SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Sunday, May 24, 2009

All the world's a stage...

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,

These words run through my mind like canned laughter. Intercepting my thoughts to laugh mockingly at the way I deliver my dialogs, at the manner by which I choose to act my part, at the importance I give to my fellow cast and crew (I mean family and friends!), and the kind of interaction I have with them.

The roles we play: do we choose them or do they choose us?

I found Shakespeare… to ponder over the many roles that we as people play at many different times in our lives. We even find ourselves playing multiple parts at the same time. (It reminds me of a play I once saw, called My Dear Exorcist, which has the leading characters changing their dresses every 2 minutes, some amazing role play!! Real life it seems only mimics that!)

How apt to call this world a stage. Many of us like to take the center stage, others prefer being a part of the supporting cast. Still many others want to remain in the audience, applauding or jeering but refusing to join the fray ( by the way, these are the philosophers!!).

Sometimes this is further complicated, when we wish to be center stage but find ourselves thrust into a supporting role. Do we accept and wear the grease paint and play the role with a smile, or do we fight and resist, protest and plead that we should have the lead?

Yet, eventually we learn to accept and accede the part assigned to us. We play the role and partake in its pleasures and pain. (Leading role or supporting cast, are we not both at the same time…sometimes neither in the larger picture?!)

Another angle to this, are those, who may have an insignificant part in the drama of life but give such a compelling performance that their presence becomes significant and center stage. They are the character artistes, who leave an indelible mark in our minds, who change the way we perceive, who impact us with their powerful performance.

In the microcosmic arena of our life, within that radius of our viewer ship, these roles and the people who play them are those whom we try and emulate consciously, often unconsciously. They are our role models.

The stage we enter and exit: do we have a choice?

The role we play at any stage (and every) in life is determined by the stage on which we ascend that role. We don’t choose the family we are born into, we don’t choose our parents, we don’t choose our siblings, we don’t choose our blood ties, (yet again exceptions exist, when we choose to adopt).

Some of us are fortunate, while others are not fortunate enough to make an entry at a suitable time; circumstances and environment compel us to choose a life and manner of living that may be beyond our control. The Srilankans in Jaffna, or the Africans in Ethiopia, can only hope to survive the maelstrom, which is their life. Direction and production is not within their scope.

The stage culture may be different, the geographies may be varied, and its values and morality may orient the character. Yet the same scenes do get enacted by others, in many and different places, most probably in a similar fashion, and with similar intent. (Making me ruminate over the commonality we share with fellow performers.)

The ups and downs of what we experience as life, is the ever changing scenario that passes around us and that we are a part of. We can only ad lib our way through, as the dialogs we deliver are written nowhere else. But, we hold a copy write for the words we use!!

The script writer is within us, and without! Very simply, the script is written by our wants, needs and expectations, at different stages in time. So in that, almost all of us are similar. The difference may lie only in what we want, need and expect at that particular time, and the extent to which, this is congruent to the outside world/people.

The final production: is it of our making?

The entry we make is not in our hands nor is the exit. The only choice we have is to make the interim within our direction. Even in that we have our own limitations. We don’t work with a preplanned script, and scripting our own story is the greatest challenge.

Looking back at the final production, we realize that this entire drama is a complex, multi staged, multi role, mega-production and directional endeavor, in the sitcom genre! It has all the ingredients, pathos, prejudice, jealousy, anger, ambition, love, humor and much more more!

Whichever ingredient takes precedence, all that the artiste wants is to see success. To gather applause and to hear accolades, that's the wish of every person. Critics will abound but accomplishments will speak for itself, and the stage player is content and happy to gather both bouquet and brickbat at the end of the play!

Ultimately, to make one's life a super hit show, is the dream!

I leave you with these thoughts and go on... to enact my role in the stage of life...

...and as they say in show biz;
"The show must go on" act on..

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Poor Expectant Father...

Here is one story that I am doing out of compulsion! A compulsion to be fair and open. A compulsion which drives me to see things as it is! A compulsion to tell things as it is.

