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Thursday, May 01, 2008

The two Ms in my life

First, a little game. Read this story and list your favorite characters in descending order of liking (the one you like most at first and so on and so forth) and I'll predict your behavioral patterns/priorities of life. I will state my preference later, when I discuss the results in one of my comments, to save biases.

Excuse my kiddish indulgence with MS Paint and typical fairy tale type narration.

There lived a princess, S, in a kingdom far, far away. The neighboring kingdom had a prince named A. Both were in love. But their parents were sworn enemies and when they decided to tell their parents about their secret affair, their respective fathers asked them to choose either the family or the prospective spouse. They even threatened to disinherit them if they went ahead to solemnize a wedding. S decided to leave her father and go to A to marry him.

There was a river she had to cross, where she found a boatman to help her. Mid way through the stream, she told him her story and revealed that she had no money with her and no means to pay him for his services, until of course he wanted the jewels she had on her. M refused to take any payment and wished her luck in her endeavor.

When S met A in his kingdom, he said that he understood that she had undertaken great difficulty to come over, but he couldn't marry her. He was the only heir to the throne and he could not let it fall in wrong hands. He had duty towards his subjects as well. And even if he never married , he couldn't possibly marry her.

Heart-broken S went to one of A's friends H and asked him to marry her. H remarked that he had always seen her as the beau of his friend and thought that she rightly belonged to him. There was no way he could marry her.

S went to another friend named L , and told him everything that had transpired. He felt bad for the poor girl, got married and now they are bickering somewhere out there..


"Those who say money can't buy happiness, don't know where to shop." Do you agree? A for yes, B for no. Right now, I feel it is A in bold.


candid diary said...

Well, the characters have their own philosophy of life and are difficult to be compared. As you want a subjective view to test our preferences in life here it is:
1. M, the Boatman. He is one character from whom we expect very little. One (or at least I) would not have been shocked to see him asking for other favours or jewels in lieu of his monetary requirement. He is a hero like an unsung taxi driver returning your lost valuables.
2. L, the Prince’s 2nd friend. May be he married the princess out of compassion but such chivalrous men, worrying little about a hefty dowry, are a rare species now.
3. S, the Princess. Emotional and impractical character, one may say, as she could not gauge the prince’s commitment but she is so true to her love that she rejected wealth and kingdom.
4. H, the Prince’s 1st friend. Did he reject the princess due his dedicated friendship or out of fear of reprisal from his friend?
5. A, the Prince. Suddenly he remembers that he is the only heir to the throne and he has duty towards his subjects. He is an irresponsible man without any commitment.
OK, go ahead and judge me.

dolby said...

For time being... my reply to "Those who say money can't buy happiness, don't know where to shop."

"Money is not everything" make sure u hav lots and lots it b4 u say such a non-sense!

arnab said...

where is the other M, money?
anyway, as candid mentions, it is hard to compare the characters. but here is an ordering - M, H, L, S, A

the one about money and happiness is a good point to debate, but of course things are not so simple, right? last week i watched "into the wild" - greatly depressing - but the protagonist's final realization, and the single biggest message of the story is "happiness is only real when shared". and money may or may not buy you that company.

Saurabh said...

1)M- selfless
2)A- The prince ( no reason, other than to provide a diff perspective, what if he really loved the princess but had to sacrifice it for his duty and his country
3)H- what a friend
4)L- I dont know his motives but i guess he is the idiot of the lot, though a brave one. he knows where he is falling and yet he is willing to go down that path

5)S- I normally respect females, but this story just says that woman's lib is important. So until a girl understand that, nothing can work out. Going from man to man to ask for support?? Sheesh

Aparna Kar said...

Have been hearing a lot about that movie lately, seems like I have to watch it now. It was mentioned at dinner table last night when someone narrated how the protagonist kept counting the blessings in a mere apple. People usually value what is scarce. Simple Economics 101 lesson of supply and demand. In the movie, the scarcity of food made an apple appear like manna.

