Mildred Pierce: What not to do as a parent

Spoiler Alert: Contains reference to plots and sub-plots.

As the title suggests, this is not a review, only a critique of characters. Mark these words, critique of characters, not of the work of James M. Cain or the makers of HBO miniseries. If you have not watched the HBO mini-series yet please take time out to do it. If you do not intend to watch it here is the synopsis.

“Mildred Pierce depicts an overprotective, self-sacrificing mother during the Great Depression who finds herself separated from her husband, opening a restaurant of her own and falling in love with a new man, all the while trying to earn her narcissistic daughter’s love and respect.”

Mildred is the best baker in Glendale CA, inexperienced businessperson, hopeless lover/partner, and a God-awful mother. Her story, essentially, is an emotionally violent journey of a mother-daughter relationship and a study of what not to do in parenting. As the story progresses, one feels this constant urge to slap some sense in to Mildred as she slowly but surely plods along the path of self-destruction and while at it manages to ruin several lives, most importantly the life of aforementioned narcissistic daughter Veda.

If I may deconstruct a parent-child relationship during the child’s formative years, Parents encourage growth in three ways.

1. First and most important: the values they inculcate in the child directly or most often indirectly by being a role model. This includes moral values (Honesty, humility, hard-work, etc.), societal values, sense and extent of right or wrong, etc.
2. Then they try to equip the child with means and tools to realise full potential intellectually or talent wise.
3. Then, and only then, they assist or encourage the child’s ambitions or dreams.

Remember the order of importance: 1. Right values, 2. Means, & 3. Ambition

Mildred somehow had it exactly the opposite. She first encouraged Veda’s ambition, and then tried (and failed) to equip her with means to achieve her full potential while most important ingredient, values, was simply thrown out of the Pierce household. No wonder Veda grew up to become a poisonous, conniving, petulant, pretentious woman (I almost wrote bitch there).

Ironically, the only person to have a measure of Veda in her own simple sense was Moire, Mildred’s other daughter who was supposedly too young and naïve to make a difference. It is best encapsulated in a dialogue where she is talking to her mother about Veda, “You know how she is mother; she likes to pretend.” Instead of correcting Veda’s pretentions Mildred actually changes her life to join her daughter’s web of self-deception.

With the luxury of cinematized hindsight, these observations might seem obvious but ask yourself, have you not seen similar real life parent-child relationship ending in despair for all parties involved?

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About Coffee

When the going gets tough, the tough takes a coffee break.”

                                                                                   

Tough’s wife in an interview to Tough’s drinking habit weekly      

 

…. And that is probably the only time this tough ever drinks coffee, if tough under consideration goes by a name that start with M, ends with L, and has R I D U in the middle, in the exact given order.

 

People have written ballads in extolment of coffee, some of whom I personally know. Others go overboard with adulation for it to show unswerving loyalty in a manner which suggests it gives them pleasures of the kind one does not talk about when old or children are part of the audience. For such, the worshippers and not the old and c., I have only one thing to say: next time you skim through the pretentious menu of the overpriced coffee shop, try a pint of beer sometime. It works better.

 

By now, you would have figured out that, I am no coffee worshipper, and I hate anyone who does so. To be completely honest, on a larger scale of things, I am a misanthrope, but I have a singular dislike for people with piety for the beverage.

 

However, it would clearly be a case of deceiving the audience if I say I do not drink coffee. I do drink coffee and in no small quantity for that matter. In fact, on very busy days, strong smell of coffee has been reported to emanate from my workspace, and a very similar scent has been sensed in restrooms as well. My boss has been seen noting a hurried point or two, presumably positive ones for my appraisal, as and when he gets a strong odor of the beverage with a justified presumption that Mridul Greenwold is working hard.

 

To cut a long story short, you must extend the story by at least a few sentences, for it to be noticed. Therefore, I resume. Coffee, one might say, is only my bad-weather friend (as in opposite to fair weather friends).

 

We are like two war-weathered comrades, having roughed many a fiery battles and breached many an enemy lines together. We first came together for 2003 War of Boards. We were together once again when boards reattacked in 2005. After the second attack, peace treaty was signed and we returned to our respective homes, into arms of our respective lovers. And when we thought we have already seen the last of each other, the chemists started their crusades and continued for three years, until truce was called and sanity restored.

 

The Joint Venture is mostly avoided but we would rather see each other, than face the battles of our lives alone. We do not share fond memories but the bond runs deeper than it seems.

 

 

 

 

On role models

 

To those who have never had role models, this will not make much sense. To those who have or have had the habit of cultivating role models, this shall come as a moment of solemn reflection. To those who consider themselves to be someone’s role model, this shall come across as a realization.

This shall also come across, to all, as a product of unemployed neurons on one sloth of an afternoon.

