Well, how selfish are we? Do we really live for ourselves or do we succumb to the pressures of our society, or our family. Irony is that it is still selfish when we giving to the pressures of our family/ society, the act is not selfless but rather a show of weakness to withstand the kind of pressure.
In India, especially, lifestyle of most of us is society bound, we let the society decide set all most all the standards of our lives. From basic things like the kind of dress one should be wearing to bigger things like the kind of education one should have, the kind of free time activities permissible, the right age for marriage, even the right groom or bride, the right age for a having a child.....the list is perhaps never ending.
A German Boss of mine once emphatically proclaimed, I quote “having children has its advantages and disadvantages”. This is how the west logics, but the east on the contrary is heavily bound by the norms of the society and culture, there is nothing right or wrong about the status of the two culture but I mean only to state here the way the things are; even a pauper here, in india, thinks about the continuation of his lineage. At times I wonder what lineage, is the continuation of our blood line that important, and if yes why???? Few questions for which the answer clearly is a ‘no’, the world will not be bothered if our blood line would stop, not that we are Jesus Christ or something. I read from the book ‘The City of Djinns’ by William Dalrymple, that the great Moghul blood line (the legal heirs) is coming to a stop with this generation and does it matter to any of us except for the members outside that family, the answer is again a ‘no’. But ‘the no’ for an answer isn’t quiet convincing for my oriental brain.
In India we let the society dictate our lives, the acceptable education is always ‘an engineering degree’, or ‘a medical degree’ or ‘the latest addition being the MBA’. The acceptable profession is always ‘a software engineer working in an MNC’, ‘a medical doctor’, ‘or an NRI working from the US’, well how about an army officer, there is a dead no. My mom was hell-bent against me getting married to Navneeth, one of her main reason for her dislike was the fact that he was an army officer, which was un acceptable to her.
If you are somewhere around your mid twenties, the one most frequented question in India, would be ‘when are you getting married’, like it’s any of their business and like they know what is the best age for us to get married. This question will swarm around you like where ever you go and whatever you do. If you are say 28 and not married the immediate and the not so immediate society would remind you with a sigh that you are getting older every day. It is even worse if you are a woman.
And when you do get married, willingly or unwillingly, it is not the end of it. The next set of rules await, the right time for having a child. And when you are a woman and nearing your 30, the society automatically sets the biological clock for you in the fast forward mode. But I had seen many people around, who have withstood the pressure, and have lived their lives in their own terms. May be not at all stages but at least at certain important decisions of their lives, they have bravely put their foot down for what they wanted out of life, than what others wanted them to do.
Well life is actually very simple. The best justice any one could do to their own life is do is to be true to be one self and keep themselves happy. Society is an external factor, which might acknowledge the kind of wealth or fame or knowledge you accumulate, and it might give you materialistic happiness, but that happiness is short lived. Real happiness is perhaps that feeling of content which is wholesome and long lasting, when you are happy the people around you are ultimately happy too, they will be if they are your well wishers. I am definitely not encouraging one to be a rebel, but only saying that: the best things in life like career, marriage etc should never be based on a compromise, never.