So, that's enough with the prelude, let me get to the point. I am compelled to write about the poor expectant father syndrome(PEF)!
In all fairness, they are the poor neglected lot. We fuss over the mother-to-be. We inquire about her health. Is she eating well, is she resting, walking, reading good books, thinking good thoughts?!!
Morning sickness, is it bad? Does it happen in the evening? Oh, yes that can happen too...
Baby moving, funny feeling isn't it? Is she kicking badly? Does it hurt?
You poor thing!

BUT what about that guy who occupies the same space as that pampered soul?

(Ok Ok, I can see some women, up in arms. "He" did not pamper me could be their contention. Mmm... possible! But I talk about the general population. The average expectant mother is pampered by her better half and we rarely talk about Him!!)

He is the one who waits patiently outside the clinic room as our EM (expectant mother!), is scanned and scrutinized. Imagine his agony, he bites his nails as he waits for the verdict. "To be or not To be", that is the question. ( For some this phase may be skipped as home pregnancy kits makes it possible for couples nowadays, to avoid such doubt ridden anxiety sessions...It did for us!)

Of course He realizes now that this is just the beginning. This scene is to be repeated every month for the next 7 months and then after that even more frequently!! More so, post baby, for then the specialization of the medico may change but the frequency only sky rockets!!

Let me not forget the number of times he is dragged to the clinic because EM feels funny! Her anxiety rubs off and the Poor Expectant Father has no option but to drop every thing, and drive her straight to the OB/GYN, whose amused, supercilious smile doesn't fail to irritate!
All First-Time mothers are this way; is the advice given. You need to reassure her; is the feedback.(But they forget its First time for Him too!!)

Middle of the night crying sessions on topics and issues long forgotten are common place: hormonal changes, mood swings, is what PEF reads up discreetly from Dr.Spocks. So he bears with it, stoically!!
Cravings somehow hit the beloved at midnight too, probably as a prelude to the preparation required for the babies nightly jamboree.

Daily walks with wife leaning on his hand like the Leaning Tower and resembling a beached whale, becomes common sight for all. He does this too, at her pace, and by her direction!

He is now scared to do any thing that would upset her usual calm! All elders have only one piece of advice, "Keep Her Happy", and he strives to do so to his utmost! (But wonders, biting his teeth, at the unfairness of Contemporary Human Society that makes too much of something which we have inherited by way of Natural Selection and Evolution!! )

Every day becomes a challenge as the enormity of what he has got into sinks within! "Have I bitten off more than I can chew" is a thought often running through his mind like the advertisements at the bottom of the TV screen.

(Too late, it's a quagmire pal!)

Having lived through the 9 months and survived, he too cannot but wait for the D-day with excitement and anticipation.
All the self pity and trials that he faced the past months disappear in a wink as he sees his wife go through an albeit difficult and trying time, the Delivery!

Never again he vows, I cannot put her through this again...

But then the tender minuscule finger that grasps our hand is an addiction in itself, and both husband and wife are now sealed forever into the bond of parenthood.

The process does repeat over, at least once more for some, but we now have a much smarter PEF, who knows when, how and how much to indulge his pampered better half!

Yet before I end this story, I wish to clarify that I never subjected my husband to such trials. I have only aimed to record the stories shared by some expectant fathers' an objective manner!

(If you don't believe me, ask my hubby. If he differs ...then just get back to me!!)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

On mother's day...

When no more than a cell,
She protected us and nurtured us,
Held us in her womb.
Coursing her blood and breathe within us,
Waiting for that day, for the unseen to be seen!

Every birth is a story
To be recounted many years hence,
To willing or unwilling ears
By her, as she lives through
An experience very few can forget.

She is there when we smile
For the first time,
She is there when we cry
for the hundredth time!

She is there to see our rage,
Our anger and our bitter acrimony.
She is there when we are failing,
To see reason and the right way.

She is there when we are confused,
And unable to comprehend.
She is there to infuse courage
At moments when we are unable.

She is there to see us take pride,
In deeds and acts that make us.
She is there to see us take,
Our first tentative steps into adulthood.

She is there to coax and cajole us,
She is there to pacify and console us,
She is there to smile and humor us,
She is there to beat and scold us!!

We take her for granted
Until that day when we too,
Take up the onus
Of becoming like her..a Mother!
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