To Be or Not To Be

A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well.
-- Louisa May Alcott.
...........hmmm....that more or less describes my situation !!

~A Wise Man Said~

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
-- Aristotle

Sunday, September 28, 2003
Quite some time back I had written about intending to read a book, "Conquest of Happiness" by Bertrand Russell. Took my own sweet time over it; firstly because the opening few pages did not encourage me to read further, and second, some books are to be chewed and not just tasted.

There are quite a few ideas in it that I would have liked to share -- some that I agreed with and some that I did not. For the present, let me take up one.

Here’s an extract –

A woman who nevertheless does take the plunge (marriage) finds herself, as compared with the women of former generations, confronted with a new and appalling problem, namely, the paucity and bad quality of domestic service. In consequence of this, she becomes tied to her house, compelled to perform herself a thousand trivial tasks quite unworthy of her ability and training, or, if she does not perform them herself, to ruin her temper by scolding the maids who neglect them.

In regard to the physical care of her children, if she has taken pains to become well-informed in this matter, she finds that it is impossible, without grave risk of disaster, to entrust the children to nurses, or even to leave to others the most elementary precautions in regard to cleanliness and hygiene unless she can afford a nurse who has had an extensive training at some institute. Weighed down by a mass of trivial detail, she is fortunate indeed if she does not soon lose all her charm and three-quarters of her intelligence.

Too often through the mere performance of necessary duties such women become wearisome to their husbands and a nuisance to their children. When the evening comes and her husband returns from his work, the woman who talks about her day time troubles is a bore, and the woman who does not is absent-minded.

In relation to her children, the sacrifices she has made in order to have them are so present to her mind that she is almost sure to demand more reward than it is desirable to expect, while the constant habit of attending to trivial details will have made her fussy and small minded.

This is the most pernicious of all injustices that she has to suffer; that in consequence of doing her duty by her family she has lost their affection, whereas, if she had neglected them and remained gay and charming, they would probably have loved her.”

…The truth of the last paragraph particularly struck me, especially as I could relate it to the way I have felt about my own mother. There are times when I have found myself feeling guilty with the thought of how much she must have sacrificed to bring us up…and the consequent thought of how little I seem to value her sacrifices. I have also felt angry and wished she would have lived her life for her own self as much as for her children. I have felt sad...maybe as a mother feels happy when she knows her children are happy…even the children feel happier with the knowledge that their parents are happy and by depriving themselves of happiness for our sake…how can they expect to see us happy?

Had written a poem a very long time ago, at a critical moment…when I was particularly sensible of all that my mother had done for me…

An unhappier daughter never ever lived
Who loved her mother but did not know until

Things went very much out of hand
And life had taken a deadly stand

Her thoughts would fly to the days gone by
When never a day went her mother didn’t sigh

Problems and troubles were her closest mates
Her daughter had hardly any time to waste

To see her mother toil morn, noon and night
Her heart grew heavy, but beat alright.

…In other news, I am planning a small trip southwards in the coming week. Very much looking forward to it! Till then! :)