Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Give and Take

Whenever I wonder about the balance of life, I am quite simply nonplussed. If the basic assumption is you reap what you sow, then what or how much you give finally should equate out to what you get. Yet, that hardly seems to happen. You look around and see that absolute nitwits for whom the word 'bastard' was possibly designed get away by being lousy S-O-Bs while the inherently good and decent ones get the stick.

But this is not about them. It is about the countless times when you have given everything you had to people who have hardly ever stopped to glance at you and thank you for what you have done, and appreciating how much they mean to you and got nothing in return. So much so, that at one point you wonder where do you go from here. What else do you need to make them appreciate you and then you realize that whatever you do, it will not happen. For they are too oblivious of you, too consumed with their own considerations.

It hurts. And you are filled with a sense of wastage.

The other side of the coin is more interesting and more poignant. Many a time, while we are pursuing our set of interests, we commit the same error - an error of utter neglect towards the ones who have given us their love and undying attention. For those, your smile might be the most important thing they look forward to. Maybe, you do smile but not with them, but at them, at their all too apparent folly at the things they do to be with you. In short, you trivialize and insult their emotions. Yet, looking at it purely objectively, they are the ones who deserve you the most. And they are the ones who have been left high and dry.

So, how does this equate out ? Does this ever stop us from making the same mistakes again ? Does this make us more sensitive and teach us to appreciate love as and when we see and feel it ? The feeling of deja-vu is not one which is gratifying irrespective of which end of the spectrum you are at and in both cases, you should be more careful of losing out on the wonderful touch of love because of your inability to appreciate it.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Devdas's Glorification and Parvati's Pain

From the time I read this classic I have always been overwhelmed by its principal protagonist. Devdas, epitomizing the suffering of an unrequited lover. Love has the potential to destroy a soul. And Mr.Chatterjee's words ensured that when you finish the novel a part of you cries with him. In a lonely death yards away from the house of his beloved.

Yet, as I think now, I cannot help but feel that Sarat-babu was too biased and completely oblivious to the plight of Devdas's love interest Parvati. We are never allowed to feel any empathy for her. Saratchandra does not do justice to her. Never for a moment does he delve into the psyche and silent moments of anger, frustration and deprivation which Parvati must have felt.

It is assumed surreptitiously that being a woman, she has accepted her fate and moulded herself and directed her mind to meeting the wants and desires of the household which she was married into. Her aspirations of a life of love with the person she loved, her anger at Devdas's seeming cowardice at not being able to take her with him and the frustration of being with another man, completly shutting her of all the magical moments love can bring is never put forth.

We see that Devdas suffers. His pain, unbearable, finds temporary solace in Chandramukhi and in alcohol. His torment is glorified and Sarat-babu, incredulously puts a white veil to this by implying the purity and intensity of his emotions through his act of abstinence from having a transactional relationship with the courtesan. Implicit also is the assumption that once married and too occupied in her household activities Parvati is happy - for happiness for the woman was defined as having access to wealth and position in lieu of her husband. Ironically, the state of mind or of the heart was never considered for Parvati. The glorification of Devdas and the utter neglect of Parvati and her ordeal, which any woman is likely to go through in such a situation is unfair deserves to be questioned.

Over the years, as I have been exposed to emotions of various kinds, the unfairness to Parvati has made me think. Think about what and how much a woman can endure. Think how little we know of them, how we have, maybe unconsciously pushed their emotions to the fringes and how naive we are when we claim to know them.

Today, when I hear of heartbreaks and stories of lost love and broken relationships, I remember Parvati with her dignified reconciliation to her situation and the weakling that Devdas was - unable to cope up with the failure at love. Makes me wonder, who loved and lost more. Devdas, having given vent to his feelings or Parvati who kept quiet and led a life without ever having the avenues to express and only her own heart to talk to.