Somewhere around 2016, my conservative parents and their siblings started sensing the ideological rift between them and us. My cousins and I were 20 somethings with voice and we stopped nodding our heads at every regressive comment made at someone else's expense.
We were coming out left, right and center as - atheists, anti-theists, dinkoists (Do search for it on the Internet, you won't be disappointed), allies of the LGBTQ community, pro-weed, pro-premarital-sex, pro-choice monsters and it was driving the others crazy. But hell actually broke loose when my indifferent brother announced that he'd like to get married - to someone who was not a Hindu. Someone who was extremely successful, gorgeous, well read, well spoken and loved by us all but still not ‘one amongst our own kind. Someone who's been to almost all of our family functions since 2009 and watched Boston Legal with us yet somehow unworthy of being my sister-in-law.
"I told you the 'best-friend' thing was a cover", Lakshmi giggled as my uncle shot death glares at her. Eventually, they'd come around. After all, he was 32 and as independent as anybody could be. What were they gonna do, chain him to the window bars? While that was a harsh reality elsewhere in the country, there was a collective outrage from the millennials that pressured our parents to smile and accept the young couple.
And life went on. They got married, they fought, they made up, they came to weddings and brought gifts, people still talked ill about how odd it was for him to 'stray' and how cunning it was of her to 'trap' him but that hardly mattered to them. Or to us. This sounds far too optimistic to people who have faced harsher backlashes for loving who you love and being who you are but as we move together as a generation that isn't simply moulded by their parents but exposed to more than your own community, there seems to be a change in what we see as ethical and what we perceive as how others need to be treated - especially those different from us.
On this International Day of Tolerance, here's to hoping for a future where intolerance doesn't exist and what little you face - you can afford to brush off.