A Conversation on Chivalry

Opening Speaker: Chivalry is over rated and convenient.

Participant 1: For whom is it convenient? Chivalry is a choice. The choice to do the right things, for the right reasons, at the right times. If not, then it’s not chivalry; it’s probably a superficial act to impress!

OS: To not practice it is also a choice. The choice to believe in equality. Chivalry isn’t right. The choice to like or hate it is right.

P1: What else does choice mean, OS? Obviously, it’s one’s choice not to practice it or otherwise.
Btw, i really would like to know if YOU believe in the very concept of being chivalrous?

OS: You used the word ‘right’ so many times with regards to things or reasons. Anyway I don’t believe in chivalry 🙂

Participant 2: I don’t get chivalry, we should be respectful and mindful of everyone. I mean if some guy bumps into u we say sala BC… its just not nice… lets just have good manners and leave chivalry to the Downtown Abbey guys

OS: Chivalry should not be confused with courtesy. Yes we should respect and be mindful of everyone we interact with but I don’t think it’s fair to go beyond our means or way for someone especially if external factors aren’t compromising safety.

P2: yea m not ruining my jacket so someone shouldnt step over a puddle… side se jao 😛

Participant 3: Weird. Being as chivalrous as possible is my high. I wish the whole world, both men and women, would be more chivalrous. As long as you protect those weaker than you, in kindness and not out of some weird sense of duty, chivalry is what you are practicing. It’s about courage and honor, courtesy and justice. It isn’t something you can or cannot believe in. It is something that either comes naturally to you, you aspire towards, or you avoid. I think it’s noble.
And it’s anything but convenient. lol.

OS: P3, Thank you for that. As far as courtesy, courage and justice are concerned I agree. However, I do feel the modern interpretation of it is sometimes unfair. I think I practice chivalry in the traditional sense but i’d rather avoid it’s modern interpretation. If equality exists among two individuals I fail to understand why one of them is ‘duty bound’ or expected to be taking care of the other person especially when external factors like safety etc aren’t a concern. I’d rather have equality in my personal equations and I really wouldn’t want to be a guardian to someone who clearly doesn’t need it.

P3: In life, everyone is going to be weaker or stronger than you at some level. It depends on what level your interaction is happening, I believe. Of course its application (chivalry’s i.e.) would be different today than at the time of its inception, but that’s because the social set up at the time of origin was a violent and dangerous one, where knights were one of the strongest and women, amongst the weakest. But today, this is not necessarily true. Yes, if it’s late at night, and you’re in India, you are at a position of strength compared to any female friends you might have with you and chivalry might be expected of you, only on the basis of your being male, but to assume that is the be all and end all of chivalry is wrong. There may be times when you come across a lost child, or an injured dog or even a male colleague who is utterly lost. Or when you’re dealing with the help, or a waiter at a restaurant, or a confused elderly gentleman on the subway. 

I think Chivalry, in fact, is all about strength. If you know you are stronger than those around you, then as long as you do everything in your power to protect them, without expecting rewards or favors in return, you are being chivalrous. Those that say that it’s unfair because women always receive the benefit are buying into the notion that a woman is always weaker than a man, regardless of surroundings or circumstance, and as dismaying as it may be, the solution is not to shun chivalry, but to practice it properly, so that even those who denounce it come to receive its favors, and more importantly, because that is the burden of humanity on its path to civilization.

OS: *sips on water*…Okay!
I have a problem with it due to it’s very gendered connotations. Now, I’m not going to get into specifics of what I do which actually does resonate with your comment. However I wouldn’t compromise on equality specifically when the circumstances do not put me in a position of strength. ..courtesy would mean opening the door for someone regardless of their gender or vacating a seat for someone who clearly looks tired, with a child .. paying the bill, again without bringing gender into the equation, because I might absolutely adore the person, maybe in a position of more financial strength However I wouldn’t want to pay for someone just because according to gender stereotypes, I am supposed to or rush to open the car door for someone perfectly healthy because I’m supposed to. Assuming there is no position of strength involved in a particular situation, I do not believe in doing something just because that is what some gentleman did for his lady at the next table. In other words, I’d rather not be a position of strength and I’d love to be with someone who’s independent and doesn’t need me to pull off stupid stunts to amuse her yet if there’s ever a situation where I find myself in a position of strength, my belief system, how so ever flawed, will be doing everything that’s expected out of a decent human being.

P3: Yeah, so it is all about your own perception of your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of the people you are with. I frequently open doors for people I am with, male or female, because if I can do something that makes life easier for the person I am with, and it costs me less than nothing to do it, then why not? Does it mean I consider myself stronger than them in some way? Why, yes, it does. Often it does anyway. And for the few times where I am certain that I am at a disadvantaged position in terms of strength or capability, then what better opportunity to repay them for the chivalry I believe their advantageous position will inspire them to than by doing something as simple as opening a door, or fetching a glass of water, etc..

