At Stake… Again

Its amazing how when you are thinking of a particular concept or idea and the universe suddenly starts throwing things your way that echo your thoughts. I read somewhere that its a Psychological phenomenon, but its hard to believe that all that is psychology when it seems too ridiculous to be chance… Anyway I digress… This is a follow post to this post: At Stake…

A couple of days back I was talking about how sometimes ethics and helping someone might push you to an uncomfortable choice between them. I even gave an example of a story about a Barber who is driven to make a similar choice when the Dictator of his country walks into his shop for a shave. You can read that story here: Just Lather, That’s All

Today I got an wonderful example of the exact opposite situation. This one was thanks to a beautiful short story, The Missing Mail from the book Malgudi Days by R.K. Narayan.  The televised version of the story is embedded below (If you cant see it, you can view the video here: Malgudi Days: The Missing Mail)

The story is about a postman and one of the families of Malgudi. The postman is a wonderful man and is present at every important instance of the life of Kamakshi, the daughter of the family. When its time for her marriage, he also helps in finding the perfect groom for her.

A couple of days before the wedding the postman sees that the family has a letter informing them that the uncle of the bride is critically ill. The next day he receives a mail that the uncle has passed away. Fearing the marriage might get postponed, the postman takes the call of not informing the family until the ceremonies are well past.

This again was similar predicament but handled in a different way, but the things at stake were different… Ironically in both stories(the other one being of the barber) the final choice seems more acceptable for the reader. I believe its in interest of the writer to work in favor of the reader’s sentiment.

If the postman had done his job and delivered the letter it wouldn’t have been a good story. In choosing a different path the writer suddenly added depth to the character and whats more gave the audience what they wanted.

Thats the important distinction between stories and life. Stories are sometimes over simplified to meet the reader halfway. In that simplification the writer makes the call as to what details are important to the reader but you don’t get that choice in life, all details are there and you make the final call.

So where does that leave us… In all the pondering on this topic the one certainty that I encountered was that its impossible to judge what is the best choice. Its also important to realize that the maker of the decision probably had different priorities than you…

Hemanth left a wonderful comment in the last post, there he says:

How you feel is relevant only to you, but what you do (even as a result of how you feel) is relevant to everyone around you ….. the hard truth. So i guess it comes down to saying,either … i am going to play this one for me, or…. i am going to play this one for someone/everyone else.

Its amazing how true and well put that is…