I have finished reading Chetan Bhagat’s 2 States: A story of my marriage and I must say that it is a very well-written book; extremely sweet and gripping as well as shocking at times. The story is of an inter-community marriage in India, a Punjabi marrying a Tamil to be exact. The shocking part was the racism inherent in the communities, the shallowness, the useless traditions that only serve to restrict individuality. The wonderful part was the patience and the integrity with which the protagonist handled the whole affair and how the couple carved out a place for their own ideas amidst the traditions.
It made me realise that I am a far way away from such patience. I guess I have a more uppity ‘this-is-simple-backward-and-wrong’ kind of attitude when it comes to a lot of what happens in Pakistani society. I am more comfortable in a place with inter-community, inter-racial and inter-religious marriages, where it is understood that the kids will speak 2 to 3 languages just like their parents, where diversity makes for familiar environment. After all, I live in the wonderful Bubble City where all this is possible harmoniously. (This is not sarcasm by the way. It is absolutely true.)
It also made me realise, and not for the first time, no matter how conservative my parents might be in matters of religion, in matters of the heart, they are true gems. They understand that it is possible to fall in love with anyone regardless of their background, they understand that given me and my siblings upbringing, we are better off with people who share the same thinking rather than the same ethnicity. Ever since we stepped into adulthood, there has only been support for our romantic choices and our attempts at finding partners. This whilst other parents bear down hard on their kids, threaten to cut them off, just because they dared to pick someone of their own will.
The point of remembering all of the above is this dear reader: I must remember that I have it pretty good sitting where I am and I must exercise patience and understanding when faced with people who are not as liberal as I am. This applies more to family than anything else, because like in the book, they are good at heart and usually mean well and care about you. Also, a lot more can be achieved by gently convincing than reacting and over-reacting. What do you guys think? Are there any examples when you won over the family through persuasion?