Singledom or Singledoom - Answers anyone?
There was something wrong, something amiss in her simple and innocuous sounding message. She was sending far too many messages to me in the past few days; something turned in my heart as I realized this; especially because we were not that regularly in touch now, although she was my best friend from school, 3 decades ago and so, so many message in so short a time meant something, my friend, was definitely not going right in her life. I hope I were wrong, though.
We used to walk to the bus stop together; her and me; step matching step. I was quite in awe of her. She was so pretty, slim, and fair, with a pinkish, translucent complexion, soft hair that sat neatly on her head and her two bows. A sweet smile, a gentle, soft word always. And a handwriting that was so perfect, it could have been typed, for all you know. No fighting with anyone, no shouting, no screaming. We were really poles apart. I was the tomboy. Fair, short, pleasantly plump, with a smile-turning into a grin, at the drop of a hat, short hair that fell out of place from my bobcut. We both always stood among the first five places in any exams. She was the sweet, anyone would like her. I was the rebel.
A scream from outside broke my train of pleasant thoughts; sigh! The guy downstairs was probably drunk again like every day and taking it out on his poor wife, I thought. This abuse needed to stop for sure. Was it ok to interfere? As a neighbor? What did the laws say? Better, what did humanity say? But that did not explain why this sweet old friend of mine was messaging me so often and why I thought there was something wrong in that.
I messaged her back. I asked her if she was in Shimla or in Pune; if she was in Pune, I would go and meet her, I typed. She replied in an instant – “I am with my parents; I do not stay with my husband anymore.”
Ohmigod! I kind of knew there was something wrong. This was her second time to get married and then fall apart. Too bad. “What had gone wrong?” I wondered. Why don’t marriages work anymore?
I meet so many young, good looking, intelligent, independent girls doing very well in their careers, who are hell bent on not getting married. A voice rings in my ear - one of my young friends, who once voiced here deep fears that every marriage she had seen had turned sour, so “Why marry?” she asked.
This ‘staying single and unmarried’ phenomenon had set me thinking. For the first time in my life, I stepped out of my comfort zone of thoughts of the happily- married-for-22 years and stepped into the minds of these single women.
They are open – they do not let anything get in their way of freedom, happiness, and success. They are driven by these. They are even open to relationships, short or long. They don’t mind calling it quits, if things do not seem to be working out. They do not think it is the end of the world. They do not blame it on themselves. They feel there are better things waiting for them. But for them, marriage is not an option. Relationships, no problem. Physical relationships, no problem. BFF? (Boyfriend forever) they love it! The numbers of these non-believers in marriage are increasing exponentially. If you ask them, “What about companionship?” they say, “We shall see.”
If you ask them, “What about going back to an empty house when you are 50?” They say, “That’s 25 years away. Why think of it now?”
Come to think of it, they are missing out on nothing. Friends, fun, men, money, physical pleasures, even kids (single women adopting is on a high). Add to this, happiness, success – they have it too.
They are living it up. At least they seem to be, apparently. They are smiling. Glowing, even. The singledom seems to be working for them.
The signs of the institution called marriage failing are all there. It is no longer sacrosanct. Even in India, or so it seems.
But frankly, even after stepping into the shoes of these ‘happily unmarried’ girls and women, I am all for the old school of thought. All for the ‘happily ever after’ institution. With a good old husband and great children. Of coming back home to a loving, caring family. Of having real people in my life. Of having a shoulder to cry on; of family get-togethers, friends, laughter and sunshine. Of warm hugs, sweet feelings and great pics. Of a life well spent.
To each, her own. Singledom or marriagedom. As long as the ‘dom’ does not go to ‘doom’. Whatever you feel like. As long as you live life well. And live it happily ever after.