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Waking Wendy – I

The storm colored sky stretched out into eternity, as two lone figures stood beneath it, the only sound above the waves of the distant ocean being that of the wind whipping the edges of their long coats against the rustling uncut grass.

“When will things change?” asked the girl in gray.

The boy shook his head, letting multicolored drops of rain fall about them, “When you wake up.”

Her wide eyed gaze sought out the distant horizon, full of only the unknown. “Are you sure?”, she asked, biting her lip.

“Yes”, he smiled, before leaning closer, “Wake up, Wendy..”

~~~

The building wasn’t that tall, but four floors is still high enough to kill. Especially when you add in the 2 feet of the railing and the ledge, said the slurring voice in her head, and she burst into a fit of giggles, her waif like form shaking in mirth on the railing on which she was precariously perched. The moon looked on disapprovingly, but she drank to his health until even he forgave her, smiling reluctantly at her antics. After all, there is no dark side in the moon, really. And she gave him something to watch.

Alas, the watchmen have seen everything. And the moon is the oldest of them all. He soon tired of her childish games. It was time for something harder. And with magical dawns and falling stars and lighted paths, he led her astray into the wild.

“What do you want from me?”, she cried out suddenly, tired of the changing ground beneath her feet.

“I need you to wake up”, shouted back the moon. “Can’t you see what’s happening around you??”

But she only cried out louder, and shut her eyes tighter. She knew what the Moon wanted to show her, and she did not wish to see.

“Wake up, Wendy”, he whispered, almost lovingly, before withdrawing, once more, into silence.

~~~

He then spent years cleverly shaping her path, leading her slowly towards the palace of a dragon. For, even though there is no dark side in the moon, really; Matter of fact, it’s all dark.

Luckily for her, it wasn’t a particularly old dragon, for those are as weary as they are wise. Of course, this particular one was a little weary and wise himself, but he could not help it; all dragons must be.

“Why have you come here?”, asked the Dragon in his menacing voice, towering over the girl who had long shed her gray robes for black. “I’ve always wanted to meet a Dragon” she said, reverentially. “But, how did you know where to find me?”, asked the Dragon, surprised. “I heard your voice across the ocean a hundred years ago”, said the girl, “and I’ve been looking for you ever since”. The dragon studied her incredulously before swooping down and pulling her on to himself. In ecstacy, she watched the sky change colors and the clouds float on besides them, as they flew over towns and castles, showing her the World she had almost stopped believing in. The moon looked on in jealousy, but the girl had eyes only for the dragon.

But the sky had touched her with its ink, long before she had had any choice in the matter. And now, she was forever haunted by the dark. “Why won’t this stop?”, she cried into the dragon’s chest, his wing locked protectively around her.

“You know what you have to do”, he whispered soothingly, wiping the tears falling from her eyes.

“Wake up, Wendy..”

~~

But she was finally happy, and it didn’t seem fair to have to wake up just when things were getting better. She adorned the dragon’s head with flowers, and forbade him from ever speaking of it again. Of course Dragons don’t listen, but she was clever enough to remember that whether good or evil, they are creatures of their word. So she offered an exchange. That was how he got the third part of her fragmented heart. And as they flew higher and higher into the sun, she began to burn. Until the dragon noticed the edges of her hair were on fire, that is.

He immediately plummeted to the ground, crashing into a group of trees in his hurry to get her down to Earth safely. She tumbled off his back into the grass beneath, laughing. “That was amazing!” She raised her arms up, towards the Dragon. “Let’s do that again.” But the Dragon was saddened by her burning cloak, even when he saw glimpses of the red dress she had on underneath her burnt and tattered armor.

They’re only clothes, love, she wanted to say.

But night was falling, and before they knew it, winter was here. The Dragon was often gone for hours hunting, or flying, or doing whatever it is that dragons do. She did not know. All she knew was that when he was gone, she was cold. And she hated bringing it up, because she knew it made him think of the sun. And when he got like that, she didn’t know what he was after. So, she left him alone, and during one particularly frosty spell, she slowly froze into a picturesque statue.

The Dragon didn’t return for months, so he never even found out. In fact, it was quite undragonlike of him to do so in the first place, but he needed the thrill of the hunt a little more than he may ever needed her. It was a simple calculation really.

At least that’s what the village children say. But what do they knew? They’re idiots. Especially the young boys who liked to make faces at her frozen statue as she stood next to a shrine, painfully aware of every passing lifetime. He’ll come back, she whispered to herself fervently, her thoughts icy cold inside her mind.

