wishes, values, principles, if not for some weakness for someone who may or may not even matter?

If we look back at the times we've put forward someone else before us, we'd come up with a big number. I know I would. I've lived a happy, wholesome life so far...But there are those times that I wish I'd spoken up. The times I wish I'd kept only myself in mind and just my happiness. The times I knew I'd truly be happy had I not given someone else a thought.

I wonder why we bear so much. And seriously, when does that make us virtuous and when does it make us weak?


Sakshi said...

I don't know!!! Virtues... values and love- at times it feels like you are not in a relationship (it can be any kind of a relationship mind you, parents, lovers... even friends) you are doing a barter system- just because someone made you happy or did something for you- in any way- you tend to give back. In any way.
It has become a circle... and sometimes the truth about the whole relationship being pure and being unconditional goes out of the window.
TIT for TAT.

And trust me Moo- you know me, and you know how I wish- I could just be me.. and do as I like, rather than putting people whom I love ahead of my dreams.

What I fail to understand is- if we are ready to sacrifice for the ones we love... then why don't they understand our happiness and support us to be happy?? rather than expecting the sacrifice for their happiness- Isn't that being unfair??

Mugger Much said...

This might sound quite selfish, but it's something I learned over the last few years:

Life's too short. Make your own rules. Do your own thing. Be free.

Seriously, there are major opportunity costs involved in not following your ambitions and dreams. It's far better to try and possibly fail now than to regret not doing it during the sunset of your life.

As Sakshi pointed out, relationships are inherently transactional, though we as humans tend to pretend that this is not true. I don't think we are very well equipped in terms of emotional and intellectual baggage to weigh each relationship in terms of its ideal Platonic form.

Like every rebellious teenager with a liking for books, I loved Ayn Rand's books. And, yet, as I grew older, objectivism lost its charm. There's something about humanity that's so endearing, despite all our flaws.

the white phoenix said...

beautifulllllllllllllll post. Loved it.
Its happened to me so many times. And i got tired of making others happy as tehy were never satisfied.
Believe me if you start doing your own thing, everybody is automatically happy.

Loved the post :)

My Foot? said...

Ah! You called this article 'a ramble'. Damn you girl! You're fun to read...

I won't ponder too much upon what you've said or I might go into flashback mode..
Damn! Too late :(

*goes into flashback mode*

Moo said...

@ Sakshi,
So true. But don't you think, that in the way that we give up something for someone else's happiness without them knowing, they must be doing the same for us, without us realising it. That could be one more way we look at this. :)

@ Mugger Much,
I'm working on making myself happy. Although goodness knows the sucker that I am, I'm going to end up with the short end of the stick. :)

@ Pratsie,
Wow! Was the post lovely enough to make you comment? :D Lol. Thanks for the unexpected kind words. Really made my day. Perhaps that was the whole point of the post - to make one introspect!

@ My Foot?
Your blog gets revamped, your identity changes and I come to know of it like this? NOT cool. :(

Anyway, I do hope you're back from flashbacky mode. :D

Meghana Naidu said...

i dont know how this might sound(preachy maybe ;) ) but i dont relate to the points you raise almost to an extent of not understanding them.
i DO know they are very valid questions because i see so many around me asking themselves this.
and i experience the same, from studying in a system i detest to having to world constantly try to manipulate you.

But it shouldnt be that difficult, you shouldnt have to compromise on everything and al the time that too,
its vey simple really, and like you, ive tried forever to put my thoughts on this into words

but these from ayn rand's 'atlas shrugged' were almost like a 'life oath' after i first read them

"I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man; nor ask another man to live for mine."

so its shouldnt be that difficult... right? ;)

oRange said...

seriously, very true!

there comes a time when u just get tired of pleasing everyone else around u.
right now the age of 18 i might say that i will never settle for things against my wishes to make the ones around me happy ..whether its some job or marriage ..whatever but i really dont know how things might turn out 10 years later ..
i hope to not forget all i have in mind now. im scared ..i might just give in when the time comes ..

Miss M said...

I need to get my hands on this book. Quite a few bloggers recommended it to me.

Sreejit said...

I agree to yr blog and also to what Sakshi says, but then there is another point of view to it. If your action hurts people close to you, can you live with that guilt forever in your life. I mean ppl real close to you, may b parents, best friends and spouse(GF/BF).

So at best its a choice, whether to do what u want to do and stand by it or do what pleases others and bury ur needs.