Sponsored by ALTBalaji

Love is patient, kind and all of the textbook optimism that we hear of. But owing to the unfortunate times that we live in, we’re not really free to love who we want. It is dictated by the caste, creed, community and sadly, even the gender of our partners. And while people have screamed themselves hoarse by petitioning for their right to love – something that shouldn’t even be up for debate – we still have old-fashioned naysayers calling the shots. The prospect is beyond depressing.

“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved…” – George Sand

Such is life, that “love” must seek refuge behind closed doors, in the safe confines of couple-friendly hotels and pose as something they’re clearly not, just to be the poster child for normalcy that society deems as proper. 

It was in the middle of this rumination on love that I stumbled upon this new-age show on ALTBalaji, ‘Romil and Jugal’ which sort of put these struggles in perspective for me. The show is inspired by the classic Shakespearean romance of Romeo and Juliet where the titular characters strive against all odds to make their love known, in a world torn by narrow-mindedness and prejudice. But the tale isn’t told so simply.

By turning the evergreen tale of romance into one between same-sex partners, the makers of the show have opened up the dialogue on love and acceptance with the question, ‘are we really free to love who we want?

The show itself, is a critique of social norms which frowns upon the unnaturalness of homosexuality to such a degree, that Romil and Jugal themselves are forced to second guess their honest-to-God feelings as maybe, a passing phase. In their struggle for acceptance, they’re battling conflicting emotions of whether to come out of the closet and face the wrath of their parents or to push down their feelings and hate themselves forever. And if that wasn’t hard enough, they must convince their parents to accept them first and their irrefutable love for one another too. How they resolve their struggles and find a way out forms the rest of the tale. 

With #PrideWeek coming to a close soon, I find comfort knowing that the dialogue on the misunderstood struggles of the LGBTQ community is still on. And with numerous protests, displays and marches taking closed-off minds a step forward in the path to tolerance, a judgement-free future doesn’t seem all that far away. Thanks to shows like Romil and Jugal, we can get a sneak-peek into the lives of such persecuted individuals who seek only to love freely. Isn’t that what love is all about? 

Love hardly sees time or space, rhyme or reason, let alone the socially imposed metrics of caste, creed and gender. So, shouldn’t we be allowed to find love, without restrictions or judgement? 

I long to live in a world where no one tells me that my love is not right. Where a girl can openly come out the closet and not be shunned by her parents. Where a man can take the arm of another man and not receive wanton stares. Till then, series like Romil and Jugal will give us all hope for a better tomorrow. Because #LoveIsLove