So did my elder brother.
And the end result is that I can’t do it.
What I am talking about is ‘eloping with the loved one’. My eldest sister eloped with her boyfriend with the pretext of going to the market for shopping. The guy (my brother-in-law) belongs to totally different cultural community. We belong to MISING tribe and he belongs to the Ahom community. Now they are very happy with each other and are looking forward to having a nice life ahead.
My elder brother surprised us with the news of his marriage when he was just 17. It completely shook our world, the result of course was, he had to leave the family and had to fetch for himself and his wife. Now they are doing well and are again happy together and their only daughter is living with my parents pursuing her schooling.
I do admit that each of my siblings marriage brought some kind of turmoil to our family life but what is the major achievement is that both my brother and sister not only married their partner of their choice but also could do well in their respective marriages and are today very happy. My parents have also turned around and are happy with the marriages today.
But when it comes to me it is a strict No –NO. Now the result is that, I cannot go for it. I mean, I can’t elope and marry or either think of a cross-cultural marriage. I had gone back home to enjoy bihu but it turned out to be exhausting experience with everyone bombarding me with lines about me marrying from the community. ‘You are our only hope’ says my mother, “I am tired of what your elder siblings have done; now I want to sit back and enjoy your marriage without any commotion and confusion”. My uncle warns “I shall be forced to break all ties with you, if you marry from outside the community”. I was like why the hell do I have to suffer for the ‘misdeeds’ of my elder siblings. I had always secretly dreamt of eloping with my girlfriend who of course belongs to a totally different community. First of all, a cross-cultural marriage and second we (me and my girlfriend) elope— wohoo what freedom!!!
What an experience it must be!!
I don’t know if I can put this in the category of Gramscian theory of hegemony or Freurian theory of hierarchical and oppressive relationship between the parents and son. And also if my parent’s emotional blackmail or my uncle’s stern warning etc shall be able deter me or not shall be seen in later times, but it of course startled me. What made the community which was very proud of its tradition of eloption go totally against it? In fact the two eternal lovers of the community “Panoi-Jongki” (equivalent to ‘Romeo-Juliet’ in English and ‘Heer-Ranjha’ in Hindi) eloped and married and their love story is celebrated in the community. And it is not only me. Even my Friends have been complaining of the same problem where they are having a tough time convincing their parents.
It made me think and like always my mom came with the answer. I just asked my mom, why are you so inherently against me marrying a girl from other community? She came with an answer. She replied, “See son, you have gone out and got education and you are already working and why should a girl from a different community enjoy the fruits of your labour”. The answer startled me and also made me laugh. I again asked my mom, “What if I marry a girl who is working, then of course she won’t be enjoying the fruits of my labour?” The result I see is shocking. My mom is in tears and she replies, “Do you want to marry someone whom I cannot even talk to? I kept quiet and moved away.
A considerable number of the youth ( almost 90% of them are men) of my tribe are moving out of their villages and are getting education in the cities and are working. And of course many of them have got married outside the community. So now, the elderly of the society have suddenly realised that all the ‘good eligible guys’ (by good guys, they mean the ones who are working and can provide economic security to their daughters) are marrying outside the community. Thus the result is that all the daughters of the community are marrying within the community and are not getting enough choices of ‘good guys’. So, can I deduce the gender inequality in terms of education is the culprit or is it the protectionism attitude of the community members which has forced my mom and dad to emotionally blackmail me or made my uncle give me stern warnings about avoiding me, if I marry someone from another community.
I am still looking for an answer……..But Still I carry with me the secret urge to marry my girlfriend.