Bollywood, Culture, Love, Life Stories

My obsession with Bollywood gave me the wrong idea about who I’m supposed to marry

I've spent years trying to unlearn the subconscious beliefs I've learned from Bollywood movies.

Since 1992, I’ve been exposed to hundreds of Bollywood movies and songs and I’ve loved every minute.

But now, as a 24-year-old, trying to unlearn the messages I received, like: “the purpose of a woman’s life is to find a good-looking guy and fall in love.” It’s silly, and the logical part of me knows this is unrealistic, but the things we see and hear while growing up enter our subconscious, and our unconscious controls our thoughts and actions.

Bollywood has instilled this idea in us that if he’s not as hot as Shah Rukh Khan, dismiss him.

When looking for a good partner, it makes more sense to focus on personality, characteristics, and values, but our actions and words show otherwise. Through eavesdropping at multiple desi weddings, especially in Pakistan, I have heard so many women of different ages making comments about how the bride and groom look together. As if the success of their marriage depends on how their wedding pictures come out.

Comments like “oh she could do much better” in terms of outer appearance piss me off because who the heck are we to decide that? I regret the moments in which I witnessed these conversations and did not have the courage to stand up for my beliefs. Why? Mainly because I did not want to stir any trouble, or cause conflict.

We are all guilty of this: focusing on physical appearance and making judgments based off of things like height, weight, and skin color.

When I was in college, there was this guy in my class who would sometimes try to chat with me. I thought he looked like a total dork, so I automatically shut him down. Politely, but I still shut him down. Later, when we were assigned a group project together, I noticed how humble and thoughtful he was, unlike many of the other more attractive guys.

Another time I was talking with my friends about this guy who I was friends with, but didn’t find physically attractive. If someone asked me if I liked him as more than a friend, I would laugh and be like “ew, no way!” But his morals, character, and outlook on life were so inspiring that later I felt bad for defining him in my mind based on what he looked like.

It may sound shallow, but experiences like these remind me to look at the bigger picture.

I know, I know. Looks are important, but to what extent?

The way we prioritize appearance over other factors is pretty messed up. You can’t just dismiss someone based off photos from their Facebook profile. In fact, when you actually give someone a chance and get to know them, their personality might even make you find them more attractive.

Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

At the end of the day, who gives a crap if the guy has eyes like Hrithik Roshan or a smile like Saif Ali Khan? If we can’t connect and have deep, meaningful conversations then your good looks are meaningless to me.

If you don’t have passions and causes you care about, then what are we supposed to connect on? The thought of being stuck with a handsome chap who’s a complete bore or has no deeper substance freaks me out.

We will all get old and wrinkly – that much is inevitable. So why do we place so much importance on the outer form when what lasts forever is the soul?

Let’s face the truth: in general, we are way too picky. Why should we expect to find someone who has all the qualities on our list, when this perfect person might not even exist?

Bollywood does not inform us that no, we can’t have it all.

I understand that we all want to be with the best possible person out there who has the good looks and the ability to be our best friend, but we can’t keep denying that we have unrealistic expectations. We need to get our priorities straight because our future is on the line. Let’s get out of our comfort zones and give people a chance; they may be holding the key to exactly what we are looking for.

So the next time you hear someone make a comment like, “oh he’s too dark, or too short, or too chubby,” I encourage you to turn the conversation around. Challenge that idea, even if nobody wants to hear it. It’s time to turn our focus on the things that truly matter.

Because let’s face it, we are not living in Bollywood, we’re living in reality.

The golden rule states that we should treat others the way we want to be treated. So if we want to be valued for who we are rather than for what we look like, then we need to do the same for others.