In some parts of the world, being single is just a relationship status. In India, it is defiance. Especially if you are a woman, in your late 20s or older. In a culture of ‘chat mangni and pat byaah’, facilitated by family members, distant relatives, enthusiastic neighbors and well-meaning strangers, being single is an abnormality.
Our society considers marriage to be an achievement. A girl is raised with the principal objective of finding a suitable partner. Her education, overall conduct and behavior, and career is important because it will determine her match. Her intelligence, confidence, opinions, salary and independence should all be the right amount (enough to find a good husband). Once it exceeds this right amount, her ability to find a match diminishes proportionately.
I am in my late 20s and single. Otherwise known as ‘not married’. People who I barely know, of either gender and varied age groups are worried about my biological clock. They are concerned about the power of my uterus to safeguard my non-existent children. Everybody has an opinion on my singledom.
Are you too picky? You are not Miss World yourself!
You cannot live your whole life alone!
You will get old, and not find anybody!
Having a child will become difficult!
During my early 20s, I used to answer the question, “Why are you still single” with the honest reply, “It is by choice.” This was until I read the following quote by Orny Adams: “I am single by choice, just not my choice!”
Still it is a choice! I used this line as humour. This too was attacked with serious allegations and analysis:
It is because you are too quiet!
But you are pretty. You should have found someone!
You are not trying hard enough! You should go out more!
The fact is I have been trying. I am very social. I meet a lot of people. It is still not happening but I am not desperate. I refuse to succumb to pressures. And don’t you dare tell me to “settle” or “arrange” my match with somebody I barely know because I may never find somebody.
I am conscious of the possibility that I may never find somebody. But since when did fear and insecurity become the best reason to get married?
I get up late on weekends. I enjoy spending money on myself. I have interests and likes that keep me happy. Being single is not ruining my life. However, your constant reminders and unwarranted advice may just do it.
Mind your own ring. Mind your own womb.
Written by Tanvi Sinha