We live in a society where the moment a girl turns 25 and remains unmarried, family and friends look down upon her suspiciously. The same society that never wanted her to have a boyfriend previously, suddenly issues her the license to have one.
I personally pity those poor souls who are forced to attend all functions – from their closest friend’s marriage to their ‘distant brother of her mom’s second cousin’s only daughter’s’ marriage. She is directed to be attired in an elaborate ethnic wear with the customary dupatta, wear a delicate smile – and to top it all, she is also given crash courses on blushing. The moment she walks down the red carpet, every eyeball scans her up and down.
I am always disheartened to see how girls above 25 years are treated like products nearing their expiry dates. What’s more disheartening is the fact that most girls don’t even speak up against this.
Last evening, I attended my friend’s marriage where I overheard an aunty yelling with excitement –“Ohhh maiiii Gawwdd!! Do you laaaikke somebaudy!! Tell me naaa… Mai setting karwa dungi… (Oh my God!! Do you like somebody!! Please tell me… I’ll forge a relationship between you two…)”
I immediately wanted to flee from the place and find a peaceful corner to avoid a nervous breakdown. But, I decided otherwise, when I heard a confident yet composed voice answering – “No I don’t like anyone! And, if at all I did, I would prefer telling my parents first. My parents trust me and my choices. If I cannot sort out something with the ones who gave me birth and imbibed values and principles in me, nobody on this planet can.”
So, here’s aunty and the woman who was 30 and single:
Aunty: “Toh kya problem hai ? Woh ladka accha hain (So what’s the problem? That boy is good)! The guy is tall, dark and handsome – and to top it all, he earns much more than you do! You need not toil now.”
Lady: Really nice to know that he works and earns well. But I wish to be financially independent. I don’t want to be a financial burden on anyone. Moreover, he may buy me thousands of solitaires, but the shine and glitter of the diamond I earn for myself illuminates my whole world. He may buy me the luxuries such as the Jaguar and Rolls Royce – but the sheer pleasure of driving my hard-earned Honda City is much higher.
Aunty: As a girl you have to take up the responsibilities of the kitchen and the home on your shoulders. Finances will be handled by him. So both of you would be working in coalition, effectively – and not doing a favour to each other.
Lady: Why do we have this predefined set of responsibilities? Why does society confine us within these boundaries? I believe that a marriage should be a coalition in complete sense. Responsibilities should be taken up by choice, and not forced upon anyone. If I am ready to take care of my home and office simultaneously, I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t work.
Aunty: You cannot marry after you have lost your charm or are way past your age for marrying. And few years down the line, without a family of your own, you will feel emptiness in your life.
Lady: What pleasure and happiness will that family give me which doesn’t understand my wishes and desires? If my to-be family cannot make me happy today, what happiness can I expect from them tomorrow? I don’t see any fulfilment in life by marrying, when I have to first make it empty by leaving my job. I just don’t wish to get into a dictated relationship.
Everybody is ready to accept all her demands – from the height of the groom to the weight of his pockets. The one expectation (of women) that is just unacceptable is –“I want to work, and the proposals I receive won’t allow me to.”
Most Indian girls, even highly educated ones, fall into the trap of the pre-defined beliefs of this society. I salute the guts of this lady who stood up for herself and clearly knows where her happiness lies. I salute her for sorting out her priorities wonderfully. I salute her for not giving in to the societal pressures. Marriage is a commitment for a lifetime – and one needs to be sure before getting into it.
A version of this post was first published here.
Image used for representative purposes only.