I am a normal Indian girl of 25, working as the marketing executive at a multinational company. I earn enough to lead a comfortable life. I live with my parents and two siblings. I was planning to book a house because I want to live alone but suddenly my neighbors, relatives and even my parents have started explicitly suggesting that its time for me to find a suitable mate. Lately my facebook page has been updating pictures of my old classmates and friends getting married or having babies which has left me thinking about my future. I was never interested in relationships, do not believe in the concept of love and have devoted my life to my career. After 25 years of restrictions, now that I have the resources to do as I please how can I get married and spoil this moment? Yet, what if I start regretting my life after the age of 30 or 40 when I am lonely? But I do not have a boy friend or love interest who would understand my stance and wait for a few years for me. Should I resort to arranged marriage?
It isn’t that if I had a boy friend I would be allowed to marry him without a careful scrutiny that he is eligible enough for me. His eligibility does not only depend on his career or age, but also his caste, class, parents and ability to please my family. In short, like every Hollywood-bollywood combo movie or like ‘Bewakoofiyan’, my lover would have to prove his worthiness at every instance. Even after all these tests he might not be accepted by my long distance relatives who abhor the concept of love marriages because how can I, a child, make the decision of my life. My parents might even resort to emotional threats of how I am maligning their honour in the society. It is not just my parents but my boyfriend’s family might be equally severe. One episode of ‘Satyameva Jayate’ was based on love marriages which showed real life examples of elopement, threats and honour killings.
Anyway, I need not worry about the aforementioned consequences because as I told you, I am single with no future scope of finding my soul mate. So, if I really wish to marry I need to be dependent upon matrimonial sites, my relatives and parents. I must get a beautiful photograph clicked, with a shy smile and hands resting on a fake pillar. Then I need to get PhD in house chores because that would help me stand out among the million portfolios sent to my maybe-to-be-groom because every guy wants a ‘beautiful’ ‘homely’ girl. I need to start saving money because there are chances that there will be ‘healthy’ demands for ‘my own comfort’ in my to-be-husband’s house hold. I must agree to the fact that I should be able to ‘give’ at least one child within 2 years, male preferably, to be a perfect wife. Although it is possible that the groom could be really decent who loves me and takes my point of view into consideration but for that I need a lot of luck because such oysters are caught pretty soon.
But, what if I choose to remain single? Will my decision be accepted by my family, relatives and society? Will my future me regret my decision? People laugh out when I suggest that I want to live alone saying that I am too young to decide and that everybody has to get married. Then there is the fear of the society which slut-shames a single woman or says, “Kuch kharabi hogi usme” (There must be something wrong with her). Even a single man is looked at in a different light in the society but life of a single woman is worse until she becomes a politician or leads and ascetic life or is very rich. Do I not have the right to make the decisions of my life? Has marriage become the final destination before death? Is it necessary to leave the threshold of your parent’s house just to enter another? There are instances where single professional women are not rented apartments because they are considered immoral who party late at night and have men stay over night which could have a bad influence on other families. Nobody even considers the fact that a single woman can have a healthy normal life. And all this is just a gist of a million problems of being a single woman in this country.
Despite everything, if I ever find someone I want to spend my life with, I will marry him. But marriage for the sake of it usually ends in unhappy compromises. At times I feel that too much education has spoiled me into having expectations and desires which an ignorant ‘me’ might not have had. Had I been an ignorant woman with the dream of marrying at the right age I might have been easily accepted in this society and I would be less confused about my life. The patriarchy is so rigid when it comes to women that I can hear it say, “Marry where we want you to and love him and his family or compromise because neither will we let you choose your partner nor will we allow you to live alone.” All these voice makes me contemplate leaving the country because this is no country for single women but if you are surviving here as a single woman then kudos because I consider you more successful than Tata-Birlas.