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A Womens Day Story!

Discussion in 'Stories (Fiction)' started by varalotti, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear All,
    Got this message from a well-meaning friend. There is a powerful message hidden in this parable. Please read on and let me have your views.
    sridhar


    "Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a neighbouring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him, but was moved by Arthur's youth and ideals. So the monarch offered him freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer. If, after a year, he still had no answer, he would be put to death.
    The question: What do women really want? Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man; and to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better than death, he accepted the monarch's proposition to have an answer by year's end.
    He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everybody: The princess, the women, the priests, the wise men, the court jester. He spoke with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer. Many people advised him to consult the old witch down town--only she would know the answer. The price would be high; the witch was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged. The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no alternative but to talk to the witch. She agreed to answer his question, but he'd have to accept her price first: The old witch wanted to marry Gawain, the most noble of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur's closest friend! Young Arthur was horrified: She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only one tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises... etc. He had never encountered such a repugnant creature. He refused to force his friend to marry her and have to endure such a burden. Gawain, upon learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur. He told him that nothing was too big a sacrifice compared to Arthur's life and the preservation of the Round Table. Hence, their wedding was proclaimed, and the witch answered Arthur's question thus: What a woman really wants is to be in charge of her own life. Everyone instantly knew that the witch had uttered a great truth and that Arthur's life would be spared. And so it was. The neighboring monarch granted Arthur total freedom.
    What a wedding Gawain and the witch had! Arthur was torn between relief and anguish. Gawain was proper as always, gentle and courteous. The old witch put her worst manners on display, and generally made everyone very uncomfortable.
    The honeymoon hour approached. Gawain, steeling himself for a horrific experience, entered the bedroom. But what a sight awaited him! The most beautiful woman he'd ever seen was before him! The astounded Gawain asked what had happened. The beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her when she'd appeared as a witch, she would henceforth be her horrible, deformed self half the time, and the other half, she would be her beautiful maiden self. Which would he want her to be during the day, and which during the night? What a cruel question! Gawain pondered his predicament. During the day, a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his home, an old witch? Or would he prefer having by day a hideous witch, but by night a beautiful woman? What Gawain chose follows below, but don't read until you've made your own hypothetical choice.

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    Noble Gawain replied . . . . . that he would let her choose for herself . Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time, because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life."
     
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  2. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    A very good one, Sridhar ! Every man should read this.

    Dear Sridhar,
    This just hit the nail on the head ! Man is prepared to give everything to a woman, except the freedom for her to choose what she wants.
    The parents, then the husband ( though this is changing now), the children in her old age decide for her. For many women, the lack of freedom to take their decisions continues through out their lives so much, that they reach a stage of depending on others for advice on every small thing. After sometime, this becomes easy for them to such an extent that they really do not know, what they are missing ! Is it because a man is basically insecure knowing generally that a woman's judgement is correct, he does not want to accept defeat from her ? Besides, conditioning in a woman's mind is so strong in our society, that she hardly uses her thinking & judging capacity ! I have friends who still say they cook only what their husbands want, buy clothes to his taste, do only things which he likes - I think that faculty in their mind has never bloomed at all.
    In your story Gawain got the best in life, since he gave his wife the freedom to choose what she wanted !
    This is an ideal message more for a man on Women's day, right ?
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  3. prathi

    prathi Bronze IL'ite

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    A novice's comment!!

    Dear Sridhar,

    This is a nice gift to all the ladies at IL from you. Thank you!!!

    I am still an apprentice in life while u two are old hands!!! Still i would like to express my thougths here!

    Every woman has to learn (and should be let) to paddle her own canoe. Our generation of women is not feeling as fettered as the previous, but still there is a long way to go. Like Mrs.Chithra said, every man should read (and understand) this story. Most women, especially married women are in a quandary when a decision has to be made. It takes two to tango. If the woman alone insists on making independent choices without the man’s (or others’) support, then that’s a tough thing. Understanding is the key. As it is said no man is an island!!! We have to also learn to choose in such a way that we don't end up hurting others.

    Gawain was virtuous. His good deeds did pay him in the end. But one thing I fail to understand is, if he was sure of what he wanted, would he have given a choice to his wife, the witch. Just because he could not decide did he ask her to make her own choice? If it were any other situation (where he could easily choose) would he have given her the right to choose?

