It's amazing how when you're thinking of something, you can find so many other things that seem to relate to your train of thought. I wanted to write about parental disapproval of love marriages and the difficulties their children face in opposing them and getting married to the person of their choice. And that was exactly when i read this post . This post talks about career choices and how most kids are influenced by parents onto a career path that does not really suit them. I found that the poem had profound meaning for what i wanted to say as well.
So many of those around me today seem to be in love. And they have been in their relationships for a long time or even if it is for a short time they are completely dedicated and committed to the relationship. In true Chennai form, most of these relationships are carried on without the knowledge of parents. There is no true concept of dating in Chennai. Parents would not dream of allowing their children to go out in this manner. So when a guy and girl fall in love, they hide the relationship from their parents and wait until the Big Day when they need to tell their parents that they are in love. More often that not, this is the day when the parents themselves start looking out for an alliance for their daughter. And so it is the girl who has to tell her parents that she is in love and that she has chosen her life partner herself. And then - all hell breaks loose.
When they fell in love, this guy and girl did not really notice the difference between them. Whether they belonged to different religions, different castes, different positions in society with respect to wealth and status. It's true, Love is Blind. And Deaf and Dumb too, most of the time. :-) But when she tells her parents about the guy - these are the first things that parents want to know. If there is a mismatch in any one of the above reasons, it is enough for the parent to refuse the daughter's request that she be allowed to live her life with who she wants - this guy she has fallen so much in love with. She tries telling them that he is a very eligible bachelor, he looks good, he earns well, he has gone Onsite a couple of times, he is very responsible, hard-working etc. It falls on deaf ears. She tries telling her parents that he loves her more than life. And that he will take care of her forever. No response from the parent. She tells her parents that she will be happy only with him. And if she cannot marry him, her life will become one of misery. Her parents stand like stone, immovable. All parents do not react in this way - there are various ways in which disapproval is expressed. There are parents who lock away their daughter at home and do not allow her to talk to the guy anymore until she is 'safely' engaged to a guy of their choice. There are parents who try to 'make their daughter see reason'. Tell her that it is for her own good that they are doing this. The guy she has chosen is simply not suitable for her. Differences in culture and upbringing cannot be forgotten so easily. There are also parents who begin a emotional blackmail. 'Is this what i brought you up to be?', they say. 'All the hard work over the years, all the dreams i had for your marriage.. are they to end like this??' Or even worse, they resort to blackmailing children with their lives... Lines like 'If you oppose me and get married to HIM, i will not be alive. You make the choice yourself, ME or HIM!!! '
It is not all parents who react like this, I know. But lately, most of my friends' parents seem to be reacting like this. And each of the girls in question, has chosen her parent over her lover, the man she had chosen to spend the rest of her life with. Why do parents do this? Why do they force children to give up on the love of their lives? Life is unpredictable. We do not know if we make the right choices. But that does not mean that we make no choice. We make our choices and our decisions and we learn to live by them. The girl or guy in love is entitled to make his or her choices in life, even if they are wrong ones. It is his or her life. And no one, not even the parent can live it for them.
Read Khalil Gibron's poem again. And please do not try to live our lives for us. Our mistakes are our own. Our joys are our own. Our life is our own. We will live and learn.