We have been hearing the stories of elopement since ages. From Shakespearean plays to films, elopement of couple is a common trend. The hero brings a ladder & the heroine sneaks down through the window; they are chased by their angry parents. After a few arguments & fights, they eventually live a happily married life. However,the things we see in the reel life don’t often happen in real life. Elopement is still a taboo in the society we live in & the lovers who elope are often seen as rebels. They are often secluded by their families & live in isolation. I met such couple a while back & got a firsthand experience of how they handled the big decision in their lives.
It was a cold, somber winter evening; I was at Ratna Park near the bus park area waiting to catch the bus home. Out of the mist, I saw a young couple possibly in their early 20’s heading towards me. I could hear their heavy breathing, the adrenaline rush in their body language suggested they were in a real hurry to get on a bus. The girl was carrying a rucksack & the guy was dragging a over filled suitcase which looked like it was about to burst with piles of clothes visibly coming out of it. The girl was holding the guy’s hand “Are you nervous?”, the guy asked her. “Yes, of course I am. I am leaving my home & family for the first time”, she replied. She had an anxious look on her face “What if they come after us?”, she added. The guy didn’t say a word. He just put his arms around her “We will run far away from them & get married. Everything will be alright”, he said.
Then the bus arrived & before I could get on it, the guy pushed me aside & got onto it with the girl. The couple sat on the last seat along with me. After some more passengers got on the bus, the engine started to roar & I could feel the couple breathe a shy of relief. The girl put her head gently on the guy’s shoulder & the guy somehow managed a smile.
The lovers generally elope when their respective families are against their love & don’t agree to their marriage. The mis-match in financial situation between the families of the lovers, the difference in religion, caste, language & so on are the major reasons behind it. Most of the couple who elope have the desire to reconcile with their families after getting married but they are hardly welcomed back.
The families are rarely seen accepting the secretive marriage as they see it as bringing shame to their family. So much so that honor killing is still a reality in South Asia till this day. People are willing to kill their own flesh & blood if they refuse to take part in the arranged marriage. They believe that the eloped couple bring shame & dishonor upon the family name or the community they belong to.
The journey was coming to an end & my destination was round the corner. I looked at the couple for the last time. The girl had fallen asleep on the guy’s arm. But the guy was wide awake. He seemed like he was lost in his thoughts. Suddenly, the bus came to a halt & the girl woke up “Are we there yet?” she whispered asked. “Not yet”, he said. I got off the bus & realized elopement looked fun only in the movies. However, the lovers will continue to elope & their stories will continue being told as long as the society doesn’t accept the fact that there’s nothing bigger than love.