“So do you like her?”
“You know whom I’m talking about.”
“No Ravi, I don’t know what you are talking about. Be clear.”
“Come on yaar. You need not be so defensive. You can tell me. After all...”
“Ok. Ok. Don’t start this now. Yes I like her.”
“Yes, she also likes me. We like each other and we also want to marry each other.”
“Hmmm. And what..”
“Between, why are you asking all this?”
“I just wanted to know. Leave that. Thant’s not important. What I was saying was that have you talked to your parents?”
“And what do they say?”
“Nothing. They said it’s not possible.”
“Yes. And they want me to marry some other girl of our caste.”
“But bhai try to convince them.”
“It’s of no use. They won’t understand.”
Never in my life had I seen this person crying. But this day was different. Things were looking very strange on this day. The CCD was looking very gloomy and suffocating. The coffee that I loved so much did not taste the same. I was not able to gulp it down. I don’t know why but I was feeling choked. It’s not sympathy but I’m feeling sad for this person. I couldn’t believe it’s him only.
“Ravi I just can’t think of marrying another girl. I know I won’t be able to give her what she deserves and that would be very unfair to her. Why don’t our parents understand this?”
So this person has also fallen for the temptation. All through our lives, we had this understanding that we live in such conservative families that we won’t be able to do anything even if we want to. But he has broken that pact and now I am all alone.
“But didn’t we know it all along? Then how can you do this. We always knew that our parents will never agree.”
I knew that I was sounding very stupid to him. He would have listened to all these arguments many times before. So I didn’t want to repeat them in front of him. And I knew that they won’t have any impact.
We don’t live our lives as individuals. We are entangled in the mesh of all the relationships and commitments and expectations of all those who surround us. We can’t move on our own without affecting this mesh in ways we can’t even think about. A small aberration can have such far reaching consequences that moving alone is just unthinkable. You are bound to create a lot of flutter even if you just think of doing that.
Does that mean that you are not courageous enough to stand against the set beliefs and rituals, that you have been bitten down by the curse of orthodoxy, that you are timid enough that you just want to maintain the status quo and don’t want to move ahead.
The answer is no. What it simply means is that you are respecting the view of your elders. They have grown up with these ideals and beliefs and you have no right to challenge them or ask for an exception for yourself. If you think that your elders are very conservative then they have all the right to be like that. Its you who doesn’t have the right to be liberal because you always knew the viewpoint of your elders and you actually cheat them when you go against them or even think of going against them.
“But what’s my fault???”
“Even I knew all this. But it just happened. You don’t have control over your feelings.”
Very true, that you don’t have control over your feelings. But you do have control over your actions. Your heart might start revolting but you won’t fall until your mind yields. You may start feeling for a girl or start liking a girl. That’s not in your control. But once you realize this, what you do is completely up to you. You may move ahead knowing very well what the consequences will be but deliberately disregarding them. Or you may halt, make an assessment of what’s happening and then move wisely. Saying “it just happened” is not an excuse because it’s you only who did everything. How can you disown your own decisions and actions by saying that it just happened.
“So what have you thought? What are you going to do now?”
“I don’t know.”
I was caught in a very dicey situation. I had no other option but to help him in whatever he decides to do. And whatever that whatever may be, by all probability it will be something that will be completely against my own beliefs.
“From this point, there are not many options left.”
“I know. There are precisely two.”
“What? Two options??? What are these two options?”
“I marry a girl of my parents’ choice or I elope with the girl I love.”
“And you plan to exercise one of the two?”
“I know it will be very difficult for you to make a choice.”
“Earlier I had left it on time. I had expected that things will change. But now the time has come to act.”
I don’t know if I am right, but I found this statement very revolting. Though his face was blank but I felt that something was cooking up in his mind.
“It seems that you have made a decision.”
“And that is???”
He was silent.
“What is it?”
He remained silent. And that is all I got as the reply to my question.