When I travelled Sri Lanka I saw a lot of teenage couples sitting in remote areas under an umbrella. Only after a couple of days I realized, that they did not have the freedom to date whoever they love. In most cases the parents make this decision for them. That is why they hide in areas where no one sees them. The umbrella is usually just sun protection, but it also seemed as if it gave sight protection.
Even in Asia I asked to a lot of teenagers if they were happy with their parents’ choice. In Europe we only hear about the “bad” decisions, where girls are married to a bad guy who makes their lives hard and awful. Luckily there are cases, where the couples are happy together. Yet, in most cases, it does not seem to be the deep love we are looking for in a relationship but rather a live community with less passion.
Having the freedom to choose, is not a guarantee for this deep love and happiness either. Freedom of choice makes us responsible for us and our partner. It seems as if we forget this too often. Instead of appreciating the freedom to make choices we indulge in tough situations without making any decision or with lack of patience.
In this teenage dating situation, I thought they were even protected by the sacred indian cow in the front of the picture. As cows were indispensable to life in india they were sacred animals. People are still not allowed to kill them. Cows deliver nutrition, fertilizer, medicine, they carry navy loads and help building houses. But this holy law is broken many times. There are restrictions to slaughtering cows now, which makes it legal in some areas. But apart from 3.500 official slaughter houses there are around 10.000 illegal ones. India exports 1.5 million tones of buffalo meat annually.
So in the end it comes back to responsibility. This seems to be the true path to happiness. Rules, laws, restrictions will always be necessary to some extend to ensure a social environment. But when it comes to sustainable happiness, we have to take responsibility and make choices.