The price of being different

How do we react when we come across a woman who is middle aged, successful and not married?

How do we react when we come across a person who is gay/lesbian?

How do we react when we come across a couple who have remarried in old age?

Most of us react in the most inexplicable manner. The reaction starts with amazement and passes to confusion and ends up in a recoil of horror or disgust. We are so much used to live in our own contrived world that a slight deviation lands us in a state of utter bewilderment. We just can’t accept a person who does not think like us and who lives a life which is not considered “normal” by any standard of society. People want other people to be like them and if they don’t succeed then they turn really nasty.

The three instances which I have stated above are too big for many to digest. People cant’ even digest “slight” deviations. As a kid, I was more interested in reading books rather than playing cricket. My Physical Education teacher was a lady who just could not understand me. She always looked at me with such resentful eyes as if I was a pig who just got out of a pool of scum. She tried her best to defame me in the school as I was the topper but I never gave a hoot. I just could not understand that why was I forced to do something in which I was not interested? And why couldn’t she digest the fact that there can be a boy who does not like to play cricket? In such situations, a person turns towards his friends and parents where he expects support and encouragement. Can you imagine the trauma when he finds none? Thankfully, this was not the case with me.

Anyways, this was just a small example. I have known four women who are middle aged, chose to remain unmarried and had fabulous careers. When people are told about such women, they invariably end up making fun of them.

“Oh!! There must be some medical problem. Or maybe she was ditched and she turned into a man-hater. *giggles* “

People just can’t accept the fact that a woman/man can feel complete and satisfied even if she/he does not marry. The person might have a different definition of “Satisfaction” which most of us fail to acknowledge or understand. Its not really hard but many of us don’t have that dimension in our thought process.

A few days back I was having a discussion with a close friend of mine and we were discussing the Gay Pride March which happened in Delhi. My friend asked me that how would I react if one fine day I find out that one of my close friend is gay? This is how our talk went –

Me – Why do I need to react?
Friend – Because its not normal.
Me – What is normal then?
Friend – A girl and a boy falling in love. That’s normal.
Me – Who decides that?
Friend – That’s the way things are.
Me – And who decides that?
Friend – I don’t get your point.
Me – Why should I care about what a person do in his bedroom and what are his sexual preferences as long as I am not asked to get involved? If he is a dear friend then he will remain one. I am no one to decide how a person leads his life. Its his life. I can’t point out fingers at a person who is just living his life his own way. There are many people in this world who do things like killing people, raping innocents, robbing others of their land and money and fooling a whole nation. I would like to point my finger at them.
Friend – Errrr…I don’t know. Guess I will leave him.
Me – Congratulations. You are a part of a vast majority.

Most of us think that nature did not intended it to happen that way but lets not be God and slap our decisions on others. A human must have the right to live the way he wants to as long as he is not hurting anyone. And lets not make fun of people who don’t share our thinking.

We don’t find anything wrong when someone gives or takes Dowry. We don’t find anything wrong when we bribe an officer to get our work done. We don’t find anything wrong when we do illegal constructions on our houses. But we don’t leave any stone unturned to make the life of a person miserable who does not wish to become an Engineer or a Doctor or a person who falls in love at the age of 50 or a couple who decide not to have a baby.

All of us feel bad when someone takes a dig at us but we don’t think twice before disparaging someone. No one likes to be mistreated and told that you don’t fit in. Fit in where? Forming an opinion is good but lets have a rational and logical thinking behind one. Telling a mother that her daughter is a burden and needs to be disposed off(married) as soon as possible is the worst kind of insult you can inflict on anyone. Similarly, telling your son that he has brought disgrace on the family because he is inclined towards a career which is not of your liking is a form of mental abuse.

Lets not turn “being different” into a misfortune for the person. Lets not inflict anxiety, depression and anger on someone when we, as parents and friends, can become the person’s real strength. Lets not make fun of people who, according to our dogmatic and sectarian thinking process, don’t fit in. Lets not be the spiteful, purposeless chauvinists we were never meant to be and give some respect to the fellow humans.

[the photo is taken from – http://flickr.com/photos/nickwheeleroz/2220008689/]