I buy the argument that money is not everything. But it is something. I don't say poor people can not be happy. Some people have this great ability to be happy- no matter what. However, a kid from an Upper Middle class family would probably never know what poverty can be. Or how it can feel if you want some very basic material happiness and not be able to afford it. Beg/borrow/steal are just three solutions to allay such frustration.

Also, I'd like to recount how money is cited as the most common reason for divorces all over the world.
Differences in financial ability, which also represents power, control, and freedom, can lead to incompatibility. " We fell out of love" is just a way of euphemizing it.

I don't undermine the value of someone else's presence, nor do I look down upon human emotions as mere streaks of chemical reactions - ephemeral and unworthy of attentions. But reality is - happiness is a complex state. Though you might find it in even a grain of sand or a wild flower- you can't totally neglect the other things. I'd say - you need to have balance of both. To reach that equilibrium, where you want to place the fulcrum is for you to decide.

Aparna Kar said...

Btw, here is an article from the TIME magazine that you might like to read 'cause it is in sync with what we had been discussing. I loved it.

Aparna Kar said...

I can't judge:) It's a silly game I learned when I was a kid, from a sillier man who masqueraded himself as a soothsayer. I hadn't much faith in his predictions though every time something came true, my mother would say:" X said so ! I knew it would come to pass."

It's strange how some people believe in a pseudo-science practiced by some ignorant charlatans, while someone who is truly knowledgeable would know how dangerous it is to mess with the future. I left studying palmistry as a hobby for that reason.

Anyways, my preferences probably were in the order LHAMS. Will decode that later. But as you rightly pointed out, it is subjective and open to interpretations.

Aparna Kar said...

Read the aforementioned article. There's something in it for you too:) How the market defines happiness nowadays, and how I am a victim too. I have begun to believe that a big car, a high-end salary and a house of my own are basic requirements for happiness. And I should say "Money doesn't matter", only when I am earning more than I can spend. The advent of consumerism as an ideology? Don't blame me :P

Aparna Kar said...

I value your perception about L. But marrying a princess has its evident advantages- doesn't it? She's the only child- think of the possibilities. There's a phrase in Bengali: "Rajotto soho rajkanya peyeche", meaning "He got a kingdom with the Princess". If you ask me, the no.of Bassanios are increasing, who expect a Portia to bail them out of hard times, with no effort to mend their own ways or improve the situation themselves. Well, some do get lucky :P

Sam said...

I would dump LHAS on teh same pedestal... they had their flaws and strengths!! teh boatman seems selfless... but why?? did he expect a bigger reward to come his way when the princess becomes a queen???
L: married out of compassion!! may be... but then he could have also married her for the wealth and kingdom!!
H: refused!! on the ground he said its noble.. but then couldn't there be some other reason!!
S: fool!!! she should've been sure of the prince before taking teh decision that she took... and upon getting refused why did she go the other two chaps?? what be her intention then???
A: am confused with him!!
part of me detests him for not standing up for his lady and refusing her from his doorsteps!! again a part of me does applaud him to having taken on the reigns of his kingdom and realising how much parents matter... but may be he went a bit overboard there!!!

as for the question: till i have enuf money i'll go for B :)

Bubbles of FireWhiskey said...

i want to know more about M... i dunno why but i feel that there is more to hime than meets the eye...

oh and i'll go with B... because i tried A and it didnt work...

Aparna Kar said...

Ok here are the original assigned nouns:
M- money
A - ambition
H- honesty
L- love

Make your own interpretations. as I mentioned before- it's open to interpretations. However, my preference for LHAMS meant that love is the most important aspect of my life and I'd find it at a relatively early age. I'd have an honest existence until I discover my ambition :P Then I'd go on to make money and turn selfish in my old age :D Pretty predictable , huh?

Pilot-Pooja said...

You write very well!!

Surely you're an icon in the blogging world!


Aparna Kar said...

You honor me lady. But I'm learning. :) And there's still a longggggggg way to go. But I thank you with all my heart. I really appreciate it.

Pilot-Pooja said...

I can see modesty coming out of your words!

But yes very true...learning never ends..And thats what always inspires us to perform better!

Itchingtowrite said...

lovely story- set me thinking
agree abt the money -happiness part- my answer is A!!!

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