Wednesday, 2 May 2012

A rant

There is a switch which goes on in everyone's mind as soon as a single girl crosses 25. The light which the switching on of this switch generates, manages to pale every other finer feeling in comparison. You know what I mean, much like the sun's light obliterating every star's. So, I, who was once a "smart girl", "slightly obese girl", "the-one-who's-studying-neurobiology girl", "really funny girl", "a short tempered girl", "oh-so-ambitious girl", "the-one-who-writes-well girl" (ahem) is now reduced to only "not-yet-married-girl". This light, which this God-forsaken switch casts, manages to make sure all my other epithets are wiped off. Although, the negative ones pop out at times when they discuss why I am "not-married-yet".

So, I since I am "oh-so-ambitious", I decided that I needed to "study abroad". I chanced upon a really nice course and popped out to the United Kingdom as soon as I could. I led an extremely interesting year. A backpacking trip to Italy, bad scores on my assignments, night-outs which I don't remember, writer's block, enriching museums and conversations, a sprained ankle, being homeless for a while, staying with wonderful friends and horrible bouts of homesickness. The last few bits and the cold, cold weather made me come back as soon as I could. 

After getting back, I expected a hero's welcome (see that's where I went wrong, I should've expected a heroine's welcome). Anyway, point being, after being back to my native land, the only welcome I received was a standard question "So, when are you getting married now?". Imagine! No parties, no curiosity about my exploits in the First World, no "*wink *wink, how much did you drink?" questions. Just a cold, hard "When's the wedding now?" stare. 

For years, I had seen my cousin brothers returning to India to parties and special sessions where people made them talk for hours about life abroad. I mean, these guys kept going and coming back for years and each year there would be these "Oh my! He's back" parties. Ok, some of these guys did get asked "when's the wedding?", but that was only if he was past 30 and if he seemed effeminate. Otherwise, the "let the party (I am thinking of a bad word here) with the firang babes be on!" 

As I was saying, the singularity of thought of these numerous "aunties, uncles and others" amazes me. A good career, a house purchase, a car purchase, the existence of an enriching life for a single girl over 25 are not to be lauded or spoken about unless accompanied by the mention of a marriage date.

Me and so many of my friends are leading purposeful, productive and happy lives. Some of them are even married. Observing this and reading many other things I have come across so far have lead me to believe that humans strive to be happy. And when we are happy, single or married, we should be satisfied and celebrate that instead of basing our life's happiness on some random incident in the distant future which may or may not happen. 

I understand the importance of a good relationship or a marriage. But what I do not understand is this invalidation of my entire existence without the stamp of a husband. Incidentally, I happily exist. 

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  1. A very interesting post. I understand and relate to these musings. However, ever since I read this I have been wondering on how difficult it is to break out of this environment.
    While I belong to the "you-always-have-it-easy" gender, and one will argue that it is easier said than done, I just wanted to speak out my thoughts. So here goes. Some of them may be on tangent contexts, but please bear with me.

    Two things that have always irritated me:
    1. Over zealous parents that will jump at every accomplishment of yours and announce it in the family and friends forum. I do not know why they cannot see through the fact that others do not quite relish or share their enthusiasm for such news. While atya is listening to the story that lead to my promotion or my assignment in the US, she is half grimacing on the other end of the phone trying to fathom when will her Gotya beat me at this. Why don't parents just get the fact that there is really no need to blow the trumpet? I would have rather enjoyed a underdogs life rather than being looked at with scrutinizing eyes each time I went for some family function.

    2. The capability for friends and families (especially the atya-maushi-kaka-kaki) types to indulge in matters concerning one's life. Once in a blue moon there is that occasional mama who is an outlier and only concerns himself with giving you guidance when you seek it. He will also be very non-judgmental in nature but then such luck is rare. Coming back to the point, I have no idea why these people tend to be over enthusiastic about my life. I wish they would just leave me alone. I would respect them more.

    In any case, over the years I have learnt that the old adage "ignorance is bliss" actually works. And here is where you might feel it is easier for my "he-can-bloody-pee-anywhere" gender! But Yes. I have had a whole bunch of nosy-Parkers in my family and family friend circle and the best thing I have done in such circumstances is to a) Try and change the topic or if that doesn't work b) Be point blank and tell them that this topic has no importance or priority in my life currently and if they continued to discuss, I will be forced to either walk away or more interestingly pour a bucket of water on their heads. The latter has almost always worked so far :)
    Having said that, I wonder if deep down we ourselves are guided by the so called milestones that society puts for us. I mean albeit I was the rebel or the black sheep in my family - I do remember thinking twice before signing up as a witness when my cousin sis married someone against her parents's wishes. What if my parents were to be blamed? I still curse myself for that thought, but then I don't know why it occurred to me. Overall I think the fight is always about who or what idea is stronger. If we could really be strong enough to define our own paths or strong enough to care two-hoots for what these so-called well wishers thought, then we would be n times content in life, no? I don't know where that strength comes in and possibly it is easier for a guy to think so but that seems to be the crux of the matter here. Who the hell is John Galt after all?

  2. Thanks for your comment as big as my post! More than anything else, I have a problem with these milestones which are supposed to be achieved at certain time-points. When I am happy, I want to be happy and not told that if only I had a husband and kids, I would be happ-ier. My happiness is my own creation, not anyone else's.

  3. Absolutely. And please keep those blogs coming...

  4. Sounds like the story of my life. Bravo girl for being strong to live life as you want it and not how others do.

  5. India mein muft ki advice bohot milti hai...


    Neurobiology... hmmm sounds interesting... I loved Eric Kandel's HHMI lectures on memory (aplysia something).

    As for the tradition of marriage, a massive change is in order. As one of my friends argued eloquently, "Who the hell came up with the smart-ass idea of girls leaving their parents' house after marriage?"

    Why stop at marriage? So many institutions created by our human ancestors (ahem, job) need overhaul...

  6. For boys it starts a little later. They even ask to leave a job if u don't get the stamp !