Those who know me well know the truth that I have a very emotional core. I get terribly affected by bad news and it doesn’t even have to do anything with me. Extremely tragic incidents that are shared on news pages or my Facebook news feed can give me sleepless nights. Since I know that I don’t have the strength to handle those and would lie awake watching the entire incident unfold in my mind, pushing me into complete misery for days to come, I normally avoid reading through such news. But sometimes no matter how much I try to avoid it, horrific details are thrown right at my face and there is no way I can unsee it. One such incident was the recent brutal murder of a 7-year-old in Kerala by his mother’s partner. Even after running away from it for weeks now, I still have trouble sleeping.

A lot has been said and written about the incident. Most of it has been extremely emotional accounts of what all happened to the kid and his baby brother in their own home and how their mother was solely responsible for whatever happened. I agree with that to a huge extent. For a lot of other people, this was a way to bring out their cheesy literary skills for everyone to see. Only a handful of people seemed to be bothered about the fact that although this lady chose to live with a criminal after her husband’s death, no one from either family of the kid’s parents was aware of the kind of abuse this 7-year-old and his 3-year-old little brother were going through. People kept talking about ‘fate’ when in reality his death could have been avoided despite what his mother turned out to be, if only someone from either family chose to check on the kids and do something about the disastrous condition they were in, instead of waiting for something like this.

But without getting overly emotional (anymore), I think I should write about a huge section of people who enthusiastically used this tragic and horrific incident as a platform to bring out their pathetic narrow-mindedness and generalizations and paint any woman who falls in love or remarries after her husband’s death as a cruel, selfish mother who does not give a damn about the future or security of her kids.

How else would you explain cheap posts on the lines of “All the women who go with someone to satisfy their lust after their husbands are dead should leave their kids in some orphanage so that they don’t get killed too”?? From their perspective, the only reason a widow ‘needs’ a man is lust. And in the land of Kamasutra, lust is a huge sin, thus making the widow a sinner. So much for foolproof logic!

I am not surprised though by this display of complete insensitivity and stupidity by our people. I have always felt that our society enjoys the grief of others. Not just that, they need absolute drama for satisfaction. Subtle mourning is never something they can accept. Their policy is “more the tears, more the love”. If the spouse does not break down in public, questions are raised about his/her love for the dead partner, speculations made about whether it was a natural death or not. Those who stay unmarried for the rest of their lives are lauded for their eternal love – and there is nothing wrong in it. But it is wrong when that is set as an obligation. It is wrong to question the sincerity in someone’s love only because they took the more difficult path of moving on.

Forgive me if I sound like I am belittling the sorrow of those who choose to stay single. I really am not. I personally know people who have lost their spouses at a very young age and go on with their lives, not thinking of another companion ever again. And I have really wished that someday they would find companionship again and not choose to be alone all their lives. It can be extremely difficult, almost impossible for them to even think about it. But I do wish they find love again. Why I say that moving on is more difficult is because in opening their hearts again to love they will have to battle themselves. They will have to battle the guilt they will no doubt feel that they are not being loyal to their long-gone-partners. It will take forever for them to convince themselves that falling in love again does not mean that they forget about the ones who are gone or that they love them any less. It will take all their strength to keep telling themselves that it is okay to be happy again. And that wanting a companion again only makes them human – craving for a partner with whom they can be totally themselves, experience the care that we all long for, spend those moments of intimacy that anyone would want, have a shot at growing old with someone they love. Don’t they deserve at least a chance at happiness after the devastating pain of losing their beloved?

But no, our society will never let them move on in peace and not feel guilty about it. Especially if it is a woman who has kids, then the norm is that she lives the rest of her life for them. People forget that she is a normal human being whose life is not and should not only be about her kids. Sure, she should choose someone who is worthy enough to be part of her kids’ lives, someone who can bring happiness into their lives and not remain an outsider. Equally important is that he brings her happiness in every way, all of it, emotionally, mentally and physically, even after her kids are all grown-up and leave home. But those who think of finding a partner only as an object to “satisfy lust” will never understand that all stepfathers and stepmothers are not evil beings as they are portrayed in movies and fairy tales. In a world where own parents who rape and kill their children without a hint of remorse exist, there exist stepfathers and stepmothers too who take in their partner’s kids as their own, love them with all their hearts and give them a wonderful future.

So the next time you start using such tragic incidents to belittle those who struggle to find happiness once again, think. You aren’t making their lives any better. You are pushing them deeper into an unnecessary sense of guilt and shame and making their lives miserable. And they don’t deserve that, especially from insensitive, pretentious prigs like you who celebrate the grief of others and expect them to mourn for a lifetime for your sake.