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Single people in India are still looked upon as some kind of strange species that needs to be scrutinised and asked weird questions. Here is a handy list of things NOT to do when you meet a single friend.
Singlehood has been a taboo in our country till now; even today, singles are struggling hard to make society understand that “Singlehood is not a status but a word that describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others”.
While times are changing and people’s perceptions are gradually moving from being judgmental to being ‘ok’ with this status, the struggle of many single people in India are not only about hearing the provocative, non-empathetic, disparaging remarks of others; it’s also about dealing with the odd behaviour of those who were supposed to be their near and dear ones.
I wouldn’t say that women are the only targeted victims of this status – in fact, men also go through the same discrimination.
As time keeps on slipping out of their (singles’) hands, fears, imagination, assumptions and judgements starts playing a major role in the lives of those who have got the laddoo of marriage in their lives and eaten it too. Those privileged people having eaten the laddoo suddenly get the right to make singles a source of gossip, entertainment, fears and uncertainty. It is as though marriage being a result of their hard work and ‘tapasya’ (penance), they now get the right to ridicule single people by their insensitive comments or behaviour.
Here are 5 experiences which I am sure all single people in India have had – either heard or inferred from the nuances of such behaviours.
(Poor thing – s/he will be bored amidst so many couples)
How does the host knows that the party they have thrown would be a blast for everyone else but not for the singles? Don’t you think that the status those singles are carrying day in and day out must have made them bold enough to take a decision whether to attend your party or not? Leave the decision to them. Try and make them party to all the happy times of your life. And of course they may be at their best at your parties, even who would add spice and laughter to it – so don’t ignore them.
This is a very invisible, unsaid yet very obvious change when singles see/feel their friends behaving very strangely and not letting them mingle with their spouse and kids on several occasions. It is as if the singles have turned into predators and would leave no chance to harm their spouses and the kids just to fulfil their void. To all those fickle minded friends, those singles are just waiting for their right time to come. They have no interest in your spouses or kids. Meanwhile, keep a check on your spouse’s interest please.
(Everything is okay with you, right? What do you really want?)
A very weird question which is repeatedly asked to any of the singles is “Tere saath sab theek hai na?” This statement can have so many interpretations that the poor single person has no idea what clarification he/she is supposed to give to calm down the questioner’s hassled brain. “Tujhe chahiye kya?”is one violent remark which makes us wonder what calculations one does to arrive at a final decision on an alliance which is supposed to be built on trust and love between the two.
This is one peculiar statement which comes the way of each person single when their managers ask them on their yearly appraisal, “Tumhe paise ki aur promotion ki kya jaroorat hai.. responsibilities hi kitni hai tumhari!” (Why do you need money/promotion? You don’t have any responsibilities!) This statement makes us wonder if performance and appraisal is generally based on marital status. Is marriage the only source of responsibilities in one’s life? Managers – you need to mind it that this is harassment and can lead to serious consequences. Better keep your calculations about family responsibilities of your colleagues to yourself and in fact, why not keep a tab on how you are going to manage yours?
(Your luck is made!)
Another statement which single people hear very often is “tumhari aish hai yaar!” I am sure this remark generally comes from those who are burdened with all the marital responsibilities. Even if they make merry with their marital status, they say it just as an attempt to sprinkle a little salt on the single person’s wounds. The singles at this very stage should respond with a smirk saying “kismet hai apni apni” (Each to her own luck!). I am sure this statement will block their mouths for ever because this salt which they tried to sprinkle has been blown back to their wounds which burn even more badly.
Besides these, there are many more statements and behaviour changes which one faces. I really wonder that why it should be so mainly for single people in India, whereas in Western countries, many people choose to start their married lives after age 35-40. Is marriage all about just having a person of the opposite gender by your side and then having children or it is more about companionship and having a good quality of life together?
It’s all about time and one should respect everybody’s time, pace and situations. We need to stop enjoying ourselves at the cost of anybody else’s lives.
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