So you’re Tamil and you’re in love. Congratulations! You’ve managed to attain something many today have gone great lengths to find.
In between the long days at work, the commute home, pursuing a post-secondary education, staying in shape, networking, and spending time with family, you’ve managed to find that special someone who means the world and more. That one person who’ll make you stare at your phone in the morning in anticipation of a “good morning” message. That one person for whom you’ll drive across the city just to spend a few minutes with. And that one person you’ll spend countless hours fighting with just because of a disagreement about the future names for your planned children.
Aside from the obvious love-driven fights, everything about your partner is picture perfect. From their educational background, family values, all the way down to sexual attraction. Heck, she even sings, dances and has an unforgettable smile. Everything a guy can ask for.
But wait, you’ve forgotten something. Caste. Do you know what caste they belong to? Do you know what caste you belong to? Do you even know what caste is? If you do, why do you care?
The caste system is an archaic form of classism that segregates the Tamil diaspora. More importantly, it has ended the relationships of many young individuals, including my own. In a world replete with terrorism, poverty, war, child slavery, rape and much more, I find it amazing that this form of internal racism still exists. After all that we’ve gone through, why do we feel the need to discriminate among ourselves?
Had I known then what I know now, I would have never allowed the nonsense logic of my elders influence me to make the regretful decisions I have made. And though she was the girl of my dreams and remains so today, unfortunately her feelings have changed. Blame her I will not, as it is understandable for her to have a change of heart after all the pain she has endured. The pain caused by those with archaic beliefs and their disapproval of inter-caste marriages. The pain that has resulted in great agony and grief.
Given the opportunity, I would sacrifice it all to make it right and do what I truly wanted to do. To be with her and make our spoken of dreams a reality. However, as much as I could hope and pray for her to return and forgive me for kissing her goodbye, she has made up her mind and I will never see her again.
After fleeing a war-torn country riddled with bullets and segregation, it is absolutely ridiculous that the Tamil diaspora continues to feel the need to discriminate against their own. Why leave your homeland for the reasons of social inequality, only to practice it in a new country?
One day you will fall in love just as I did. You will go to your parents and tell them that you have found the one, just as I did. They will ask you the same questions about your partner that they had asked me. They may return to you with tears and sadness, as mine had returned to me.
And if they refuse to accept your relationship on the grounds of caste, step back and do exactly what I did NOT do. Take a look at the world around you and ask yourself:
“WHAT WILL CASTE DO FOR ME?”
– M. Bala