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

Wednesday, April 27, 2005
I am very fond of "conversation". People who do not know me too well might be surprised with this admission, but those who do, know it only too well.

The good part about sharing a house with a girl of one's own age group is that there is a wide scope for conversation (I won't call it gossip, since the subject and intent wouldn't qualify it as such). And happily for me, the girl in question, that is, my room-mate, is as fond of conversation as I am.

I have noticed that there are certain people, who love to talk, but have no patience at all to listen. One finds them enlarging on a subject of interest to them (without the least consideration if it could be of any interest to the opposite party), and going on in the same vein for hours, without expecting even so much as a murmur of response. If one struggles to interrupt in the momentary pause-for-breath, and ask a question, or share some related information, one's words are lost, as the fellow having gained some breath, speeds on from where he left off. It is almost as if that person is interested in the sound of his own voice, and the audience is just a necessary accessory for it.

I love to converse, as admitted before, but conversation to me is a "two-way" process, and can happen only with a person who is as interested in listening as in talking. Happily again, my room-mate and I, share this good rapport, and we enjoy our conversations.

These days, there is talk of "marriage" all around. Friends getting married, cousins getting married, parents hinting subtly or not-so-subtly about marriage...and so on. Naturally then, "marriage" is a hot topic of conversation.

We both have our separate views as regards to it, but in the process of sharing our views, we usually gain a little more perspective. Let me share some of it:

I realise that when we talk "marriage" in our traditional set-up, we usually talk of "arranged marriage" or "love marriage". Either you have fallen in love with someone and want to marry them with or without your parents’ wishes, or that your parents have found someone for you and want you to marry them, with or without your wishes. What I find is, there is nothing like a "middle ground". What if a person hasn't fallen in love with anyone, and what if the person doesn't want to just "get married to someone"?

In most of the "arranged marriage" scenarios that I hear about, the bride and groom seem to have got no more insight into each other than a "look at the photo", or, "look at the boy/girl", or, "small talk with everybody and the neighbour present", would allow. The "look at the photo" scenario actually scares the daylights out of me. If I had to choose a person even for a job, I would not want to make a judgment based on the "photo", and it amazes me that people can choose a person for life, based on a photo. The second scenario, though less frightening than the first, is not much less so. Where in a photo, a person can see nothing but the passive features, in the real situation, they can atleast see it in the context of an overall personality. But again, would you ever look at a person in the train, and finding the personality pleasing, decide to marry them? What is, then, different about this situation? I do know that certain things like the family background, the horoscope, etc. would have been matched before-hand (I will not venture into the validity of these considerations), but assuming that the stranger in the train (whom you have only just now looked at), is of a good family, does match with your horoscope, would you consider marrying them? Now coming to the third scenario, which is again, a little less frightening than the second, but again, not much less so. Here you not only get to see the real person before you, but might even be permitted to exchange a few words. This exchange, to my knowledge, happens before the entire troupe present. Even if we relax the scenario a bit, and assume that there is nobody else present, what could you learn about a person in a 1-hour conversation (or more likely 15-mins?) that would make you want to be bound to them for life?

There is no concept, I find, of letting people get to know each other, grow to be friends with each other, find if they complement each other, and then choose if they would like to take the next step. I do agree there are pitfalls on this path too, but isn't it worth all the pitfalls, to know that you will be spending the 'rest of your life' with someone you have grown to respect and love as a friend, than with a total stranger?

A friend of mine once told me, what a friend of his once told him, that lucky are those who find a best friend and partner for life in the same person. I still remember those words and cannot agree more!