A very familiar scene:
Boy and girl, a very committed couple since long, having a candle-light dinner, with some soft mushy music playing in the background…(obviously!) are lost deep in each other’s eyes, when…
Boy: My princess…
Girl: My angel…
Boy: I love you…
Girl: I love you too…
Boy: Will you marry me?
Girl: Ohhh… YES!!
Boy: Great. Then let’s get you converted…
Girl: …… ??!??!!??!!
Well, maybe it’s not usually as bluntly put as that. Or maybe it is. I don’t really know. But it certainly is put sooner or later before a person decides to marry someone he (or sometimes… she) loves, who belongs to a different religion/caste/community.
And all this while people tell me that the new, young and developing India has moved into the twenty-first century!! (Really?)
Which makes me wonder that why would someone want to change a person he loves! People have simply no issues when they ‘supposedly’ decide to fall in love. No issues still while going around the town dating that someone special. And no issues still more while flaunting their ‘committed’ status on Facebook, Orkut and what not.
But when it comes to actually marrying a person from a different background, issues start appearing from absolutely nowhere. Then is the time when age-old and absolutely pathetic reasons fly out from left, right and center.
We have such different customs and traditions…
My family won’t accept her without getting converted…
We have to answer the society…
Do we ever realize the heights of ridiculous prejudices regarding different communities in our own country, though we see it all around us, everyday of our lives?
My granny’s cousin was so prejudiced against certain communities that she wouldn’t even let such a person anywhere near her kitchen, let alone eat the food prepared by him/her. Unfortunately, she passed away before I could put some of my questions for her to answer.
- the caste/community/religion of the person who sowed seeds in the farms?
- the caste/community/religion of the person who carried the grain to the crusher?
- the caste/community/religion of the person who crushed the grain into flour?
- the caste/community/religion of the person who packed the flour?
- the caste/community/religion of the person who distributed it to the market?
We all travel in buses, trains and planes. Do we ever bother to ascertain the caste, community or religion of the driver or pilot? Someone in whose hands we literally put our lives…!!!
Does a person stop sending his/her child to the school because one of the teachers is from a different community? Does a person refuse to do business with someone of the other religion? Does a critically ill patient first ascertain the caste of the doctor on duty?
NO! Because those are our needs! In times of need, we let all our prejudices go into hibernation. Only to appear with renewed vigor when it’s the time for marriage!
And most often, it is the girl who is expected to ‘convert’ if she decides to marry into a different community (though there are many examples otherwise too… as per my own experiences!).
And then I again wonder why such ‘wisdom’ dawns on the individual not once before the talk of marriage. It baffles my mind no end. Are people in a state of illusion or delusion while they are falling in love? Do they imagine their love-interest to be of their own communities? Do they forget all such reasons of ‘wisdom’ while they date?
Why would a sane person try to change anything about someone he or she so dearly loves?
I have actually known people who broke-off their ‘relationship’ (that’s such a big misnomer!) just because the other didn’t agree to convert into their community. I seriously ought to be informed if there’s anything more ridiculous than that.
I would simply ask such people, that “while falling in love with that special person, did you ask your family’s, community’s or the society’s permission? (And did they allow you?) And even if your partner accepts your preposterous demands, wouldn’t you be changing the very identity of the person?
What would be better?
1. A bride who doesn’t convert, but cares for everyone and follows all the customs of her new family as they should be followed.
2. A bride who converts (or is from the same community) but cares for nothing.
We, in India, are brought up on a daily dose of some outrageous prejudices regarding different communities. Though in unspoken terms, we are also taught to forget all such prejudices in times of materialistic needs. But as it is said, ‘Love is blind’, one becomes blind while falling in love.
I so dearly wish that love was deaf as well, so that all such ridiculous talks from our society wouldn’t affect lovers' ears…
Picture Credits: Google Images