Log kya kehenge?
This question has the power to incite fear, bemusement, desperation and anger in many of us.
What will people say?
This question has broken so many dreams. It’s shattered so many aspirations. And it’s time we stopped fearing a three word question and broke through the systemic desire to conform to the norms and regulations that the Indian society has created.
This question has enough power to crush dreams into fantasies that can only be achieved if we’re brave enough to deal with the constant flow of questions, sniggers and comments like “dehko bichari ko. Dehko usne kya kardia hai” Look at the poor girl. Look at what she’s done.
Marry someone outside our colour, caste and religion? Log kya kehenge?
Pursue other professions? Log kya kehenge?
Wear the clothes we feel confident in? Log kya kehenge?
We’ve conformed to this mentality of needing to please everyone – society, our families, neighbours, friends. At the expense of our happiness.
I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve been in the line of fire with this question. I wanted to drop higher maths during my final year of school. Log kya kehenge? Not from my parents, but from members of the indian community who paid more attention to my education preferences then their own lives.
I wanted to get double piercings and maybe a tattoo symbolising someone I truly cared about. Log kya kahenge? As if another hole on my ear lobe that could close up if I wanted it to made me some impure sin. When my own parents were fine with me getting double piercings, what right did society think they had in inputting their unnecessary commentary into my life?
I don’t want children naturally. There are personal reasons for that, but later down the line after marriage, if I do want kids, I will be adopting. Log kya kehenge? Without understanding my justification for not wanting children naturally, society thinks they have the right to justify that adoption isn’t natural and should be shunned.
I told a group of aunties that right now I’m focusing on making something out of myself. They asked if I was dating. I told them that I don’t have time to date right now and that marriage if it ever happened would happen when it felt right. They were outraged. “you don’t want to get married? Simran, log kya kehenge?” as if my bachelorette status has any significance and importance to anyone but me.
I want to wear the shorts I’m comfortable with. Log kya kehenge?
I want to play co-ed rugby. Log kya kehenge?
I’m opinionated and love to debate and discuss with all individuals, regardless of age or gender. Simran you need to quieten down. Log kya kehenge?
I wanted to start something with my passion for photography. Simran focus on getting your degree first. This can happen after. Log kya kehenge?
For too long, I have sat with this imposing umbrella over my head. We live in a world of hypocrisy. The Indian community wants their children to chase their dreams. But only if those dreams fit into the community approved list. But if we live in fear of what other humans think, how the hell are we supposed to grow, develop and make something of ourselves.
This post is a commemoration of all the young Indians who are fighting back against log kya kehenge. The first time I decided to hit back and follow my dreams, it was exhilarating.
I am probably a shame to the Indian community.
I wear shorts. I play with boys. I dropped science in school to pursue the arts and humanities. I might be studying an approved degree by Indian standards but I want to take my degree and transform the world by working with organisations that help individuals. I love taking photos and giving life to my creative side. I speak with passion and emotion and enjoy engaging in stimulating conversations. I’m opinionated. I’m loud. I’m not afraid to put people in their place. I’m not afraid to say no. I’m not afraid to tell a man to leave me alone. I’m not here to be walked all over.
My life does not revolve around the opinions of individuals who hold little significance. My life is not to be ruled by the opinions of those who I frankly don’t have time for. My life is not going to follow the trajectory of school, university, marriage, kids.
I’m here to make something out of myself. I want a successful career. I want to be able to chase after my dreams, turn my goals into realities and see my aspirations come alive. I want a future with someone I truly love. I want a family. But all these decisions are mine, and mine alone.
Why as a community and society to we preach that we love, cherish and value each other regardless of our status. Yet when the time comes to actually voice that love, we turn away and judge? Are we not meant to hold our doctors, teachers, artists and politicians with the same respect? Because we’re doing something we love and want to do? Since when did individuality begin to include an individual’s beliefs plus those of the greater community?
So here’s to clapping back against log kya kehenge.
My life is mine to control and take charge of.
I’m not a delicate flower that needs constant sheltering.
I’m a tough young woman who was raised to break down walls, run through barriers and challenge the preconceptions society made about her. I’m a young, brown woman with ambitions, goals and dreams that will be achieved.
Fuck what people think and want to think about me. I will never be quiet, demure, submissive or prone to fitting into society’s ideal Indian woman typecast if it means losing my sense of self.
I’m proud of who I am. I’m a business student who wants to make a difference in the legal, social and business world. I enjoy speaking my mind about the issues that impact me. I have a passion for photography and music. I’m crazy about rugby, cars and fashion. And I’m not some delicate thing that will crumble under the pressures of log kya kehenge?