But he didn’t.. At least not in time. And one night, a few of the boys hopped over the little fence that surrounded her in order to get a better look at her. She managed to slip away from them, only to fall to the ground and shatter into a million pieces. The boys scattered back to their homes, even as she slowly melted in the rays of the rising sun.

The Sun, she remembered fondly, and then closed her eyes, sliding down into a passing river that was making its way towards the sea. The Sea where the Dragon went hunting… She sat up at once, all the pieces of her focusing themselves into who she needed to be.

“Why don’t you look for a wizard, dear? You look like you need one.” called out an old lady from a passing boat.

The girl began to laugh again, and her tattered robes fell off her shoulders, only to reveal a beautiful red gown that now hung loosely from her fragile form. “No ordinary wizard can help me, old mother”, she cried, even as the river tried to soothe her “Can’t you see? I’ve been cursed by a Dragon.” The old woman turned and  hastened the boat away. For everyone knows how ancient the magic of a dragon is. And no one wanted to involve themselves in this tale.

The Dragon found her floundering about in the Sea, surprised to see her oddly rearranged form swimming in the cold winter sea. She raised up her trembling arms, and the dragon lifted her into the air, gently gathering her broken pieces that fell back into the reluctant river. “He’s not going to hurt me, River” she said, so tired that she had begun to slur, “Well, not much. But I’m not that weak!” The Dragon looked at her flowing gown and growled softly at the scent of the village boys about her.

“Why didn’t you come back?”, she finally asked, her voice a trembling whisper. “I never left”, he replied, quietly. She didn’t believe him, but pieces of her began to, and after years and years of icy solitude, it was simply too much to take, and she burst into tears. “What do you want from me?”, she cried.

He growled at her again and transformed into a wizard before her very eyes. She took a wary step back even as he smiled at her, wolfishly.

“You know what you have to do, little girl”, said the Wizard-who-used-to-be-a-Dragon as he moved in closer towards her, somehow so much more menacing than he had ever been as a Dragon.

“What?”, she whispered, her breath warm against his cheek.

He kissed her for a moment, before pulling away and cursing out reluctantly, “Wake up, Wendy.”

To All my Atheist friends..

Ummm. Agnostic here. *laughs uncomfortably* I really sincerely believe that praying to a maybe existing supernatural being constantly is quite ridiculous, especially in the absence of any concrete evidence of his/her existence whatsoever.. But I also don’t think that we have enough proof to stand up and say we’ve figured everything out. There’s a lot of stuff out there that science cannot *yet* explain. And, yes, they could all be waves and radiation and forces we have not discovered, I’m totally down with that. Just as I wouldn’t be surprised to learn we are all living in a simulated world. Or that aliens are observing us.

I guess, what I’m trying to say is.. We know nothing, A.S.

Also, I dunno. There are hardworking people, and then there’s luck. I won’t go so far as to invoke fate. It does make me mighty uncomfortable, right up there with destiny. But, sometimes hard work doesn’t pay, yo. And, sometimes, random things do. And, sometimes, when life is balancing itself out, the good you do comes back to you, just as the bad you do does. And, of course good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good. But, that’s as much proof for God not existing, as good things happening to good people and bad things happening to bad people is proof for the existence of God!

Nothing sucks more than organized religion. But, simply because it deceives people into thinking that acting in a certain way to appease a certain deity is the way to get eternal salvation/liberation.

Life, as humans understand it, is a matter of a handful of years. For millions of billions of years before we were born, we existed as space dust and star dust, and for millions and billions of years after we die, that atomic form is what we shall all be scattered into. Who are we to say what consciousness is to an atom? Or whether it’s fair to call that non-life? And, what if in atomic form, every Star is your God? Or what if we are given these 70-100 years to learn how to be good atoms? Or, well, anything really! What proof do we have of *everything*?

We know what we know, and what we know is very little.

The Last of the Anti-Orange Rant [Or why you will never convert me, Modi-ites!]

The problem is this, S. The reasons why we don’t support Modi have been listed out a hundred times above. As others have mentioned, your scary blind devotion to the man is disappointing and frightening.  What we will get into is this: A lot of Muslims were horribly tortured, and died, under his reign. When you […]

#Aggravation

*phone rings for the tenth time*

Me: Who do you want to speak to?

HF: Hello?

Me: Who have you called to speak to?

HF: I got a missed call from this number..

Me: Yes, sir. That was 2 days ago, when we were ordering food.

HF: *silence*

Me: Why have you called?

HF: I don’t know anything. I just know that someone gave me a missed call from this number.

Me: Sir. Yes. You got a call. Two days ago. To  place an order for food. Since then, you have called me a hundred times from this number of yours that is registered under the name of your employer. Can you please tell me why, or stop?

HF: … Oh! Okay! Okay, ma’am! Yes! Okay!

-_-

Freaks.

