I have been trying to make a review of a great book that I read couple weeks ago, but it seemed my writer’s block got the best of me. So, I ended up writing poets, and posting my friend’s doodling result. For your information, he did make the quote himself :).
Back to my conversation with my friend. So basically, she was complaining about why she can’t be straight forward to the boy she likes. She told me also about the things her mom taught. Of course this culturally acceptance things that expected from a good lady. I am not going to say that these cultural values are wrong, because all these values were taught to protect her from broken heart. Even though it failed, but she holds on that values as her parameter of girl’s pride. So that’s what she is doing now, protecting her pride.
Well, actually this conversation sort of took me to the book that I recently finished. A Mahabharata story from the woman’s point of view. This book is interesting, because no matter where we live actually we are bound to the same pattern. Cultural, religious, or political values that we hold as our pride because they were taught by people that we most proud of, parents.
I will talk a little bit about this book, and of course the characters that appear to be the strongest players. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is the writer of this book. She described war, politic, religion, culture, and history from a woman point of view. How the wives and mothers become the people behind the scene. This book is highly recommended. It is not about gender equality, but more about humanity. There are no squeaky clean people. Every man does take part on what happens to him or her. Besides as the one that leading the change on history, women are still witnesses. They are not the soldiers in wars, they watch from afar. Therefore Drupadi, as the main character and also the main witness, can see every part of the history clearer.
Because ultimately only the witness — and not the actors — knows the truth (Vyasa to Draupadi)
Why this book is. at least to me, related to my conversation with my friend? I live in Indonesia, a modern country with various cultural values, because we have hundreds ethnics live in our country. Jakarta, as the capital city looks like any other modern city. Anyway, the people still bound themselves to the basic values of religion and culture, even though nowadays some people are trying to be liberal or less conservative toward their cultural values. One of the value that my friend, and I am sure most of Indonesian girls still hold on to it, is to not let their sympathy or caring feeling shows first. It has to be the boys to start everything.
My friend was taught by her mom that it is something about pride. If she shows her feeling, even when she knows that the boys she liked loved her too, she will lose the pride. So all she can show is respect. I do understand that it is a way to protect her from broken heart. Other things that she learnt are, to marry a dominant type of guy, so she does not have to take care all the things in relationship. Also to marry someone who can provide her all material things she wants. Well, at this point, I can see that her mom is protective and loves her so much. So, that was the first point that I mentioned when she told me this. Second, I did not see that this teaching only affects the way she acts to the boys she likes, but also to the way she acts in general. So I broadened the view of our discussion to something more essential, culture and human nature.
A situation in itself is neither happy nor unhappy. It is only your response to it that causes sorrow.
My friend’s story reminded me of my father and Drupadi. They were different in gender, of course, but had similarities in several points.
First, I can see how they have the same vision about children. My father told me once that children were meant to go. Children are like arrows, they are prepared to be released one day. While Drupadi never had the usual mother-children bound. She left her children under the care of her relatives so she could be with her husbands and prepared the khurusetra war. She also being strict to her grandson, Parikesit, so he was able to control himself and be a good king. Both are wise and smart, but their great weakness was anger. As Drupadi, my father taught me to be mentally and emotionally independent, the lesson that I treasure for life.
The protective side of my friend’s mom is an opposite of my father. The protectiveness made her feeling uneasy to release her daughter, unless in the care of perfect person. What I got from my friend was the lesson of how to protect yourself from getting hurt and shame. While my father taught me that feeling hurt is natural, as what Drupadi learnt from war, that history has pattern just like life. I do not mean to compare, but by broadened the point of view of this girls-boys theme conversation, I got the shape of her thinking pattern. At the end, by knowing her thinking pattern, I got her feeling pattern which explains her behavior pattern.
Instead of giving her advice, I explained how my father taught me about life. Contradiction, which was understandable, that the conclusion she got from the start. I remember how my father, in angry voice, told me not to cry for every problem because crying doesn’t solve any problem. Of course, she found that both teachings were useful in different ways and for different people. I will not say that this conversation came to a conclusion or solution, because no matter how she wants to be independent, she already has pattern in her brain and feeling which only practice can change it.
I learnt a lot from my father and Drupadi how to be emotionally independent and be honest to yourself, while I also learnt from my friend that protecting yourself by gaining some pride is important. Of course I protect my pride, but it doesn’t mean I don’t show my feeling to people, includes in this boys-girls kind of situation.
I know I am just rambling, because I do not conclude anything. But let’s talk about it!
How cultural or religious values that are taught from generation to generation created your thinking and behavior pattern? Is the values that you learnt as you get older have stronger impacts then the cultural or religious ones? How your experience prove which values give more advantage to yourselves and others?
At last, this is other quotes from Palace of Illusion
Sometimes, one has to drop logic and go with the instinct of the heart, even if it contradicts law
This is the nature of sorrow – often it fades with time, but once in a while it remains lodged below the surface of things, a stubborn thorn beneath a fingernail, making itself felt every time you brush against it
Source of quotes: