Every single person existing on the face of this earth has at least one question that bothers them- the type of question depending on the social strata, upbringing, and surroundings that they have been into since the day they were born. I am no different- even I have a question embedded in my mind that I know the Indian society can never answer. I am sure that the issue I am going to narrate now is relatable to almost all Indian youngsters belonging to the Indian society- more so if you belong to the middle class.
It’s my personal belief that there is no middle ground when it comes to idealism- either the beliefs are extremely unconventional, or they are extremely orthodox. But the only phrase that keeps me in a suspension of both the extremes is: “Loke Ki Bolbe?”/”Log Kya Kahenge?” (What will other people say?) This is a very commonly used term, which has successfully been able to crush hundreds of passionate hearts and in turn resulted in several possibilities getting nipped in the bud. Here comes my question: Who ARE these people whom we people are so obsessed about? What exactly are we afraid of? Those individuals who are supposedly /our kith and kin’ and are never found in any crisis, but suddenly they rise from the graves hinting a slight aroma of a scandal in the family? I tried getting the answers numerous times but never got one that could satisfy me. Let us now have a look at a few scenario and then I might make you understand why this is such an important, and yet an underrated question in all our lives.
Taan Avasthi has been the star student of his school, not only because he was so perfect in academics also because he had an innate affinity towards music. When the board exam approached, all that his guitar could accumulate was not melodic tunes, but loads of dust. While Taan’s mind wanted to reach out to the dust ridden guitar, his parents forced him to pursue his engineering- otherwise, ‘Log Kya Kahenge?’ One morning, as the sun rays kissed the horizon, it kissed Taan’s body which was hanging from the ceiling. That unfortunate fellow could not take the burden of these three seemingly simple words, and his parents were left with a lap full of the void.
Rithika Chakraborty was a girl who loved to break stereotypes and bashed patriarchy in the face. Her only fault was that she was born in an unnaturally Orthodox family, who gave more emphasis on maintaining their standards by hook or by crook and paid little attention to what kept their daughter happy. As out of the box as she was, it was not something astonishing that in the array of ‘apparently’ suitable bachelors (“doctors”, “engineers” and NRI’s belong to the exclusive brand section), she chose someone as chirpy and passionate as herself to be her life partner a musician. Right at that moment, ‘hell broke loose’, and she was grounded under the heavy burden of false idealism and deceptive sentimentalism. She was a practical girl, and wanted to know the reason behind their unruly behaviour- all she could gather was- “Loke Ki Bolbe? Tui Ekta Guitarist Ke Biye Korbi? Tor Didira Dekh Doctor, Engineer Ke Biye Koreche” (what will people say? You will marry a guitarist while all your sisters have married doctors and engineers?). Her rational mind could not comprehend a tinge of this sentence, and she could not understand what effect it would have on others if she chose to stay with the person she loved. Fleeing was not an option for her, and she decided to fight back. Two years later, she emerged proudly holding the hands of a famous music director- the same person who was a struggling guitarist way back.
In both these scenarios, we see two possible endings. While Taan decided to flee, Rithika chose to start a war. But the similarity in both cases is that they were both forced to choose between inner bliss and external show. My question is- why would anyone have to choose between the two? Why others' opinions and criticisms would be rendered so important that any parent would have to overlook the happiness of their child. Isn’t the tie of the umbilical bond supposed to be robust enough to fight back to these trivial condemnations?
But no, the fault is ours, and we give our godforsaken relatives the utmost priority when we are deciding something important for our offsprings- yes, the superficial well-wishers because of whom your son or daughter has to choose death over life as their passions get crushed to the core. Think about it. Let your child make mistakes. Let them flex and learn. But never make them choose- otherwise when your son looks abnormal under depression, or the body of your daughter has gone cold lying beside her suicide note, -“Log Kya Kahenge?”