The whole episode with Shrija, the daughter of South Indian superstar Chiranjeevi, got on my nerves. I felt that she could not have chosen a worse way to humiliate her family. Then a couple of days later she was on TV, stating that her family had kept her under house arrest for a year and felt threatened by them. Her relatives stated shock at her behaviour and then announced their support for her.Since then, society has gone bonkers debating their family issue. Some called her a fool and expressed grief for the family. Others lauded her courage and blamed the family for not bringing her up right. But what right does a layman have to comment on a situation they know little about?
But, yes, society speaks and that’s where the problem lies.
I know two friends who chose to leave home and get married. One while she was still studying, and another who was a successful professional. Both marriages ended in divorce and terrible emotional scars. The second friend is someone very close to my heart. I have seen and experienced the trauma she and her family underwent. To the family the experience was something that tested their faith and sapped up all their strength. But the pain caused by the so called friends and society around, who chose to give their opinion to them, was and is the worst injury.
Society deemed her a worthless daughter and termed her parents as bad ones, who did not even raise the child right. I see the consequences of society’s words even today on the family, rendering them incapable of making the best decisions today; just because the fear of others. So who has really caused more harm, the girl, her parents or a society that assumes the moral role of deciding what is right by passing judgements?
I see my friend struggle even today. The knowledge of the pain her parent’s experienced haunts her still. The knowledge of the shame society imposed on her parents, hurts her more. What really is the society’s contribution to making their lives happier? None.
No one helped them see that she had made a bad choice of partner and had understood what relationships are in the process. Her parents helped her overcome it and helped their daughter re-make a life for herself. But the focus is still on shame, regret and parent’s disappointment. Thats what the world around has made it about.
So many youngsters continue in bad marriages they have chosen for themselves. All in an attempt to prove their decisions right. Very rarely do marriages that begin at that age, last long and friends of the same age cannot really help. At 19 the reality that a marriage is little about love and all about managing practical day to day living, problems and expectations, doesn’t sink in. Marriage is about working for 8 hours a day so you can buy groceries, hire a maid, paying utility bills, and then about saving for a house, children, their education and if some money is left then, go eat out, buy electronic gadgets and clothes. And when you come home from work, marriage is about cooking, picking up the clothes, folding the washed ones, putting away the washed stuff, cleaning rooms and bathrooms, dusting the house and many such chores. Then come children and family and a dozen other tasks. Love is just the glue that helps two people do all this together.
Why is it that though youngsters grow up seeing our parents do all this, such things escape our head when we are in love. At that age we haven’t gathered enough experiences to formulate our main needs as people and our values. Growing up we are not part of what it takes to fun a family and so we don’t even simple awareness of the reality that is life. Parents simple aim to protect children and children pay no attention. But the world watches all this patiently and comments when it gets the chance.
But as youngsters grow older they understand the decisions they once made. The knowledge of our past actions weighs heavily on us, if we are not taught that mistakes however grave are a part of the growing up process. Someone I know said it so correctly recently, ‘We live in a world where our children’s value system is being constantly challenged.’ Parents need to know that they are not responsible for their children’s action. Shielding them from their mistakes is not something they can do. Instil values in them throughout childhood and know that those values will be realised by your children when they grow up. Don’t expect to see that when they are growing up. Growing up is a process that involves bad choices no matter how grave those choices are. And in today’s world a wrong choice of life partner isn’t the end of the all things right in you or your child. Life will become better, it always does.
The world youngsters dwell in is so different from the world of the adults. You both can find a middle path. But what that path is, only the parents and children can decide. But if the child decides to head a way where you are sure it will stumble, all you can do is give it and hand and help it up. Deal with the pain together. Don’t add to each other’s pain. And mostly decide between yourself what the experience means and has taught you all. Don’t let the world impose its lessons on you.