Some stories are archetypal- buried in our consciences. No one knows if they’ve been traveling the globe, brought by travelers, with just the protagonists changing with changing cultures or they are so universal in their happening that every civilization has its own true-story.
In case of stories like Romeo and Juliet, Laila and Majnoo, Heer and Ranjha, my guess is that the odds are more in favor of the latter than the former. After all, don’t we see the same story, only coated in different flavors, repeat itself time and again, in our own families or muhallas or even our own lives?
Girl/ guy is sixteen. Falls in what she/he thinks is love. Hides it from parents because the board exam results are yet to come. Thinks they’ll not approve of it (which is true). But the symptoms are abound and after all, parents bhi kabhi adolescent the, so they have an inkling that something’s cooking and all they need to be absolutely sure of it is that one tiny mistake from you – the last nail in your crooning coffin. You think you are smart like most next-gen people do, but some things never change and some bahaanas always fail and you end up spilling the beans. So far do they scatter that even the neighbours now know!
Now the whole ghar-baar, from your little sister who is nine to your grandma who’s nine times nine knows, and but for your little nine year old sister, who doesn’t quite get what the hullabaloo is all about, everybody else is in a state of frenzy. You are now officially out of the “good boy/girl” club.
Obituaries are written. “ He was such an ideal son.. Wonder what happened..”
Aspersions are cast. “It is her bigde hue friends..”
And security checks are placed.
Your best-friend is eyed with most suspicion and before he/she can hand you over chemistry notes they go through a series of checks -from your nine year old sister to your nine times nine year old grandma, lest the notes be of a different kind of chemistry. I am a little outdated on these affairs so I’m not very sure if frisking too is employed these days.
They think you ought to be remorseful. But you’re not. On the contrary, you’re indignant. After all it’s True Love that we’re talking about, right? True Love? A la Romeo and Juliet? Like Laila and Majnoo? So what’s wrong with a Tina and Bubbloo?
Nothing, if you ask me.
Except their names.
And except that Romeo, Juliet and company never had to take an entrance exam!
And that is the number one reason cited by your parents for acting Amrish Puri in your love story. And you hate it. Firstly, because “entrance exam”, “future” and “career” are such puny things before True Love. And secondly, because you’re smart enough to balance work and love. Correction: work and True Love.
The number two most popular reason posited by your parents is that you are not mature enough to handle love-affairs. This is also the number one most unreasonable reason on your list. After all, hello! You are sixteen. SIXTEEN! That was her age when your grandma had had two kids! Well, personally speaking, if I were the parent I would have had to give that one to my sixteen year old. After all, I have seen even some fairly established fifty-somethings behave like fifteen year olds in matters of heart, and what’s more, making the same mistakes all over again! You’re never really mature enough to handle love, I guess!
Doing a Romeo in reality is not exactly your style. So you decide to do the next best thing- keep it low till things cool off. Beyond this point, different love stories meet different fates. In some cases you discover Truer Love and even go on to Truest Love. Or discover that you were not really smart enough to balance work and love whereas your Lady Love was and so now, while you’re doing the rounds of FIITJEE, your Lady Love has already joined IIT Khadagpur with all the muggus there fawning on her. In other cases, where there are still chances of a happily-ever-after, you wait endlessly, wishing for days and years to fast-forward so you can finally get your love.
GET your love. Wasn’t that always what it was all about? Isn’t that always what it’ll be about? If you’re lucky, you will end up GETTING her/him. However, if you’re not, you will probably end up learning what they don’t teach you in Romeo and Juliet and the likes of it – that sometimes, to love is to let go…