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"Bollywood gave me unrealistic expectations of love"

There’s an actual group by this title on Facebook and I could help but laugh out loud at the title when I first read it and then frown immediately because I realized how true it was.

Now, I obviously knew there wouldn’t be any spur of the moment song-and-dance routines (though one can always still hope, right?), but somehow the idea of how easy it was for boy to meet girl, for boy and girl to fall for each other, overcome some minor obstacle (usually being some evil villain, or disapproving father…in many cases this being the same person) and then live happily ever after. As I grew up with Bollywood movies everything in the future seemed like it would be so easy because it had a fun soundtrack to it.

Doing the traditional “hide the groom’s shoes to get money from him” custom at your sister’s wedding? There’s a song for that.

Attempting to woo the snobby rich girl at your college? There’s a song for that.

Wondering if the boy you like likes you and why love and your heart are so crazy? There’s a (million) songs for that.

There’s songs about rain, the sun, gardens, flowers, wanting to going from rags-to-riches, the “dupatta” (i.e. the scarf material that’s draped around the shoulder’s on a woman’s traditional indian suit – yes, there are songs about that). You name it and likely there is a song for it. So why wouldn’t life seem like a breeze?

Now you could go ahead and blame this on me, saying that I may have just simply watched too many of these movies. But, when your own parents’ “love story” consisted of their parents matching curriculum vitaes, family backgrounds, then retreating to their own corners to ask their child’s consent and finally going back into the ring to work out what the bride’s side will give the groom along with their daughter’s hand (i.e. The Dowry) – life is confusing. Especially when much of the understanding of your culture comes from these movies.

This may all very well be because I grew up in Canada and am just one more ABCD (Amercian Born Confused Desi – i.e. desi = person from India) trying to find the fine balance between the clashing worlds of South Asian and Western idealisms. But since our parents were the ones who brought home these movies, it was a very long time until I (I am NOT the only one. Don’t give me that look) clued in that life is just a wee bit more difficult.

So what did I expect? That by 21 or so I would meet Le Prince Charming, who would of course come from a wealthy family, be very charismatic, may even dance a bit, and that we would meet, our parents would readily approve and life would be one big swan ride through the Eternal Love Tunnel.

Well, I’m 24 (and a quarter…!), have no real prospects, stuck in school for a couple more years to come, and am being pressured from every end that my “expiry date” is on the brink of pouncing on me. Of course, at which time, I think I’m supposed to deflate in a puddle of invisible goo. But I am happy with all this…I think.

Though the idea of LPC sounds pretty good, it may just work out better not having gone that route. Meh…I’ll keep you posted…

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11 Responses

  1. That is something which is really wrong with bollywood. I was always puzzled by the fact that people had unrealistic expectation about such matter until I realized that it was bollywood. But I was the outcast back then for not liking bollywood. I think it would be better if bollywood showed the guy and the girl not just romancing in the streets but also their married life e.g., washing dishes, doing the laundry, going to work, taking care of kids etc.

  2. I’ve grown up with Bollywood too and just like you I always thought life worked like that. Once you grow you realize it doesn’t make sense. These days they have some more realistic movies though, about couples fighting after the marriage, so it seems they are getting better.

  3. Damn those movies!

  4. Me thinks I have to join facebook.

  5. I grew up in an all-white city and then in T.O. I actively avoided Bollywood till I was 21 in uni. I think Bollywoood definately gives people some crazy ideas and among brown girls I know they focus on the wedding and don’t understand the MARRIAGE is what is important. You, however, seem like you have your head on straight.

  6. Leibniz: I agree with you completely; I always figured there was something wrong with the whole scene, but not having a middle ground to understand anything, you would prefer to look at the more colourful and sing-song world of love and marriage!

    Furheen: You pretty much had the bollywood wedding, so “lalalalalalala”

    Dummy: Yes, damn them all. Though would it be bad if I went and watched one now? Being sick there’s not much else to do!

    Haleem: I’m warning you now, it’s highly addictive and time-wasting. But you learn to depend on it.

    Ruby: Despite the Bollywood, I never paid much attention to the wedding aspect. While girls flipped through bridal magazines and excitedly cut out outfits they wanted for themseleves, I had no clue of these things (still don’t..) and wondered what all the fuss was for – the wedding lasts for 4 hours and then the party is over. And thank you for the comment 🙂

  7. i totally agree with everything you said! i don’t completely put ALL the blame on bollywood but its so true. i think that my expectation of “love” is totally unreal. and if i was to describe what i wanted in a man…he would very closely sound like some character from a hindi movie. a guy who’s respectful to my parents and family, who’s social, educated, thoughtful, considerate, honest, comes from a decent family…blah blah blah. i might as well expect a guy to be willing to sing & dance in the rain with me. blah.

  8. Confused Single & Brown: I was exactly like that; expecting some mish-mashed version of a ‘hero’ to find me and for everything to work out just as I once (naively) imagined it! We learn the hard way, don’t we? Thanks for visiting 🙂

  9. I think the reason why Bollywood movies are so appealing is because it presents life in a sweet format. Everything works out in the end. They love each other to the brink of destruction, but above all love reigns over everything.

    A little bit of us wants to believe that. Its a form of escapism. With a few catchy songs thrown in.

  10. Did u join that facebook group? hahaha…

    Maybe i read over ur blog too fast but what the heck does LPC stand for? I need to know ASAP or I won’t be able to sleep at night!!!!

  11. The way I see it is that luv will come when you least expect it. I think too many people see love/ “finding the love of your life” as one of their goals in life – which I dont think it is. You have your own goals and dreams and love is something that will help you achieve these dreams. If insects see the light as their goal they directly fly into the candle flame to die. Instead the insects should use the light to guide them to their path. Not sure if that came out right – but there it is!

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