Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, April 17, 2008

By Faria Sanjana

Ever wondered how life would have been if there were not any relationships to handle? You could have been the lord of your existence, the lone traveler on this intricate journey. But alas, life never gave us that fortunate a chance and has therefore bestowed us with relatives which range from parents to siblings to significant others. Don't get me mistaken for a sadist or something. Of course, I am not against living a solitary life but sometimes the pressures and expectations that come from different quarters can get hard to cope with.

From the study quarter
Right from your toddler years, parents in Bangladesh, expect their children to get admitted in a popular school. Hence begins the pressure of having a picture perfect image in front of the admissions committee and answering all questions in the interview with zero mistakes. If the child fails, then he or she gets the blame of being too 'naughty'. In other words, the child just blew his or her so-called golden prospect of being in a top-notch school. It is a much worse scenario in Bengali medium schools where kids have to start coaching as early as 8 years of age (which is basically their time to play!). It is almost a 'study or die' situation in which the ultimate loser is the child, even if he or she gets admitted. Admission means more studying which consequently leads to the fact of losing the precious moments of childhood.

So as we grow up, parents expect us to excel in studies. “You have to be the top student this year or else how can I show my face to Ibrahim's mom?” Out of nowhere, the juncture for Board examinations arrive in which we literally don't get the time to breathe. “You must have all A's/G.P.A 5!” And then the big run for admission in college be it local or abroad. “Do you want all your extraordinary results to go down the drain? Put them into use in an Ivy or IBA!” Ah, the demands never end!

Sibling trouble
Siblings are and will remain the annoying pests of your life. When it comes to talking about relationship pressures, then siblings should come just after parents. Suppose you have an older sister who is much brighter and intelligent than you are. Without a doubt, pressure falls on you to be even better than her. Not only in the case of studies, it can also be of appearance which ultimately plays a big role during the time of dating or marriage. If your sister is prettier or fairer than you, then it is your fault that you are ugly and is not getting enough heads turned. Also if you are the older sibling then it is upon you to set a good example on the little ones. “Be careful of the steps you tread; your younger brother/sister is going to follow the same footsteps.”

The 'significant other' thing
Most of my 'not-single' friends come up to me and complain about the huge amount of strain put onto them by their boyfriends/girlfriends. Sometimes a bf can be so not understanding that if the girl has problems like a test or other plans that he gets all fired up and accuses her of ignoring him. Same goes for some girls too, who keep on checking their bfs every hour to know what they are up to. Eventually, there is nothing called space in the relationship and one ends up being stressed up most of the time.

Pressures never really end and go on until you continue to live. When you enter adulthood, looking for a job becomes a must. There are pressures on you to get married and settled. After marriage, the obligation to keep your partner and children happy during all times.

We can probably never get rid of this but can surely ease it up a bit. Of course, parents have the right to scold us or expect the best from us. But just to remove the extra burden we could make them understand where to draw the line instead of going overboard. The best thing is not to compare yourself with others and prevent your relatives too from doing that. Trust me the whole situation becomes lot easier if we simply stopped comparing. I strongly believe in the adage “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” You should know where your strengths and weaknesses lie and make it clear to the people around you. So what if your brother is ahead of you in studies? Maybe you are a better guitarist than he is! And if your bf/gf is too nosy just mention it to him/her that the bugging is getting too difficult to handle.

It can be a hard-hitting task to maintain all these, but hey a mere worth's trying should not hurt. Just imagine how uncomplicated life would then be!



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