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-Mayank Gurnani

Marriage isn’t exactly a decision that one bases purely on the feelings of love, at least not in a fairly conservative society like that of India. In an atmosphere where even the minutest details are put to scrutiny by relatives you never even knew existed, marriages in India come with a pre-disposed baggage of what is popularly propagated as ‘tradition’ and ‘culture’. Add a fandom of billions of individuals and a never ending curiosity about your personal, more specifically romantic life and you’ll find yourself in the position of India’s very own global superstar Priyanka Chopra.

It is not an unknown fact that celebrities worldwide, but more so in India, are a major influence on the lives of countless individuals. Their actions seem to guide the decisions their fans take and their opinions seem to shape the thoughts of others. So it is inevitable that the decision of a superstar as big as Priyanka Chopra, will not only create magnanimous buzz, but will also subsequently force her fans to ponder over it.

When it was first speculated that Priyanka might be dating American singer/songwriter and teen heartthrob Nick Jonas, the troll army that infests the Indian online space came out in full force, and unleashed their wrath on the couple. From mocking Chopra about Jonas’ age to his height, they left no stone unturned. However, being the chiller she is Chopra never dignified the attacks on her by responding to them, if anything she couldn’t have cared less. Here was a woman, an idol for millions of young girls, following her heart and living her life as she wants, without spending two seconds thinking about what others thought of her actions.

Chopra’s engagement to Jonas is not just your daily dose of pop-culture news, for millions and millions of young girls and women, bound by the shackles of narrow-mindedness, sexism and patriarchy, it is message of hope, that they too can break free from all that is holding them back from loving who they want. Priyanka who is significantly elder to and visibly taller than Nick, has always been a feminist icon and by choosing not to give into the age old societal expectations of a bride being shorter and younger than his groom, she is telling the world that come what may, our desi girl will do what she feels is right.

While Priyanka might have never given this much thought into her actions involving her love life, and rightly so would have only listened to her heart, she sure did thrash a gazillion sexist notions in doing so. It is not often that we see a Bollywood megastar, marry someone so significantly different than them in every aspect, and even when we do it is often the male celebrities who are seen doing so, for actress the inherent societal sexism always seemed to have guided their decisions.

It is her courage, her remarkable positivity and more importantly her willingness to follow her heart, that make Priyanka India’s most loved celebrity and her marriage so important. Here’s to a lifetime of slaying hearts and setting examples by doing so. We heart you PeeCee.

 

 

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