So did you watch Meghan & Harry on Oprah? Short of conversation topics? This one’s a great ice-breaker! Here’s the thing, you will ALWAYS have something to say about the debate – whether you’re a royal or not, a Brit or an American, or (but of course) a Pakistani, or Indian living on another continent. You. Will. Have. An. Opinion. On. This. One
Because, if you are a desi reading this, (and I am), you might get the drift – too well?
But on the other hand, do I need to have an opinion? What does it matter to me if they fight each other out of a title, or a fortune? How will it affect me if they have one dress less to wear or one mansion less to live in? Get the drift?
BUT Then …
The conversation after the conversation made me think that all of us needed to hear this. Not because we have anything to do with the Royal family, but because we have a lot to do with desi families & … there’s not much difference (as the generous flood of memes will tell you on Twitter).
People who believe that casual racism is not a thing, or escape the deeper nuanced shades of it, that discussing the color of an unborn child needs to be understood in context (really)?, that one’s own mental health must be kept under covers while we fight for the world’s sanity, that starting conversations is what we do, but outside of our homes – the royals needed this interview more than they know – and us desis need it too.
Many more people in similar positions might be walking the Aurat March today, or defending homosexuality, yet, their families do not condone or believe in their value system. Can they start the same conversation at home that they have started on the streets, or on social media? And I refer to our fellow bloggers, YouTubers, content creators, who can all benefit from the conversation. We all must understand that participants of Aurat March, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ and all others who fight for their rights are marginalized communities who must first win over their own lot before stepping out to right the world’s wrongs.
1. Mental Health
This stands true for all the influencers (celebs or not) who put up bright, cheerful images of the perfect married life (and soon after we hear of a divorce), and support mental health campaigns even as they might suffer personal losses (visits to private therapists) or depression.
When Meghan & Diana asked for help, it was mental health that needed addressing. But the family that suffered because of mental health issues in the past, and publicly supports the cause today, is still ill-equipped to handle it at home.
How can we have real conversations if we brush our own issues under the carpet and present a ‘picture perfect’ vision to the world?
When a son brings home a divorcee as a potential bride – ‘Beta, are you sure? You want to wait a bit? Will you be happy with her?’ are acceptable responses to a predicament we’d rather not face in our own homes.
Whether an unborn child’s color was discussed or not is not even the point here. The point is that, the royals (like desi families) might not (will not) welcome a woman of color (translate, dark-skinned in desi households) to mother heirs to their thrones.
There is an unasked question in the air – what if Prince William had fallen for a brown, black or mixed race girl who, might even have been a divorcee? What then? How can we bring conversations to the table when we can’t follow our own?
3. Washing Dirty Linen In Public
Whether it is the royal family or your very own desi in laws, we do not appreciate private and personal disputes be discussed in public places. Agreed, Meghan & Harry, and all dutiful bahus and daamaads (daughters in law & sons in law) must refrain from bringing things out in the open – that is the socially acceptable thing to do. But have you stopped to think, when do individuals actually do this? They do it when they’re not being heard inside the home. The royals have a history of shunning any form of communication to iron things out.
Our desi joint family systems mimic the royals in more ways than one, but if they are to survive – ever, then uncomfortable conversations need to happen to reach a place of comfort, and that is what the Meghan, Harry & Oprah interview was all about.
We pick sides depending on the picture that is painted before us. We want to see the wounds in the form of a divorce, suicide attempt, or any other tragedy before we are willing to part with our sympathy – why?
When Meghan spoke out, it was nothing we hadn’t heard before. But the fact that a strong-minded public influencer hailing from a powerful background said it, made heads turn – people listened.
We need to listen. And if we are doing the talking, perhaps do it inside our homes first, rather than on the streets – where our followers might not be listening, but our families might. The first step towards changing the world is to set your own house in order, and that, my dear Royals, is my message to you … and the rest of us – God Save The Queen indeed!