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?