A change of pace here, but instead of thinking of a topic beforehand and then meticulously structuring the content around it, I decided to write about an epiphany that struck me moments ago! Hope this goes half as well as it seemed in my head!
So, I just returned from a wedding party, hosted by a close colleague, and obviously her very new husband and an equally old boyfriend. (If that wasn’t clear, I am talking of one and the same guy, by the way!)
Now, don’t even get me started on what a relief it is to see a bunch of faces in these times, which haven’t been otherwise glued to the home screen of my favourite video calling app, named ‘frequently dialled contacts’! And I literally saw ten of those faces! It was almost as good as recognizing another species on an uninhabited island, just less creepy than ‘Lost’.
Obviously, following COVID precautionary measures, this was a closed gathering filled with colleagues and friends alike, with a couple of babies thrown in the mix, who – believe me when I say this – were the life of the party! There was a short ceremonial ring exchange, some good homemade virus-free food, and the oldest sanitizer known to man – alcohol!
Side note for the groom, who personally made sure that we did not have any dearth of alcohol, either in terms of volume or variety! On exhibition was every kind of liquor, starting with a bottle of humble port wine and ending with a respectable bourbon that went down really fine with a few blocks of ice. Please don’t ask how do I know about the bourbon-ice equation. I just know!
The party was great, there were quite a few interesting conversations, quite some appreciable stand-up material, and yet, I walked away with only one thought in mind. Why can’t people just be happy?
To understand this conclusion, you may have to bear with my chain of thought, which started with ‘who’ the couple is. Surprise, surprise – the guy is a Hindu, while the girl is a Muslim. Though honestly, in today’s time, why should this even be a surprise?
In times when street vendors are roaming around the street with iPhones in hand, and where orange-haired gentlemen are leading nations, why is the religion of a person even a surprise! Right? Just vote for Tim Apple to be the president!
The guy and the girl know each other since college. Six years since then, they’ve managed to make a life for themselves, and they are thriving. Why do they need the approval of age-old compartmentalization that only makes sense on paper today?
Well, I tried to logically reason through this problem.
Maybe it is all about the genetic preservation of a race! Maybe pure-bred humans, as they call them, are more resilient to extinction than other species. If that’s a fact, then why are Parsis on the verge of extinction as a community?
They were cautious; they were successful; they were in power at one point in time. Where are they now?
Perhaps it’s not genetic integrity that’s in question, but the commonality of beliefs and customs! Hindus worship idols, Muslims don’t. So what? Hindus generally don’t eat cow meat, but Muslims don’t eat pig meat. So what? Hindus celebrate a festival of lights, but Muslims celebrate the festival tied to a moon. SO WHAT?
People can believe in different things, different food, different customs, even different traditions, but that does not stop them from being people! If I like someone because she gets me, I just like her! Human interactions are not governed by religion, at least not in my book!
Because if that was the case, then why didn’t we start restructuring our entire educational system based on religion? Let’s have a Hindutva Rashtriya Vidyalaya or a Mohammed Sultaniya Maktab for everyone beyond a certain age! Restricted interactions from an early age, right?The fact that these don’t exist is proof of the sanctity of thought that people relate to in the early stages of their life. It is only when they think of settling down, is when ‘religion’ becomes so important!
At a surface level, this issue seems to be part political and part hereditary.
Someone, at some point in time, thought of religion as the right fulcrum to twist the very foundation of society on, and he went ahead with his brilliant plan! Generations after, his descendants only believed their actions to be just, because some elderly folk told them so!
Paper thin logic, guys. Butter paper thin…
But now, I see this couple, battling those odds, and establishing their own beliefs, a couple that only understands their affection for each other.
They are aware of the restrictions of society. They are aware of the inevitable challenges. And yet, they choose to wander off farther than most people would dare to.
To be happy… That’s it!
But that is not what everyone prioritizes, right? Communal happiness is, at times, far more sought after than personal happiness. Acceptance in society is the gold standard that everyone strives for, even if it comes at the expense of self-content.
The couple in question fought this belief, but at a heavy price. They distanced one side of the family, who sided with the communal school of thought. Even then, they tried really hard to make both ends meet with an amicable resolution but failed miserably.
What’s the silver lining then?
They got married. … And their happiness knows no bounds
Yes, it was against the family. Yes, it was against what the community thinks is ‘appropriate’. But it was for companionship, for love, and for a new school of thought that needs to begin at someplace!
And they are not alone. They have me believing in them. They have others who think that this fight is the right one. But most important of all, they have raised the only question that matters in this COVID-ridden world – why can’t people just be happy, instead of making this an impossible world to live in?
Because without individual happiness we are only a fragment of what society could truly be – magnificent.