    One more thing that is evident from the story is, if a woman is given charge of her own life, she can be pleasant to everyone around (the witch turning to a beauty is symbolic of that). No man would repent that!!! Would he?
     
  4. rvnachar

    rvnachar Silver IL'ite

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    Women in-charge

    Dear Sridhar,


    That's a wonderful story. Where did you read it? Of course true freedom is freedom to be ourselves. I was stunned to read that line because just today I posted an essay on this issue and that's what I had explained as 'equality'. Let me be good or bad, let me be rewarded or punished, let me live alone or with someone, let me have children or decide against-just leave me alone and treat me as one individual. I will accept that I am equal to man only when I am not reminded that I am a woman anywhere except when I am called 'mom', 'sister' or 'beloved'!

    Congrats on posting a very relevant thread on this holy day.

    Sudha Narasimhachar
     
  5. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    A Very Apt Message On This Day!

    Hats off to you, Sridhar for thinking of us all and posting such a lovely Story....was it just a story; no it had a profound truth! Every woman should have the freedom to take charge of her life.
    But I feel that Arthur's friend was smart enough to let her decide...after all wasn't the witch the one who gave the answer to the question that saved Arthur's life; well Gawain just used that in his life and let the witch take charge of her life; which gave him a positive result. He was Smart enough to do that[​IMG] , so how many men will give up their right ato decide always and let the other half TAKE CHARGE of her life ....after all from this story it is evident that it will only be good for all!
    At the same time i also feel strongly that it is in our hands only to take charge of our lives....we don't need permission from anyone do we, after all it is our life!
    We just have to find a way to do this, like Prathi has rightly said, both partners have to let go a little:rolleyes: !
    ANYWAY THANKS TO OUR Mr.INDUS LADY for the apt message....i am sure most of our LADIES at IL are already in charge of their lives!:thumbsup
     
  6. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks a Ton, Chitra, Prathi, Sudha(1) and Sudha(2)

    Thanks a ton, gracious ladies, for the nice words of understanding and appreciation you have about the story. I am happy and proud to know that you are all in charge of your own lives. Of course by that I don't mean an arrogant and a lonely life, defying society and bereft of all relationships. You can be charge of your lives, though you live your life as a typical Bhartiya Nari!
    Men, at least most of them, are naive to think, that they are in charge of their wives' lives, simply because the wife lives with them and there is an optical illusion of dependence. But the reality is different. Though a woman may outwardly look submissive and always deferring to the wishes of her husband and in-laws, she cleverly leads them all in her own way. Humility cannot be equal to the state of being humbled nor can cordiality and love mean submission. Many women know these meanings from a very young age though they may not be able to articulate them well.
    Prathi, you have raised a wonderful question. Was Gawain in confusion and only because of that he left the decision to his wife?
    Let's go one level deeper, Prathi. Why should Gawain be in confusion? Now if he is an ordinary man treating women either as pleasure objects or show-off pieces, he would have decided very clearly depending on his preferences. If he had wanted conjugal pleasures the most, then he would have told her that she should be a beautiful woman at night and a witch at day. Prathi, I would let you know a typical men's secret. Most men would have fallen for this choice. I remember a scene in a Tamil movie. The bride groom lists down the conditions for his future bride. The condition which stuck me hard was this: My wife should appear beautiful to me; but to others she should appear ugly. That's the exact night-beauty choice.
    In fact some women either resist this choice of their husbands or they deliberately go to the other extreme. That is they would appear like a witch to their husbands and an angel to outsiders. I am not joking Prathi. I have seen beautiful housewives dressed in a shabby, torn nighty while at home; but when they go out, either alone or with their husbands they dress as if they are going to take part in a beauty pageant. (Of course we also have men doing the same thing.)
    The second choice of day-beauty represents a man who treats a woman as a show-off piece. A woman is still an object of possession. And this man wants to show off his wife to his friends, his colleagues and club-members, as he would show off his new car or cell phone.
    So both the choices tend to demean a woman. Night-beauty means that a woman is a mere pleasure-object and day-beauty means that she is a show-off piece, like any other chattel. As both the choices demean and humiliate a woman's person and her esteen, the intelligent Gawain simply leaves the choice to his wife. The allegory here is that men should know that a woman has a mind of her own and she is also capable of deciding from out of the choices available.
    The final allegory that impressed me the most is this. A woman who is given full freedom in the real sense of the term has so much of happiness in her that such happiness alone is sufficient to give her eternal beauty, real beauty ,24X7.
    I have seen beautiful actresses, models marrying rich businessmen. After a while these women bloat, lose their connection with beauty and become witches day and night. Reason, they are in a golden cage.
    It does not matter wheter the chains that bind you are made of gold or platinum, they are still chains, they are still fetters and as they restrict a womans freedom, the chains take away her beauty and makes her a permanent witch.
    Now I want your views on my intrepretation of the story.
    regards,
    sridhar
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2006
  7. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    its high time women get a chance............

