When Your Career Choice Means Random People Ask You ‘How Will You Get A Good Match?’

It is a given that women, even if working, have to take care of domestic responsibilities in addition to their paid job while for men, such tasks are conveniently taken care of by their wives.

Work, work, and more work. Work defines my life.

If there’s one axis around which my life revolves, it has to be my job. I have been working from a young age and have been working in my current job for the last twelve years.

My job as a State Service officer involves frequent transfers along with a lot of travel. In the last twelve years, I had four postings across four different districts. Some of these postings have been to places too far away from my home to commute daily.

An un-suitable bride

While men working in similar positions had quite a demand in the marriage market, I often came across the comment that women with such job profiles “won’t get a good match” or that they are “unsuitable for domestic life”.

It is a given that women, even if working, have to take care of domestic responsibilities in addition to their paid job while for men, such tasks are conveniently taken care of by their wives. So while men with well-paid government jobs have the luxury to choose their partners from a bevy of prospective brides, women are mostly deprived of such kind of privilege.

I realised this hard truth when my parents began searching for a suitable groom for me more than a decade back.

A supposedly ‘progressive’ man

Then I met my ex-husband.

He seemed quite a progressive man who was of the opinion that like men, every woman should also work, earn and focus on her career. He also held that child-rearing was not solely a woman’s responsibility. And if due to the demanding nature of her job, his wife was unable to do it single-handedly, he would happily shoulder the responsibilities of parenting.

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I was happy to get married to such a liberal man. But it didn’t take me long to figure out that beneath the façade of all his progressiveness, was an orthodox, insecured man who didn’t know how to deal with his wife on equal terms.

By the time I got married, I had already been accustomed to living independently, thanks to my far-away postings. Add to that, I had an independent streak in me. I don’t know whether this is an inborn trait or something I developed due to the choice of my career. But I always found any sort of forced compromises difficult to make. For me, the utmost priority was always my own mental peace and happiness. And it was only after my marriage that I realised that the frequent transfers to far-away places were actually a blessing in disguise. At least, it made me stay away from pesky in-laws for most of the time.

Then the inevitable happened

A marriage where staying together under one roof seemed more like a punishment than a blessing, can’t last long. Mine, too, crumbled too soon. And, with a start, I realised that I actually felt free once I was single again.

To me, a demanding job which requires a lot of travel is a bliss. If people think that this would lead to neglecting family responsibilities or dearth of good matches, who cares?

In retrospect, I have serious doubts whether this “lack of good matches” is a good thing or bad. In a society where women are mostly confined to a life of domesticity out of compulsion and their freedoms curtailed considerably, a demanding job can prove to be the only way to gain freedom.

Image source: a still from the series Made in Heaven

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About the Author

Swagata Tarafdar

An engineer by education, I am a civil servant by profession. A doting mother. An avid reader. I try my hand at writing as and when ideas tussle inside my head. read more...

41 Posts | 173,675 Views

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