Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Two Same Faces Of Two Similar Coins

Der Himmel ueber Berlin by DpressedSoul
A happy smile greets us at the door. "Hey, quickly, open the door!" A moment later, the room becomes a little stage, as a one-woman revue swings into action, with introductions in French, followed by American evergreen songs and English matinee favourites, Indonesian lullabies and children's songs, and a smattering of Chinese and Japanese to keep it more in context. This bewitching 360° tour-de-force was at times threatened to be derailed by sudden drowsiness attacks in between acts, but while in the act of literally falling, the body lurches awake and swings upwards immediately into another song or catchy monologue.

It's a manic expression of all a mind has encountered, and is encountering. Such a stark contrast to the other women in the same room, who tend to be quiet, depressed, or even socially withdrawn. Maybe it's a reflection of the difference of being born as they are. The show-girl wannabe had the opportunity to get a degree and even a professional qualification. The other ladies tend not to have more than 7 years of formal education throughout their entire lives. It's a choice no one makes, especially not at birth. But in that same room, these two groups share more than meets the eye.

As much as their differences at birth lead them to have two very different types of lives, yet the same qualities were exhibited by them. Both of them tried to the best of their abilities to square off against the challenges of life. No one quit on life - no one decided to exit left of their own will. But their being in the same room indicates their fragility, their humanness. As much as no one is perfect, there are some differences that need greater care and understanding, greater patience and hope.

There is no practical way to judge how great or how onerous were the challenges faced by each of them. But the majority of the women in the room, those quiet ones given over to crying, melancholic blank stares, or fretful, quiet questions, most likely were taking great leaps of faith and dicing with death when they decided to travel half the world and more to serve strangers in a strange land. Not that it's any easier to find and keep a job in a dog-eat-everything world today. No, both paths are, in essence, a gamble, that at the end of the day one makes it with being and body intact.

Yet, the stakes are more easily seen to be not in favour of those who don't really have a choice against working abroad. Their brokenness is usually more visible, more dramatic, more evocative of the damage inflicted on their humanity. Their wounds, their mournful stares, their meaningless deaths, these are more poetic than the dying of the spirit, the cracking of the facade of rationality, and the slow transformation into something which was never intended, the stuff of nightmares, and even abhorred.

Let's take a moment. Everyone is precious. Everyone wants to be good. Nobody wants to be less than perfect, or be unsuccessful. Nobody really wants to be in a race or a competition to the death, or to be chained to anything. And if anyone falters, if anyone doesn't come up smelling like roses, it's not the end of the world, it's not the stamp of failure that cannot be erased; it's not a disease that can be caught by affiliation, by friendship, by caring for them. If we remember what we wanted, what we really wish we are, then maybe, just maybe, we should take the time to care and to embrace them, for we are all really more similar, and on the same path, than we could admit to ourselves.