Romeo and Juliet in The Jungles of Punjab

3 months ago my family found out that my 17 year old cousin in India had a boyfriend. It was fucking chaos. If ever I needed a reminder as to why I live such a scared, sheltered, “good-girl” life, then that was it.

This cousin of mine was the perfect daughter. She was polite, well mannered, hard working and everyone used to sing her praises 24/7 especially my mother (it was her brothers daughter). She never put a foot wrong, she was the definition of good-girl. So when the news of her 2 year boyfriend accidentally came out, everyone flipped. Indian girls (especially those who live in the urban villages in India), do not supposedly entertain the thought of boys, let alone have a secret relationship.

When this news hit I was shocked, but not for the same reasons as everyone else. I was shocked that they had found out, because as you may have guessed I already new about her relationship. When I visited a couple of years back she told me she was in a relationship and surprised the hell out of me (again Indian girls do NOT have relationships, India is strict as hell and very old-school). She told me all about her secret hidden phone and the secret meetings between school and any outings (simple things such as a trip to a corner shop to get food).

You can’t tell anybody.

Of course I couldn’t, not only would she have had her head laid on a platter, but I would have too. For some damn reason I get blamed for everything. Normal people don’t shoot the messenger, for some reason that never applies to me. If they found out I knew, it would become my fault as much as hers! Even though I wasn’t involved in the slightest.

So when the calls from overseas came in and the sordid scandal was relayed to everyone (so fucking dramatic these people are) it was chaos over here. But it was nothing compared to what was going on back there. She had been kicked out of her home. Her father was abroad, and has stated he never wanted to see her face again. Her mother couldn’t stand it, she beat her up and shipped her off to her aunts house. The only aunt who would take her in as the other 2 aunts were disgusted by her (again so fucking dramatic) and her uncles wanted to kill her.

No exaggeration.

One of her uncles (so old-school with a fucked up mentality) was ready to kill her (think honor-killings) and everyone was going crazy. They had to calm her uncle down and keep him away from her (again I am serious about the death-vengence). She has been kept locked up at her aunts house for about 3 months now. This whole situation is just surreal. You are probably reading this thinking its bullshit and fiction, unfortunately this is (embarrassingly) true.

Things are slightly calming down, and by that I mean no one is no longer thinking of ways to murder her.

I managed to ring her and speak to her. My shocked mother (still can’t believe her angel niece was carrying out a secret relationship) told me what to say (pathetic I know). She told me that the purpose of the call was to tell her to get over this guy and listen and do what her mother says.

Now during this fiasco everyone has made out that the guy must have carried out ‘voodoo/black magic’ on her because why else would she be doing this. Why else would she still be claiming she loves him and wants to marry him even after being beaten and kicked out of her house. If only they knew what I knew (still kept my knowledge of the relationship a secret).

When I spoke to my cousin she sounded her normal self, not the crazy character everyone was making out. She told me she loved this guy and wants to marry him. However it was my turn to be shocked, because when I asked if it was the same guy from before she surprised me and told me no! Check this, he cheated on her and she broke up with him about 2 years ago. This new guy is boyfriend number 2.

Again if it hasn’t already sunk into your heads, Indian girls who live in India do not have relationships. Especially not 2 secret relationships. This chick made me laugh! In the suburbs of the traditional Indian villages, my docile, meek little cousin has more cojones that I do. Kudos to her!

The family do not want her to marry this guy, apparently he is really good looking, but he is an older bad boy, from a not very respectful family, who are not the same caste as we are. So her marrying him is out of the question. When told all this I believed it. After speaking to my cousin however, these were all lies. She knows more about him and she swears on her life that he isn’t any of those things. To boot she claims he really loves her, so when fed lies that he wants to break up she threatened suicide (how Romeo and Juliet of her).

Even though her family have spelled out that they will disown her if she marries this guy, she doesn’t care. I think her response was something along the lines of ‘so be it’. Like I said major cojones.

At first I agreed with my family that she’s too young, 17, and is probably in lust and doesn’t really know what she wants. However a couple of months have gone by now and after no contact in any form with him, she is still set on her decisions. After having spoken to her, I no longer agree with the family.

I think they are taking this way out of proportion and should just let her marry the guy, if she is still set on this decision in a year (when she turns 18). One of my aunts in India who was trying to ‘talk some sense’ into my cousin has also changed her tune. She is also now saying that if she wants to marry him, then let her. Now the family are turning against her! Bunch of crazy motherfuckers.

Apart from the fucked up mentality of the old-skool mafia like punjabi’s, the point of the story is that people always ask why I live such a restrained, sheltered, scared life. This is one of the reasons why. My mom tells me how nobody has any respect for my cousin any more. How they all see her as ‘dirty’ now and that they will never trust her again.

Most of my readers will be probably think so what, just do it, YOLO etc. But unless you come from a family where respect, trust and loyalty is everything, then you will never understand the fear instilled from day one about the consequences of your actions.

I have considered myself to be a rebel, but at every critical moment of my life, I have been exactly the child my parents have raised me to be. 


5 thoughts on “Romeo and Juliet in The Jungles of Punjab

  1. Socialkenny says:

    When you said head on the platter, you don’t mean literally, right?

    Anyway, because you’ve been so sheltered away from guys, what usually happens, is the sheltered girl breaks out in a big way. Are you the exception?

    • No I don’t mean literally (well I hope not).

      You are right about the breaking out, but I think I am the exception to this. As mentioned I have a deep fear of disappointing others etched into me. I am always out trying to please everyone else, even subconsciously. I may want to rebel (have been feeling that a lot lately), but I don’t think I would be able to when it comes down to it.

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