A lot has been said about love, songs sung, and poems written. Love is blind, they say, but “they” are wrong. Love isn’t blind in society. In society, you are expected to love somebody “proper”, someone who is “acceptable” to love; you cannot just love anybody you wish to. And of course you especially cannot love anyone of the same sex, because that is obviously “against nature”, not to mention “mentally sick”. So what does one do, when they just cannot find it in them to love someone who is accepted in society? Moreover, what do they do if they, in fact, do find themselves falling in love with someone of the same sex? Should they hide their true feelings, go on with their daily lives, and be miserable? Or should they find the courage to stand up for themselves and for the person they love, because they understand that society cannot dictate everything, and everyone has the right to be happy and be with whoever makes them happy? Many people choose the first option, and continue living their lives in misery, but some pick the second one, and in doing so, they pave a new, happier path for many of us to follow. Yes, it is a difficult road, and they will be mocked and made fun of, but in the end, it is these people who truly do find happiness, and true happiness is something every single one of us craves for.
I come from a very typical Bengali family, we worship Rabindranath Tagore, love our fish, rice, and “rosogollahs”, and we absolutely do not believe in same sex marriages. This story is about a person from my family, who accepted who he was, and told the world very proudly about it, because he understood that there is absolutely no shame in being who you are and truly loving someone. This story is about my gay cousin, who proposed to his now fiancé in a very public manner, without the slightest fear of what anybody would think of him. We all speak of standing up against society, and being our own person, but how many of us truly do it? He is someone I personally know who has done exactly that, and he will always be someone I look up to.
As far as everyone knew, my cousin was single, and all the uncles and aunts kept asking him why he hadn’t found himself a girlfriend yet. He always just responded with a smile and nothing more. Until one day I asked him quite directly whether he was seeing anyone, and his answer was one that made me respect him much more than I already did. He told me very frankly that yes he did indeed have a boyfriend, they were dating for quite some time now, and he was going to propose marriage to him soon. I don’t really know how he was expecting me to react to the news, but honesty, I was nothing but happy for him. What is better than finding someone you want to spend the rest of your life with? I congratulated him wholeheartedly, and asked whether his parents knew. He said yes, and they were very supportive of the whole thing, and his mother, in fact, really loved his boyfriend. I asked him how he intended to let everyone else in the family know and whether he was worried about how they would react. He said he would make it public very soon, and as for worrying about their reaction, whoever loved him would be happy for him, and whoever wasn’t happy wasn’t worth his time in the first place. A couple of weeks after that conversation, he posted a video on Facebook of him proposing to his now fiancé and it was by far the most sweetest and romantic thing that I have ever seen. He had picked out a wonderful place, chose an amazingly beautiful day, and organized a flash mob. His fiancé was so amazed and moved by the whole thing that after my cousin slipped the ring onto his finger, all he could do hug my cousin tight, and it truly was an amazing sight to witness.
Now we come to the part about how the rest of our family members reacted. His parents, as mentioned before, were nothing but truly happy for him. I showed the video to my mother, his aunt, and I’m honestly proud to say that she too was overjoyed that her nephew had found true love and happiness. However, this news was quite a bitter pill to swallow for some. Some accused his mother of hiding the truth about her son, some said that they would personally go over to “talk some sense into him”, while others decided it was best to sever all ties with his whole family. Most of the cousins, however, just thought it was downright hilarious that he could propose to another man. But in the midst of all of this, nobody cared to notice or give any importance to the fact that it was very brave of my cousin to come out, and his fiancé really did make him happy. Everyone was too busy thinking about the rules of society, and how he had chosen to not abide by them, and how that now made him some sort of a freak in front of everyone’s eyes.
But all negatives aside, lot of good did come out of the whole thing, he found love, which is quite a rare thing to find, he found out who truly loved and cared for him, and unknowingly he probably inspired a lot of courage amongst some. I’m very happy to say that my cousin and his fiancé are happily engaged and are planning a wedding very soon. His story truly was an important and gigantic step forward in our family. Maybe now at least some of us would attempt to fight for our dreams, hopes, and most importantly for the people we love.
It is a funny thing really; violence is more acceptable than love in today’s world. It takes our government a lot of time and deliberation to figure out what to do with rapists, but it doesn’t require much thought to criminalize same sex marriages. Look at the video and tell me if you see anything but two people who are absolutely in love with each other, and whether they deserve to be separated because society thinks this is “not normal”. “All you need is love” the Beatles said; maybe they were onto something.