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Is following the traditional social rules the only way to a happy life? A modern Indian woman does not need to.
As civilisations evolved and societies came into being, there were various norms that were set in place for human beings to flourish. One of these custom was for young men and women to marry and produce children. As per historical data, individuals chose to follow this rule to ensure that human civilisation would grow.
But over the time, the necessity for the same has disappeared. Yet I have seen time and again how our society feels that marriage and kids is the best and only option for all individuals across class, caste, creed and orientation. It is somehow believed to be the solution of all problems.
I have many friends well in their 30s who have successful careers, loving families, great friends, interesting hobbies and overall a happy life. They do not feel the need for a partner and would not like to make the huge shift in their lifestyle to fit marriage in it. They do not care about the hushed whispers behind their backs or the barbed comments about their suitability as a desired bahu. They are contented and busy fulfilling the promises they have made to themselves.
There is yet another set of young couples who are busy climbing the corporate ladders. These are the ambitious men and women who are working hard to achieve professional success. Yet again, they are not ready to make a huge transition in their lives to accommodate children. They have willingly taken the decision to be childless for their own reason.
I think it’s great that men and women are taking decisions to move ahead in their lives by not following any set rules and regulations. I also thought that those who condemn this independent streak would be old fashioned people.
However I was in for a rude shock. I was a part of a big multinational firm at one point of time. One day around the coffee machine, I overheard a senior executive discussing the prospects of a candidate who had come in for an interview. He was impressed with her skills and experience yet reluctant to take her. His reason was that she was in her thirties and may very soon want to take a long leave for marriage.
Unable to contain myself, I butted in and asked if he had questioned her on that aspect. His response was that the candidate claimed not to be interested in marriage but how is that possible? Of course she will get married. I was flabbergasted at this illogical reasoning. The candidate had clearly said she was not interested in marriage! Luckily he was overruled by his saner boss and the girl got the job.
Another friend who has opted to not have kids is constantly questioned by her overzealous and gossipy colleagues about when she plans to give them the good news. It never bothered her till her lady boss decided to call her in for a heart to heart. She proceeded to tell her how she knew a fertility expert who could help her. My friend was aghast. She tried explaining that she did not want to have a kid, which her boss mistook as embarrassment to admit her situation and insisted on giving her the expert’s card.
Why is it that we feel that each and every individual must adhere to conventional way of living and follow a standard set of rules? Why is any deviation from the traditional frowned upon and thought of as wrong?
I feel that it’s much better to stay single than to end up marrying the wrong person and hence spoiling your own as well as someone else’s life. Similarly it makes no sense to have kids only because it is expected of you and then not give him or her the unconditional love they deserve.
I think it’s time we learned to accept and appreciate that there are alternative ways of living life and there are no set rules for happiness.
Image source: modern Indian woman by Shutterstock.
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