Being single in India is challenging. It is a crime if you turn 25-26 as you are expected to get married before you touch 25 and become a mother at least by 30. Many elders (read morons) here decide the fertility rate of every woman. They start their requests for kids from day 1 of marriage. Some think delivering a kid is as easy as getting a chips packet from vending machine! I know I am getting drifted away from the topic. I can write a lot on the "being single" scenario in India. But for now I want to narrate an incident from my own life.
I used to have lunch with a group of colleagues in the office pantry some 3 years back. Half of them were married and a quarter of them were engaged and another quarter of them were committed to get married (hopefully to the same person). The conversation started something like below.
Madam X: "Hey today my husband wanted me to make this curry. He loves it."
Madam Y: "I and Raj love the coriander soup of Main Land China."
I was already feeling out of place but still was hearing to them faking a pinch of enthusiasm just for courtesy sake.
Madam Z: "Afshan! When are you going to invite us to a lavish dinner which has biryani and haleem."
Me: "Any day. Let’s plan it. We can go out."
X, Y and Z in chorus : "Oh! Not like that. She meant about wedding bells."
I realised I had to understand almost everything they talk in the marriage context as they talk mostly that.
Me: "Oh! Not any sooner."
X: "Then. When? What are your plans? You already have someone? Everyone in your batch is married na."
Even if I felt like kicking myself, I controlled the urge and responded.
Me: "Nope. I have no one. I am searching for the guy you know. So whenever I like someone you all can have your biryani."
Y: "What are you looking for in a guy? You should lessen your expectations. There is no perfect guy you know."
Now I don't know if Y is spying on me and my expectations list but this time I felt like kicking her.
I controlled my anger and remained silent.
Z: "By the way. In your religion mother-in-law ties the mangala sutra na? That's it and marriage is over?" This sentence was followed by a series of giggles.
I couldn't resist any more even if they sounded ignorant, idiotic and harmless.
Me: "You think people around the world follow the same tradition of wedding? And what do you know about my expectations list to comment on?"
Y, Z: "Arey, we were just advising yaar. Don't be serious."
"No I am not serious. I just can't talk and take nonsense and innocence which is sometimes pain in ass." I told
After that I did not go for lunching with them as I didn't feel like it. I definitely felt I can do better with better people around me. On that day I realised how nosy people are and how they bother you if you decide for yourself. Specially most of the married folks feel, they have all rights to nose around. Yes there are others too who mind their own business but it’s not uncommon to come across the nosy bunch. They sound just like the aunties and vamps in serials. Whenever I come across them I feel that serials are not very unrealistic!
Once you are married don't think that the questions will stop. Recently a friend with whom I went out asked me, "When are you planning kids?" I had the standard answer ready with a sheepish smile, "Not any sooner."
The friend who recently turned mom exclaimed in utter amazement, "Not any sooner means. You gotta plan yaar."
You know what I did? I counted 10 to 1 and inhaled and exhaled for some inner peace!
Once an American during a tour in Manali expressed the inconvenience he faces whenever Indians question him about his marriage / kids and settlement. He was happy that I did not ask him the same. I told him there are more interesting things to talk and cleared to him that not everyone in India is interested in personal affairs. That's why I say if you are single it’s tough to mingle in India and ignorance might be bliss but sometimes it's a pain in ass to the one who faces it.