This article will appeal to all the girls who are a lot like me. Of course, I know that no one will be exactly like me. Maybe I should correct myself and say that this article is for many girls like ‘us’ who are facing the same set of challenges.
The only thing that our own small world of people talks about is our marriage.
Our fathers keep telling us that “Betiyaan toh paraayi hoti hain!” We are forced to listen to our mother’s constant reminders that “Your mother-in-law won’t put up with your tantrums like I do.” Then all our married cousins and friends simply can’t stop themselves from telling us that “Your life will change drastically after you get married. So start being responsible from now onwards.”
Problems arise because we absolutely like our life just the way it is right now. The motto of our life always seems to be “Go anywhere anytime. Wear anything anytime. Eat anything anytime.”
These are the kinds of thoughts that occupy my mind space most of the time these days. And even as I am penning down my thoughts I cannot help wondering if I do enough for myself.
And doing all this for me is super important to me.
I am sure all Indian ‘girls like us’ will agree with my thoughts. Most people think that Indian women are taking a LOT of time these days to tie the knot. I have seen my friends who are 30 and still single. The difference is stark when we compare this with the lives of our parents. They got married when they were quite young without even giving it a second thought.
Yet we prefer to delay the process of getting married for as long as possible. Not because we are scared of shouldering our responsibilities but because getting married seems to be a worrisome prospect to us.
Who does not want to feel loved? So we eagerly listen to the experiences of our married friends. Unfortunately, the magical life that they had visualized for themselves was very different from the harsh reality. They couldn’t even confide their feelings to anyone – not even with the person with whom they shared the same bed.
The entire process of getting married itself can be pretty intimidating.
First and foremost we girls are made to sit in front of the guy’s family so that they can judge us. The arranged marriage scenario is a very stress filled affair. More often than not, we girls find it extremely difficult to express our feelings verbally.
When someone asks me how I feel – I will not even know what kind of reply to give them. I can experience what I feel but I cannot express my feelings to others verbally. It is as if we are trying to explain the colours of a sunset to someone who has never seen anything at all.
Because we are unable to express our feelings verbally - people end up thinking that we have no emotions.
Another reason is that it is often incredibly difficult to pinpoint such emotions even to ourselves.
We don’t know why we are feeling the way we are feeling. That is why we often end up with confusing thoughts and emotions at the same time.
At such times we simply blurt out what we are feeling. We tell our near and dear ones that we are scared to get married. We will then tell them that we know that our life is going to change drastically after getting married and that we are not sure if we are completely ready for it. We will then try to make them understand that we don’t behave like this because we want to hurt others. Nor are we crying out for attention. We are not trying to be manipulative either.
All we are struggling to do is to be kind to ourselves so that we are able to understand our lives in a better manner. We just want to create an internal sense of peace within our lives first.
But most people end up getting highly mistaken by our behaviour. And it is at such times that we just want someone to tell us that “If you ever feel like you are having trouble finding the right guy, you can come to me and ask me for a cuddle. I am here to help you and will cuddle you all day if you really want me to do this for you.”
I cannot help wondering if all young women are emotional creatures.
I remember when I was a child. I could easily sense if something wrong was going on in my house. I was quick to notice when the mood shifted from normal to tense and would go about trying to set things right. My mom would always call me the ‘little peacemaker of the house.’
But I also clearly remember how I felt overwhelmed with the intensity of negative emotions that were swirling around me.
When things got tense in my house I always felt extremely anxious. And when I couldn’t do anything to make things right again, I would find a way to escape. I would watch TV or read books or spend time with a friend.
In case any of that tension or anger was specifically directed towards me I was always quick to change my behaviour or apologize so that I regained my emotional equilibrium.
I would get hurt easily and would be thrown off balance when someone passed a biting remark about me.
I feel other positive emotions quite deeply as well. I can feel the intensity of my love for my parents. I share a deep bond of friendship with my close friends. I love being hugged. I also love it when people express their love with physical affection. I am easily touched by love stories and soft music.
But the minute we get engaged to an oh-so-charming and loving man, our life gets transformed suddenly.
All of a sudden, we have a new set of parents and a never-ending roster of relatives to please. We may well go on to become the most beloved new chachi, maami, bhabhi etc. And the super corny youngsters around us will freak us out. And all we can do is smile and kiss their cheeks.
Maybe all these experiences fill us with trepidation. Maybe that is why we want to take our own time to give our nod of consent. We are not yet ready to take the plunge but someday in the not so distant future maybe we will be willing to consider the prospect of getting married in a positive light. Until then we are just asking for some time out for ourselves.