If you were to believe elders in our society, then love and romance are the biggest deterrents in a student’s academic endeavours. We all grow up listening to the legends of “talented” or “capable” students who lost their way because of love. And whose scholastic future suffered a setback because they were too busy romancing. But is love always a distraction? Can’t it become a person’s strength and motivation to perform even better?

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • UPSC Topper Kanishak Kataria thanked his girlfriend for his success.
  • It is not often that successful students dedicate their success to their supportive girlfriends/boyfriends.
  • Parents still tell their kids that love and romance is a distraction.
  • Love can be an inspiration if you have a supportive partner.

Is love always a distraction? Can’t it become a person’s strength and motivation to perform well?

UPSC Topper Kanishak Kataria, a BTech from IIT Bombay, has caught the attention of netizens, not only for acing the civil service examination, but also for thanking his girlfriend among others, for his success. “It’s a very surprising moment. I never expected to get the first rank. I thank my parents, sister and my girlfriend for the help and moral support. People will expect me to be a good administrator and that’s exactly my intention,” Kataria said, speaking to ANI.

It is not every day that so-and-so’s beta/beti dares to speak of love amidst mentions of topping exams. How many times, in fact, have we ever heard the mention of a girlfriend or a boyfriend in thank you notes from toppers? Their speeches usually revolve around thanking the almighty, the parents who put their hard earned money and belief in them, the teachers and to a point friends. This is because in our country, firstly, talking openly about romances is still frowned upon and secondly, ambitious students are usually taught to see love as a distraction.

How many times have we ever heard the mention of a girlfriend or a boyfriend in thank you notes from toppers?

You have an entire lifetime to fall in love and all that nonsense, but right now you need to focus on your studies, is what most students are told. And this isn’t a pep talk only for teenagers with raging hormones. Grown up students, receive advice on similar lines. If only it was so easy to keep yourself from being attracted or falling in love with someone. Despite all the warnings and instructions love happens, and students often end up internalising the guilt of feeling something which is so organic and natural. Besides love isn’t necessarily always a distraction and I want to thank Kataria for pointing that out.

A loving partner is your support system, who keeps your spirits high and is there by your side both in times of success and failure. Since our traditional society still largely disapproves of love and relationships not solicited by parents or families, blaming a girlfriend/boyfriend for failure in career or exams comes easily to them. It suits their agenda of keeping the love-life of their wards under control.

Love between consenting adults always calls for acceptance. Whether you see it as your strength or weakness depends on your own perspective.

The way the youth still feels hesitant to admit that they are in love, to their parents, tells us that while young India has moved on, Indian parents are still stuck in the trappings of old beliefs. They still reprimand their adult children, shame them for experiencing love or blackmail them into breaking things off, thinking it is in their best interest. Wouldn’t it distract their child even more? Wouldn’t the distress of parental pressure affect their performance too?

Kataria’s statement can help normalise the existence of romance among youths and students. Stop telling the youth to not “waste time” on love as it can be their strength, if they are with a person who loves them and stands by them. Love between consenting adults always calls for acceptance, whether you see it as your strength or weakness depends on your own perspective.

Picture Credit : ANI

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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