Thursday, August 31, 2006

Circumstance, Compromise and Women

Do women compromise more than men do? I think so. Is this good? I think so. But this is exactly what makes us seem fickle, i guess.

So much in a woman's life is governed by circumstance and chance that perhaps somewhere along the line she learns to choose the easy way. The way to let things unfold as though they have a will of their own. A passivity and a peace that i sometimes feel men completely lack. It is this quality in women that allows us to listen to problems without offering solutions. We know that all problems need not or cannot be solved. We know that sometimes listening is all that is required.

"A conflict is a failed negotiation." - Couldn't this be interpreted to mean that a conflict is a failure to reach a compromise? Most of the conflicts in the world belong to men. It is men who start and fight wars.

What brought this line of thinking on? I was asked recently by a group of friends about my plans for the next six months. I found that i did not have a single answer. You could say i had too many answers or you could say i had none.

Does empowering women mean that they always have control of their life, their destiny? Then maybe i am not so empowered. Circumstance plays a large part in my life as well. And i find that all the terms they use in office for success 'being proactive' and 'being in control' and 'planning' do not have much effect or meaning sometimes. Sometimes you have to just flow with the course of things and relinquish 'control'. I have not yet decided if i feel comfortable about being so out of control with my life.

Such a confused jumble of thoughts. I attended a seminar given by a famous gynaecologist from Chennai recently. This was a seminar on women's health and fitness and it was organized at work. I expected that this women would be modern and liberal in her outlook. She was confident, intelligent and beautiful. Everything i aspired to be. She gave an awesome speech and was very matter of fact when talking about many issues that could have made her audience feel squeamish. She made everyone comfortable. The unmarried, the newly weds, the mothers!! And she told us that in any relationship, it should be the woman who compromises first, because she said.. we have a gift for compromise.

But like all gifts it is a gift that carries with it some bitterness. A woman's endurance and passivity are the reasons she sometimes does not act when she should. Why she bears circumstances of such cruelty and oppression that she never should. I guess we need to know where to draw the line. Erasing the line and refusing any adjustment or compromise or asking for total control is not the answer either.

There is no black or white only shades of grey. I discover this more and more each passing day.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Amadeus and Mediocrity..

A few weeks back i saw this play 'Amadeus'. I'd always wanted to know more about Salieri - Salieri was Mozart's contemporary. Salieri calls himself the patron saint of mediocrity. His one ambition in life was to raise above the mediocre and be famed as the best musician and composer of his time. And he did attain fame. Atleast during his lifetime. He was the court musician for the Prussian King. However Salieri had the misfortune to be born at the same time as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The worst part was that Salieri was the only person who recognized Mozart's genius for what it was. God granted him fame - but he was not happy. He realized that he did not deserve his fame.

Salineri was haunting. He brought back to me those days where i used to feel so disappointed that talent was the only thing that ever counted. Not hard work, not attitude but sheer talent. What do i have against talent, you may ask. Nothing except the fact that it is not earned. You are simply lucky to receive a particular gift. I learnt the hard way to live with my own mediocrity. I may not be the best singer around - but i sing because i love singing. I may not be the best writer around - I write because i love writing. But the mediocrity stings. I wish like Salieri that i could have been a Mozart. Mozart in this play is shown to be completely frivolous, undisciplined and in no way a soul worthy enough to carry the gifts God bestowed on him. God plays cruel jokes on us sometimes, doesn't he. Or maybe they are funny in a way we do not yet comprehend.

Of cracks in perfection

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.

--Leonard Cohen