Friday, 12 June 2009

The many shades of grey

THE Whisperer strolled into a bank today and met a young woman seated around a desk where he wanted confirmation on a few issues.
It wasn’t their first meeting; she had been to The Whisperer’s office known as the play-station, once before in the company of another colleague of hers on a marketing drive engineered by the bank; a self-assured very-good looking young woman who appeared totally unmoved by his self-claimed larger-than-life persona.
Today, she again ignored (or pretended to ignore) The Whisperer as she went about her work, busying herself with documents and all the other paraphernalia that make up banking.
After a while, she melted and said hello properly and we spoke about many things.
The prevailing impression one got from her was that she was a lady who loved exact things. She asked The Whisperer — even though he has three accounts in the bank and she has been to his place of ‘play’— “what is it that you do exactly?”
That was an odd one, I thought as I deliberated the question. I finally replied, “I’m a media practitioner.”
She asked again, “what does that mean?” I again replied, “a person who practices media things... writing, producing, directing etc.”
To her clinical mind, those terms were too hazy to be called a vocation. You had to have concrete terms... Lawyer, doctor, engineer.
She told me, “long ago if you’d gone to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage and had said ‘media practitioner’ as a job, you’d have been chased out by the girl’s father.”
Personally, The Whisperer, even though a trained lawyer, is glad we are now in the 21st century, where ‘hazy’ concepts can earn you a living, where you can buy land and build houses by being a ‘Stand-Up’ comedian.
I told of her of the impression she had created at our very first meeting- That of a girl who was very good-looking and knew it.
She looked you in the eye and dared you to try the come-on lines that men throw at girls in those moments; those tentative, often weak lines, the unsure groping men do when they are trying to feel their way.
She was a girl who understood how attractive she was and felt there was nothing new a man could show her.

BUT she was in the presence of The Whisperer and he found her self-assurance and apparent cynicism interesting.
Her demeanour at our first meeting and the reason for it was the subject of debate when we met again. She disagreed with The Whisperer’s surmising, saying she had intended and meant nothing.
Her world-view particularly in relation to men was mind-blowing. All men are a$%^-h&^%s whether or not they have fulfilled their potential in that regard or not.
According to her, a nice man is an accident waiting to happen, just biding his time until when the passion burns out and he can say he’s off through the door again.
The Whisperer disagrees with the lovely lady on some of these issues. The world is not a picture painted in stark colours.
It is not divided into black and white (what a boring place it would be if that was so), there are many, many shades of grey in every relationship, in every friendship platonic and otherwise and sometimes things are not always as they seem.
It is true that men will give anything in the pursuit of a woman. They will stand out in the rain, sing under the stars and cross continents to find the woman that is the subject of their affections.
They will take whatever insults come with their desire (at those times, men can be surprisingly mule-headed). When the objective is attained and the female has been made to see things their way, loving them for who they are, the men suddenly lose the drive that made that woman the sole focus of their desires.
They begin to look for ways to walk away and some day, they find that way. That is the black and white of the story.
However, even in these cases of “man loves woman, woman spurns man, man pursues woman across the world, woman finally succumbs and falls in love, man falls out of love”, there are exceptions.
Those are the shades of grey. It is not every man that walks away from the love he has found.
Women must remember that love (and relationships of any kind) must be worked at. You cannot attain the goal and give up on it.
You have to keep the relationship alive even after you have achieved a state of bliss. It is true that many men have the hunter’s instincts that drives them in pursuit of other partners after succeeding with one but who has ever seen a well-fed lion (or lioness) make a kill and go off immediately in search of other prey? The trick then might be to keep the hunter sated, well-satisfied, having no need to hunt down another.

THERE are some who will say “men will be men”, no matter what- That they will fall in and out of love at the drop of a hat. We must remember that to every rule, there are exceptions. There are men who do not follow the norm (as there are women).
Some men walk that grey realm, a place where the general rules do not apply. For every man that has ever walked away from a woman who gave her all so they could be together, there is another who came to his senses and returned to that woman.
Sometimes, not closing our minds to the chance that there are ‘good’ men out there will open us up to immense possibilities. We must not believe that all men are stereotypes and no good can come of trusting them.
The Whisperer believes in love and its lasting qualities. He is sure that for every woman, there is a good man. You just have to be careful in your searching.
If you choose a man for all the wrong qualities; his home, his job, his bank account, it doesn’t make for long-lasting relationships. The world of superficiality is also the world of black and white, a world in which you can know the end from the very beginning. As the Resident said to Mr. Pilkings in ‘Death and the King’s Horseman’, “keep your nose to the ground”.

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