Growing up we had such mystical illusions about love and sex especially if you were a South Asian. There is this standard model that our parents, forbearers and ancestors have raised us to live by, a code some might say; grow into adolescence where puberty is a topic that men are left to figure out on their own and women are told is a scared biological process that marks their transition into adulthood. In our twenties men are left to conquer the world, make their mark and stand on their own two feet with the added privilege of experimenting, breaking hearts and dealing with their libidos by any means necessary with the understanding that when the time comes the code of their fathers and their fathers before them must be observed by settling down with a mate till death do them part.
Women get a slightly twisted version of the same fate. In their twenties they are meant to concentrate and focus on completing their education, be bastions of chastity and be holier than thou as they are the pride and honour of the family. They are taught to master their impulse and to conquer their libido for it is forbidden to indulge on those vile carnal desires.
Do we South Asians really know what it feels like to be free? To do what our hearts tell us, to trust in fate and take a leap of faith, to believe in something more profound than what we are taught as children. I don’t know how you will explain this, some may say we are brainwashed, some might say its just a matter of following our traditions while others might argue that its just a matter of listening to alternative opinion or justifying actions by experimenting in adulthood and honoring the code when the time comes to tie the knot.
The questions remains however, how many of us have what it takes to respect our own life choices and go all the way? How many of us want a successful husband with a house and two cars or a beautiful wife in the prime years of her biological clock to achieve happiness? Ok maybe most of us want the latter but is that the only successful path that life has to offer in its quest for culmination?…
AND THEY HAD THESE WONDERFUL CHILDREN WITH WHOM THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER …even reading this sounds banal isn’t it?
For me a relationship is something that fulfills a need; it supports us emotionally, physically and serves as a base camp to climb on towards our intended goal. Thus the best relationships are those which have a common agenda and work towards a common life purpose. But once that purpose is achieved what is next? The rational answer would be to move on to the next goal and start afresh. Our South Asian morality dictates however that we must hold fast to those commitments and carve out a way through the challenges. The truth is when we grow up we are foregoing all our rights of choice and personal happiness, those quintessential traits required to explore our truest potential as sentient beings.
Can you imagine what you wanted to be when you were growing up? An Astronaut? (ok that was a bit cliched) but how about an air hostess or a nurse or a veterinarian or even a soldier? I won’t ask about your vocation right now but imagine if you went through all the various financial and familial hurdles in your quest to realize your dreams. Maybe you didn’t become an astronaut but that was probably because you weren’t meant to be one, however you did became an astronomer and discovered the next Earth like planet! Maybe you didn’t become a veterinarian but that was probably because you weren’t smart enough however you did become a wildlife photographer.
The point I’m trying to make is that maybe life is not written. Perhaps there are no paths that you need to follow but ones that you create in your quest to realize who you are. And you do that by never wavering from your desires and having a laser sharp focus. If what I say right now makes sense then its important to understand that relationships should also be dealt with in the same manner as you do your dreams. To talk about divorce or open relationship or a trail separation would be disgustingly simple. But I believe that it is possible to fall in love with someone and wanting to spend the rest of your days with them but at the same time giving priority to your personal development; loving more than one person at the same time. There are varying degrees of feelings and intimacy a person can have for people.
Maybe this all seems a bit idealistic heck if it were up to me the world would be full of artisans and scientists. No one would be ordinary. All the constructs that we have created about society as we know it; religion, order, government, politics and financial markets would become defunct. Pedophiles and mass murderers would be in abundance while naked couples would be running around shanty towns chased by bearded men armed to the teeth with AK47s. A dystopian future where the assumption is that man’s soul is always open to corruption. This is most likely to be true I mean without restraint we are more likely to succumb to our most sadistic desires right?
Then what the heck am I talking about when the probability of us screwing things big time if left to our desires is 99%. But just for one second think and imagine that there is a 1% chance that a society where there are only artisans, poets and scientists forms a reality utterly fascinating. A world where there is no meaning of the word crime, disease, fornication and hatred. A world almost mystical where innocence is the most sought for, most commendable most rewarded attribute. Where relationships do not exist as we know it, where the more people you are intimate with the more love you spread and feel good about.
2 thoughts on “Alternate Relationships”
You just summed up my feelings about relationships and expectations in Pakistani culture so well. ❤ your blog
I’m glad you feel this way.