There is this strange entity that exists among us, is seen and yet unseen. It is so important that we dare not raise our voice against its notions. So, we end up pushing our daughters to marry against their wishes. We end up mortgaging our homes to spend lavishly on the weddings that we can ill afford. We trample the happiness of those close to us and crush their dreams. We end up doing things against our wishes. Essentially, we go on living our lives to please this thoroughly inconsequential entity. Yes, I am talking about log or people (the society we live in). I get incensed when I hear ‘Log kya kahenge’ as the reason behind doing something.
Yes, I know that human beings are social beings. We enjoy social interactions. We have a life beyond our immediate family that includes our relatives, friends, neighbors and community. But we start endangering our sanity and that of others around us when we allow these outsiders to dictate how we lead our lives. Why must we give them so much power that they give us diktats? I had this question when I was younger. I have this question even now, as I watch helplessly.
Luckily for me, my husband and I are pretty much in sync regarding this. It is not to say that we do not listen to others. We have a set of people who tell us like it is meant to be told. But even with them, we always use our discretion to make our choices. I live in a large gated community and have never felt bogged down to toe the line just because most people feel that it is right.
If I pray, I do it on my terms. If I don’t, that also works for me. The poojas (whatever few were held in my home) never placed restrictions on people attending, their attire or what they should bring along. I have never really cared for society’s norms as such. I married, irrespective of caste or creed. My sister and I were as much a part of my mother’s funeral as were my dad and brother. I guess this strength to stand up to inane customs and rituals comes from my father who always led by example.
I hold strong opinions and I stand by them. I am an educated and intelligent individual and by virtue of that fact I weigh things and make decisions. If I feel strongly for a cause, I try to volunteer and contribute instead of making empty noises. Yes, I am slightly crazy that way.
And, if you tell me that you consider me a non-believer because I may not follow your path of prayer, loud bhajans and a certain way of dressing up, then who cares. I don’t have to justify my choices to you. Yes, I know many of you worry a lot about me and my family. And I understand that completely. Our society loves to gossip and poke its nose in others’ affairs regularly. This is our national pastime. We have to grin and bear it. But don’t expect me to pay any heed to your unsolicited advice or slants.
I have never cared for and don’t intend to worry about ‘Log kya kahenge!’ Next time, you are trying to convince me to do something, remember not to use this reason. I have stopped being a people pleaser a long time ago.
I wind up this post with one of my favorite songs that expresses the same sentiment: