Decisions – how do we think?

I had planned to post the second part of the story as the next post. But, an interesting thought came to my mind. It all started with the debate that started between me and my chitthi, while getting ready to meet my prospective groom. And hence, I thought to take a break from the narration of the previous story.
Almost a week ago. I remain the busiest during my vacations, compared to the college hours. I was finally with my chitthi. Chitthi is my father’s maternal cousin. She is a dancer, and she wanted me to be a dancer. My mother and chitthi were very good friends, but they would turn into foes only on the matter of me being a dancer. History says that after a long cold war, my mother finally agreed to train me as a dancer, but on one condition; never to perform anywhere. Recently, I asked her the reason for this, and her reply was interesting. She never wanted anyone to tease me as I danced, for the fat girl dancing would definitely make people laugh at me. This is her concern. I laughed at it, and she too didn’t respond about the folly or wisdom in this verdict. However, chitthi and I are best friends now, thanks to dance that made it possible.
My marriage being the current issue in our family, it had become a beautiful tug of war between me and my relatives. My cousins supported me, indeed. The happiness I felt among the chaos when the last proposal failed was too high, that I felt I was free from the clutches of some notorious animal. But every rose has a thorn. The happiness didn’t stay long, and this time the proposal was from a better place, with a better guy. And as usual, I was informed about this at the last moment. I didn’t protest this time. As they say, going with the flow was the best thing I could do now. And chitthi was happy that I didn’t disagree.
Today morning I woke up with a strange dream. Maybe my mind was thinking about something that I would miss, and badly wanted. Nevertheless, I thought to get a glimpse of that elixir, and I got it. A voice that was of small duration, though not expected, made my day. Once I was relieved from the strange fear or anxiety that filled my head, I disconnected the call. Now the best part of the day – getting ready and looking great. Come on, it’s the groom to be, a beautiful appearance is of utmost importance. I don’t know why I was excited. Was it for the great relief that I got with a voice, or the fact that I’d be meeting my so called husband to be. Something made me hyperactive throughout the day. Chitthi was busy scolding me and getting me the things I needed to look better. Right from clothes to the sandals, to setting my hair, I wondered what exactly the guy needed in me, that I was made to go through all these things with such enthusiasm.
I wondered if the human in me really mattered. When two people start a new life, it’s great to have a good looking person always. I agree. But as days pass, would that beauty even matter? The way I set my hair now, will my husband love the same hair which is arranged to impress him, when it is damaged and turns grey after we reach a certain age. The carefully lined eyes and the bright colored dress which are supposed to catch his eyes today, would they cheat me during the days where I might be sick and appear in the hospital robe, with eyes sunken and swollen. And since he would like me and agree to marry me as I look pretty, will he leave me once the beauty leaves me?
These were the questions that came to my mind as people around me asked me to look better, and to get ready in the way much opposite to my style of dressing or concepts of looking good. Later, instructions followed on how to behave. Now, this was really absurd. Impress someone with fake behavior, and make him nod to spend his lifetime with me. Anyhow, I didn’t argue much, but these questions sparked an interesting debate between me and chitthi, who finally ended by saying, “I’m your aunt. I know things better. You are young and hence you won’t agree. Time teaches”.
I wondered why time was so partial that it didn’t fill the heads of young people, but made wisdom accessible to all our elders. I kept thinking about this. Human mind is wonderful. We never know on what basis we take decisions. I remember this book, ‘Thinking, fast and slow’ by Daniel Kanheman. It explains about the distinct modes of decision making in two aspects, System 1 thinking and System 2. System 1 is an automatic, fast and often unconscious way of thinking. It is autonomous and efficient, requiring little energy or attention, but is prone to biases and systemic errors. System 2 is an effortful, slow and controlled way of thinking. It requires energy and can’t work without attention, but once engaged, it has the ability to filter the instincts of system 1 (a YouTube video that briefly outlines this aspect, here).
Maybe I was trying to make his system 1 thinking to decide about me. All these efforts of appearing good were to make the system 1 happy. It is deceit from my side, I know. But most of the time, we love this deceit. The movies that we see showcase the love between two individuals in many ways, majority would start because of the beautiful appearances, and the individuals being smitten by the beauty. But, will all the beautiful faces have beautiful souls; the souls which would make the ‘system 2 thinking’ nod for the instincts of ‘system 1’? There are chances that beautiful faces have the beautiful souls, but could that mean that loving someone would be successful on this attractive physical appearance? If beautiful souls could be hidden behind the so called ‘ugly faces’, aren’t we falling in love with a wrong start, a wrong purpose?
What I have observed is, being in love is an important thing. It changes us. We are never the same once we decide to merge with the aspects of another individual. The person with whom we love to be with might not be perfect for the world, but, he or she is perfect for us, our perspective, our ‘system 2’ thinking. An attractive appearance is great, but I think it’s unfair to judge a person based on that and decide. Maybe, the reasons why some relationships won’t work at a later stage is this- the start and the purpose we fell in love with. Infatuation might not lead to love always. Trying to go by the notions of beauty, of having an attractive cover need not necessarily hold good for everyone. The shell that hides the pearl inside it, might not be beautiful as the pearl; the one who despises the shell for not being beautiful and leaves it on the shore, loses the pearl hidden inside too.
People who get impressed with our good qualities need not love us always. They might not stand our flaws. But there are souls who need our flaws, they know us and stay with us because they love to live with our flaws. It is always better to be with someone who loves our flaws, for virtues are seen and praised by everyone, the vices don’t attract much and these vices stay with us. Falling in love with a particular article makes us feel good, and perhaps love the writer. But that doesn’t mean that we would love all the articles of that particular writer. Probably, we loved the genre of the article irrespective of the writer. And the genre isn’t unique to a writer alone. But sometimes when we love the thoughts and skill set of the writer, we love him and all his upcoming articles, irrespective of the genre. Because, his thoughts and his writing skills are his alone, the projection of his soul; the one who loves this loves the writer too.


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