    Hello Sridhar,

    Your thread made our Women's Day, really special.

    so, the moral is, you let the woman decide then you are likely to get the best and we also get the message that we get a chance only when the man isn't capable of taking a decision.

    Unfortunately, most of the women are tuned from young to blindly follow and never given a chance in any kinda decision making. Maybe in some of the rural places it might be the case still.

    I've an aunt who had a very strict upbringing but got married into a very liberal kind of a family. But she completely relied on others for even simple decisions and after she lost her hubby, she completely relies on her children - even for simple decisions like buying a saree . And if at that time, noone is available then she'll wait for however long, for someone to turn up.

    Fortunately, things have changed to such an extent that we decide even important matters related to career, marriage, etc.
    hope these changes touch even the rural lots and make our lives more meaningful.
     
  8. Sharada

    Sharada Senior IL'ite

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    What men want!

    What men want is an angel outside and a devil in bed! This talk about freedom, fetters, equality sets me thinking. King Arthur and his men lived centuries ago, still Gawain understood and gave the witch freedom to be in charge of her own life; but men in India still want to "control" their wives. Some men announce "I give my wife all the freedom she wants." As if we are dogs on a leash and can venture out because the master says so!
    This has a profound moral - beauty blossoms in a free and unrestricted environment. Whenever I comment that someone is beautiful or that I wish I could look like so and so, my brother's wife says, "if your nose, eyes etc are in the right place and you are happy and smiling, you will always be beautiful." Don't you agree with that?
    Thanks Varalotti for sharing this with all your friends.
    Sharada
     
  9. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Nice Thoughts To Develop On!

    'Angel outside and Devil in Bed' very powerful combination of words which has captured the fantasy of most men.
    The second thought arising from your post is that when freedom is given by some one it is not freedom. I can give licence but not freedom. Freedom is something you are born with and some thing which you will have to assume and act upon. If a wife has to wait for her husband to give her freedom then whatever she gets will definitely not be freedom. Whenever a man says 'I have given my wife all the freedom she wants' what he really means is that I have given her the licence to travel within the reach of the leash that secures her to me.
    And the final thought arising from your post is my most favourite one, about the concept of beauty. If you let me go on beauty I can write hundreds of pages here on this thread itself. But I don't want to repeat myself. So gracious ladies please go to my threads 'Beauty Lessons From An Accountant 1, 2 and 3' to find Sharada's theory substantiated and corroborated by evidence.
    regards,
    sridhar
     
  10. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

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    Apt message to the world for women's day

    Dear Varalotti,
    as usual, you have bowled as over with your excellent article. I am impressed with Gawain's sacrifice first. And he accepts the witch as she is. She is not asked to change for him. And the most important thing is, when she asks him what he wants, a beast or a beauty, he asks her to decide. Oh, how I wish all the men in the world were half like him. Women are never allowed to choose anything to thier liking. They always have to think of family, society etc.I always wanted to wear many western dresses but did not have the freedom to do so. Now I wear only salwar kameez as I feel comfortable, even if I am 42.Sometimes I get disapproving glances from other women. I wear saree only occasionally. I am not against wearing saree, but the freedom to wear the dress one likes should be there. When the condition is such for dress, what about other major decisions? Most of the time, women keep mum to their menfolks' decisions is to keep peace in the family.
    I dream of a time when women will be equal to men in these aspects also.
    Thanks, Varalotti, for such a optimistic message on the women's day.
    varloo
     

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