The Devil’s Advocate

It took me about 16 years to get around to watching this movie. Despite nearly a decade of being obsessed with Keanu Reeves, six years of which I’ve been at law school. Why now? And, what am I supposed to do with this, now?

Free will. It’s like butterfly wings: once touched, they never get off the ground. No, I only set the stage. You pull your own strings.” – John Milton

What am I going to do? Whatever I want to? But, what do I want to do? Aaargh! It’s all just a God-damned test! All of fuckin’ everything! Damn it!

Why am I questioning my own existence?

Because! Because, because, because! It’s all ’bout free will. What we are, we choose to be. We choose. That changes everything. But, it doesn’t really matter what you choose. Because, we think the ability to make the choices we wish to make makes us free, but in reality, human beings choose the same things for the same reasons. Time after time after time. And we’re all headed in the same direction. And, the Devil was right about us. What if he’s also right about God? How can you choose options without knowing the end towards which you’re working towards? And, what can we know of the end, when we can’t even know the past, or understand the present?

I’m not questioning my existence as much as I’m trying to deal with the fact that I must do whatever I have to in order to reach wherever I want, whenever I want. When I know Nothing. Nothing. 

And, that’s why it’s a test, right? Because you first learn the questions, then look for the answers. And everybody fails. That’s why it’s a ‘damned’ test. Lol. 

Do we really amuse God? Does God even exist? What the hell are we all doing on this forsaken piece of rock, floating around a giant ball of fire, in endless, growing, empty space?!!

What is everything about? :\
The system isn’t like air because we didn’t invent air. The system is entirely a product of thousands of years of humans expressing their free will. Even when you bow your head before a God, or hijack a plane because you’ve been indoctrinated, it’s because you have free will. You can always choose.

And, I’m not saying that we know what we want. I don’t have a clue. But, more importantly, how are we supposed to know? You can only make educated guesses as to things that you perceive as making you happy, and chase them. But, with every moment, you change, and things are too static. Thoughts, too dynamic. Words, too easy. Feelings, too complicated and unreliable. Dreams are illusions. Point being, there is nothing trustworthy enough to follow, or chase, or want.

What if you strive towards nothing? Living in the moment is one thing, but does that mean that the meth addict in the tiny shack down the dirty alley is happier than someone who plans everything out for their next day, right down to the tie-pin? The “test”, I don’t mean it in a religious sense of the word. Not even spiritual, bless that poor over-hyped word. I mean, objectively, the action of living is a test. And, it’s a test we’re all designed to fail. We’re designed to fail this test as a species. And, as individuals, we take the fall-out society, after society, after society. Just like society suffers for the sins of individuals. And, that’s the messed up part. That, while society is supposed to be for the betterment of human civilization, the real war, every time, is the individual vs the Society within which he exists. Even if they are hallucinations or virtual realities.

But, yes, I agree with you there. As Decartes said, “I think, therefore I exist.”

Lastly, I’m not in Test mode! I loathe being tested, you know that? I hate it. I mean, I get it if there’s something you want from me. By all means, test me to see whether I would work out. But, it’d be nice if you would first ask me whether I would be okay with giving you whatever it is that you wanted, right? Don’t just test me, assuming the rest will work itself out. Free Will. It’s important to me. 

Also, I can’t stop thinking about God, or the Devil. Just like I can’t stop thinking about Good and Evil and Right and War and Death and Innocence and the price of everything, the value of everything. I need to understand everything. I don’t ignore the people around me. But, only because they teach me about all these things. People and their complicated, sinful, joyful lives. Every person is a step closer to the complete view of the World.

What we are, we choose to be. We have every choice imaginable to us. *Everything* is permitted, because nothing is true. Did I already say that? But, it is so so important. You have every choice you can think of; it’s just you to tell yourself doing something is too impossible. Problem is, human kind confuses ends with means. You only have full control over yourself, and how you react to things that befall you. You can’t choose to be happy. But, you can choose to not dwell on the past, or take up a hobby to distract you. You can’t choose to have a loving marriage, but you can choose to marry someone you think you will probably be compatible with/someone you love, and be really nice to them. You can’t choose to die laughing, but you can choose to live laughing, so that death finds you that way, no matter where and when it approaches you.

But, human beings don’t get that. We make wishes, and want happiness, and cry when things don’t go our way. Regardless of the fact that not even a minute fraction of the Universe’s existence ago, we were atomic particles in a gaseous ball of fire a kazillion miles away, and it is just pure, unbelievable Luck that has let us exist in this form – as living breathing organisms with thoughts, memories and the ability to experience things. Everything that happens is good. Because something is better than nothing. And, you have all eternity to be star dust again.

So, my question to your answer stays the same – If everything is about me, then what am I?

What I am is what I choose to be.

(With no clue as to what the basis for my choices should be)