 

An intelligible man once commented upon the habit of putting disclaimers upfront. I have been editing them out of my previous blog entries but today I let it in. This, he implied, brings into light your fear of not being accepted. Insecurity some call it. Right probably, but after typing out this shit you are already too tired to go back and cut it out. We shall not tear through the article, neither shall we look over our shoulders to double check. We shall trudge along at a leisurely amateur typing speed, careful not to leave our role models very far behind.

 

Speaking of which, I implore you to think for a while about this entity- Role Model. This is the person you emulated during the vital growing years of your life. I mean emulate in its complete sense. Not just when-in-Rome-do-as-romans-do routine, but proper walk-talk-rock like him/her thing. In the long run even this is practically the Rome routine but that is beside the point. Point being, what has become of them now?

As I dig up people I used to dig (clever, huh?), I am surprised, and not very pleasantly. Some are still around and probably will be for years to come. Some I am barely in touch with due to lack of time. Some I am not in touch with and time has got nothing to do with it.Also, some I forget, which in itself says a lot.

 

I am not sorry for them, or maybe I am, wrongfully so, but I have a theory to explain this. At this rate I shall have a theory of/for everything very soon.

 

Let’s set down a few postulates to explain the same.

 

1)      Role model is at a value higher than that of emulator on the tangent of emulator’s growth/change.

2)       Rate of growth/change of emulator is generally greater than that of role model on the tangent on which emulator is grows/changes.

3)      The role model and the emulator need not grow/change on the same tangent but to gain a perspective on their relative growth/change we observe the reflection of one’s growth/change on the tangent of other. This is generally the case where even if there is not much difference in their rate of growth/change we observe that due to disparity in the tangent of growth/change, the emulator is able to catch up and eventually overtake the role model.

Also in this case we grow to respect our role models nonetheless for we know that they grow on some other tangent.  

4)      Psychological state of a person can be completely defined by its position in space and time.

5)      There is no absolute frame of reference, no maximums and zeroes, only average Joes and weirdoes.

6)      Growth/change of one as a reflection on the other is given by the absolute change multiplied by the cosine of the angle between the tangents of the two. This angle, therefore, is the measure of disparity between the 2 tangents.

 

There arises, at times, if only to test our characters methinks, an eventuality when a person’s growth/change is in direction opposite to ours, and we conveniently presume our direction to be positive and the person’s negative. Since there are no zeroes and maximums, there arise no chances of it being positive or negative. Just because we have eyes only in the front does not mean we do not have the capacity to look around. Strange how we are always moving ahead and people are either digressing or downright opposing.

While we judge people by their position on our tangent, or worse still their rate of growth/change on our tangent, shouldn’t we be judging people, if at all, by their absolute rate of growth/change?

Truly, a sloth of an afternoon, huh?

 

P.S.  About the disclaimer thingy, I don’t think I suffer from the fear of not being accepted. Of not being understood? Probably. Of being misunderstood? Definitely.

 

 

The poet wizard

When you are sure that your words will pale in comparison, you know better than writing more.

Yeh na thee hamari qismat keh wisaal-e-yaar hota
Agar aur jeete rahtay yehi intezaar hota

Tere waade par jiyee ham to yeh jaan jhoot jana
Keh khushi se mar na jaate agar sach yeh aitbaar hota

Yeh kahaan ki dosti hai bane hain dost naaseh
Koi chaarasaaz hota koi ghamghuzar hota

Kahoon kis se main keh kya hai shab-e-gham buri balaa hai
Mujhe kya bura tha marana agar ek baar hota

Huay mar keh ham jo ruswa huay kyun ka gharq-e-dariya
Na kabhi janaza uthata na kahin mazaar hota

Yeh masaael-e-tasavvuf yeh tera bayan ghalib
Tujhe ham wali samajhate Joh na badaakhwar hota.

T R A N S L A T I O N
I N
E N G L I S H

It was never in my fate to meet my beloved.
Even if more years of life was to me allocated, I would have been still awaiting the prize cherished.

If you think that I had been living on your promise, it is a lie.
For, if I had faith in you, would not of joy I would die.

Woe betide, my friendship, that the friends give pious advice and sermons they deliver.
I need someone on whose shoulders could I weep, who could allay my grief and my fears.

Whom should I tell that the night of sorrow is full of pangs.
I would not have resented the death, if it comes only once.

Disgraced, as I was after my death, why didn’t I drown in a river or sea.
Neither, there would have been a funeral, nor tomb erected for me.

The marvels of ethical problems and your statements full of meanings.
I would have counted you, “Ghalib” amongst dearest friends of God; if only, you had not been a lover of drinks.

When you read this you understand what Byron talked about when he wrote:

“To such as see thee not my words were weak;
To those who gaze on thee what language could they speak?”

Unfair

It is not unfair that the biggest match of the season for arsenal was on the night before my most difficult anual exam, what is unfair is the way european dream ended for arsenal this season on the eventful night….

All grossly unfair.

This is my first post for the heck of posting, With so much chemistry in my life right now its hard to think rationally, let alone creatively for anything worthwhile. Till happy days.