There is a shift in many of the psyches of this, our, younger generation. It is not cool to be elitist. It is frowned upon to judge others, to act a class above or oblivious to the cultures of our fellow humans. Arguably due to the accessibility of information, the ease of traveling now to places far away or making friends or following people across the world.
I am blessed with a job that allows me to travel and nearly forces us to submerge ourselves in the culture, to talk to everyone we meet and to experience the places we visit so we become not only a source there, but build connections here. But even after multiple trips to these places and people, I am still always surprised by the people and how similar we all really are. Currently in India, I had that moment again and again. Here, there is a more recent shift from the arranged marriages we all see in film and TV that, from a western perspective, seems archaic still. Which had me thinking about love.
I was in a cab and the driver asked me about my love. His first question was “is it a love marriage or a set marriage”. I explained about my love (leaving out the back story of meeting in a pub over a beer and football on Halloween) but he was very concerned about this arrangement I was in. What would my parents think? How could I be with someone my family hadn’t met? I hadn’t been home in a long time and my parents meeting my boyfriend was not a big deal, but I felt judged in it. I felt what we had put out there for so long. This was a normal situation of love to be in in my mind, but saying it out loud here felt like I was in a lesser love for a moment. And I could see there are places in the world where this not normal. This is irresponsible love. That we are still different in many ways.
A few days later, I met up with a girlfriend. Oddly, I found myself drinking wine in a Mexican restaurant listening to a country music song covered in a very thick, Indian accent over candlelight in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. I can’t explain this situation other than it was a twilight zone sort of moment where I just laughed at it. Everything was a juxtaposition here to everything in the room. The conversation turned in to talking about boys. What else do 26 year old girls talk about. And it was then I realized that we are not really different at all. The things she worried about in her relationship where what I did in mine. Are we going anywhere? Where do we want to end up? And then after more wine, we reminisced about the first time we met our significant others. And again, the stories were similar. Nervous, attraction, long talks, and how much we adored them immediately.
Underneath all of this and between the decades and centuries of cultural divides, we now have understanding and can see the common grounds. I realized we all feel butterflies when we meet them, when we talk about love, we are nervous and excited, we get set up or we meet by chance.
It is a fun, exciting time to be alive and to experience people and have those conversations in dark bars in India over Mexican food listening to Sam Smith and Tim McGraw cover songs, because somehow, we are all human.
This song reminds me of the bar talks. Of the butterflies and being blissfully taken far away with a stranger who knows you all too well.