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Locker room talk. Think Indian women are not capable of it? Just talk to women at Indian weddings, and you’ll find out they sure are!
It is the wedding season. And for those who love dressing up and grooving/jiving/hiving, whatever the term is nowadays, the season brings more pain than pleasure.
I spoke to a few young women, married and single, about what this time of the year means to them when their Facebook newsfeed is flooded with engagement, wedding announcements and pre-wedding shoots, apart from the occasional invites thrown in. This is what they had to say.
“Wedding tamasha is a major hoopla. During my wedding, I was so busy smiling as though a hanger was stuck in my mouth, that I don’t remember any part of it. It went by like a haze. I remember a lot of colour and people. I remember feeling starved and dehydrated, because you can’t eat and drink as you please. You wouldn’t want to be caught drinking a soft drink, with the camera man in your face, capturing every move which is then projected on the big screen, for unabashed giggles from all the guests. All the while you see people milling around the snack guys and the buffet area. Ah envy!”
“With each year my patience runs thin regarding weddings, showing up as the one remaining single friend, while almost all others show up with spouses, fiancés or committed partners. It’s enough to make you wonder that perhaps people get married so they have someone to talk to when they attend a wedding. There is someone to click your pictures and selfies, to hold your seat when you get up to serve yourself from the buffet dinner, the perks sure are immense.
I recently attended a friend’s wedding for 30 minutes and quickly left the place, as my only aim was to wish them well and not hang around all night and engage in pointless conversations with friends who were anyway too busy clicking themselves. Much to my chagrin, I needed to get dolled up, just for that half hour attendance.”
“Inevitable questions that every single girl is asked – When would you be getting married? Are you not interested to marry? Is it all about your career? To which my answer is F**K you. What is it with our conditioning as a society, and more so the women who have become so used to hearing such statements all their life, that they feel it is absolutely permissible to question others like me? Why do we not realize that these questions are personal? How do you know what am going through when you try to pervade into my mental and emotional space?
Perhaps I want to get married, but it’s not panned out well so far with the search, and results being dreary and dismal! Maybe the man I am seeing does not want to get married yet. May be the man has pre-requisites to marry me, which makes me wonder if he thinks that I am not good enough to marry him, unless I match his conditions! I may feel that the relationship am in may not have the future I hope from it. My career automatically becomes dinner table conversation. Perhaps I am too independent and set in my ways. Which of course questions my ability towards motherhood doesn’t it?”
“It is my take on having kids. Why would you choose to ask me that at another person’s wedding? A friend of mine was asked recently whether she was thinking along the family way and I could almost hear her cringe. She wants to be a mother and start a family but due to physiological reasons has made numerous trips to the fertility clinic and is in a constant whirlwind of emotions during those days. Being told by ‘knowledgeable’ aunty jis to hurry up and have a kid before she is old made her hit the open bar again, perhaps with the intent of poisoning aunty ji’s beverage, I am guessing.”
“How do you know what goes on in someone’s life or behind closed doors of the home? These are personal choices in life. Choices that evoke innumerable questions and doubt and even hope. As a single unmarried woman I am told that my biological clock is ticking and would soon give up. I think that’s my patience that you hear ticking before I yell my head off at you, not my ‘baby alarm’. That’s on snooze mode as I intend it to be.”
“To be single and mingling with male friends at the function automatically means I have no traditional values. Sure, I may be in a sari and looking as womanly as possible, but the fact that I don’t have a husband hanging on to my arm while I laugh with the boys means my choices in life are questionable. Why not reward me on not making hasty decisions and screwing up my life with the wrong man? Who cares how logical and rational I may be in these choices if I don’t have a husband to prove my worth!
Chatting with male friends as the desolate single woman means I like men and being around them and even dating them but not enough to be married. A single woman with male friends is bearing the scarlet letter as she shows her modern self to an extent where traditionalism holds no space. Really? What is modern in being accepting and interacting with both genders? Aren’t we humans and individuals before the line of gender pervades into societal sphere? Talking to boys does not mean I am too free spirited to get married.”
It’s not enough that as women we are questioned about our personal lives daily, but in social events things become far worse. Married or not, our stance on dating, need for children – we are required to explain or justify our choices every single time to society, or dare I say the people who make this society. And a large part of these inquisitions come from women itself. Never have I heard a man being asked to hurry up and have babies before time runs out. They do face personal interrogation, but am yet to hear a conversation between 2 men at a social gathering on this. We know these conversations take place at such events but choose not to consider them as a ‘big deal’. Perhaps we too have become programmed to face such inquisitiveness.
As Socrates said – “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
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Image source: flickr