I want to dedicate this post to all the girls who are a lot like me, and not just me, I should in fact say, a lot like “Us” - because we are a whole bunch of girls walking on the same route, living the same kind of life where the only thing the World around us talks about is our marriage!
Our fathers keep telling us that “Betiyaan toh paraayi hoti hain.” We get to listen to our mothers’ constant reminders, “Your mother-in-law won’t put up with your tantrums like I do.”
Not just that, our married cousins/friends can’t stop warning us - “your life will drastically change after marriage, start being responsible from now itself.” But the problem is, we secretly love our life just the way it is. We are in love with our freedom, we live by the following mottos:
Go anywhere, anytime. Wear anything, anytime. Eat anything, anytime.
Today, as I sit here, penning my thoughts on this phenomenon which seems to consume my mind for the most part of my day, I wonder if I do enough for myself, because it is super important. I am sure all the Indian girls “like us” agree to this. People say that Indian women take a LOT of time these days to settle down in terms of tying the knot. I have seen my friends who are 30 and still single. Unlike the older days, when our parents got married quite young, without much thought. And it’s true! Most of us like to delay the process of getting married for as long as possible not because we are scared of responsibilities, but because it can be quite a worrying prospect.
To be honest, who doesn’t want to feel loved? But as far as I have learned from my married friends, the La la Land where we all wish to stay, soon turns out to be a land where we can’t describe our feelings to anyone, not even the person with whom we share the same bed.
Let’s get back to square one, where we girls are made to sit in front of the potential suitor’s family to be scrutinized. This whole arranged marriage phase/scenario can make it extremely difficult for women to verbally express what they feel. For example, when someone asks me how I feel about this, I will not know what to reply. Even though I first handedly experience what I feel, I cannot translate my feelings to others with proper articulation.
To me, it seems like trying to explain the colors of a sunset to someone who is visually impaired.
The inability to communicate our feelings with words may cause people to think we have no emotions. There is, however, another reason for this. For us, it is often incredibly difficult to pinpoint even to ourselves why we feel the way we do. I have established the fact that when we tell someone that we are scared to get married, or just scared of life going upside down and not being sure if we are completely ready for it, people need to understand that we don’t behave this way because we want to hurt anyone, we are not crying out for attention, nor are we trying to be manipulative.
We are just trying to be kind to ourselves and understand our lives by attempting to create some internal space for peace. Our behavior can be highly mistaken and we are often misunderstood. Sometimes, we just want to hear something like this: “If you ever feel like you are having trouble in finding the right guy, you can come to me and ask me for a cuddle. I am right here to help you and will give you lots of cuddles, all day too if that is what you need.” Are all young women emotional creatures? When I was a child, I could easily sense if something wrong was going on in my house. If the mood would shift from normal to tense, I was quick to notice it and I would immediately try to set things right.
My mom would call me “the little peacemaker of the house.”
Whenever things got tensed in my house, I felt overwhelmed with the intensity of the negative emotions whirling around me. It used to make me extremely anxious, and if I couldn’t do anything to make things right again, I’d find a way to escape, either through TV or books or spending time with a friend. If any of that tension or anger were specifically directed at me, I was quick to change my behavior or apologize in order to regain emotional equilibrium. I always got my feelings hurt easily and would get thrown off-balance when someone would say something biting to me.
I feel other positive emotions quite deeply as well. I feel immense love for my parents, become severely attached to friends, enjoy hugs and physical affection, and tend to feel moved by love stories or soft music.
And once one of us decides to get engaged to an oh-so-charming and loving man, life is suddenly transformed. All of a sudden, you’ll be served with a new set of parents to please, and a never-ending roster of relatives, as a side. You will become the most beloved new chachi, mami, bhabhi etc. of young people who freak you out with their corniness, but all you can do is smile and kiss their cheeks.