After an amazingly positive response to an earlier post on this topic and continuing issues at the personal level I feel it’s time that I take a stab at this beast again. At the very outset I wish to clarify that there are people who manage to fall in Cupid’s good books and this post is definitely not meant for them. There is nothing more beautiful than finding the Right person for yourself to grow up and grow old with. But treasure hunt is still on for a lot of people!
Issues of “You will be left alone”,emotional drama by the heaps from family and the like have been dealt with in This Thing Called Marriage-I and will not be touched here. The scope of this topic is so vast that I don’t have the luxury of being repetitive. So without any further ado here are some more of the dialogues and traps singles have to face.
“Why aren’t you considering him/her?”
Blessed are thou if you haven’t faced the issue of telling your family about an outing with someone you have a platonic relationship with (and wish to keep it that way) and have not heard a “But why don’t you consider him/her? You guys have known each other for so long.” Yes. We have known each other for really long. May be that is precisely why we never thought of dating each other. Chances are we would have broken up by now and wouldn’t want to see each other’s face. In their desperation elders seem to have forgotten that some relationships are so beautiful and perfect the way they are that we want it to be like that forever. We don’t want to take it to any other level. Period.
“Why can’t you just meet this person?”
While it looks like a benign request, it’s a trap. If you think: “Yeah fine, I can definitely meet a person. No harm. Besides if I don’t like him/her I can just convey that to the next-in-command (generally mothers).” Your family is no Tinder. Ask yourself. After meeting a person just once what profound ground can you come up with for not liking that person? Since you guys have met just once you really can’t come up with a very well-defined objective reason to say no. It has to be a vague “we couldn’t connect” or “sense of humor is beyond me” or “came across as a male chauvinistic pig/feminist bitch” or some such colorful reason because it’s just one encounter. Now that one word connect doesn’t belong to the dictionary of parents. Tell them that and the counter questions just won’t stop. “What do you mean by connect? Stop being so stupid. Humor?…” That is why I call it a trap. You don’t have anything against the person you just met but somehow you don’t want to spend your life with that person as your spouse. If you try to be a moral human being here and reply with “Seems fine but…”, let me assure you nobody is going to listen to you beyond the first two words. Before you would even realize it you would be engaged to be married (has just happened to a friend). So you have to be nasty and start with the issues.
I call it a Trap because when parents say “go and meet”, what they really mean is: from all the applicants we have shortlisted this one for you and now you better find reasons to like him/her. Saying the N word would lead to lots of questions (pretty nasty ones asking you about your expectations and life goals!). There might also be threats in store. “If you keep being so snooty one day…”. One day what? Trump might become president of the US?! This “one day” that will come when it has to come has ruined so many hopes and dreams that I shall never ever invoke this “one day” clause to win an argument.
“You are not interested in finding a partner for yourself and you don’t like the ones we find. How is it going to work?”
Exactly my point. It is not going to work. Since I have not as yet found my banyan tree (read career) under which enlightenment would occur, let me fix that. I can’t waste precious time finding the right partner. If the partner is right then would come along as so many others do. The difference would be that unlike the others this person would stay. So simple. As for not liking the ones parents find for us. Well let’s just say there was a crack that opened up when we moved to college and now we are on different planets altogether. I really doubt my parents even know my real likes and dislikes. Well actually they don’t. Who they think I am is a figment of their imagination, based on empirical data that has lost its relevance.
“We are liberal enough to be okay with love marriage, inter caste/community….and yet….”
Let’s get facts right. You guys are desperate. It’s not called being liberal. Since all my friends are getting this liberal argument I am reminded of all those experimental studies where invariably more than 50% of the respondents in a survey answer that they are above average (on the parameter under study-be it intelligence, height, weight, etc). So every parent of a 20 something feeling that they are more liberal than the neighbor parent stop putting on that farce. One, you guys don’t have a choice. Two, try inter-religion to check for “liberal”.
“At this rate where do you see yourself headed in the future?”
This reminds me of all those job interviews where they ask you “Where do you see yourself ten years from now?” and you feel like saying one thing but end up saying another (all depending on your creativity). But of course, this is family and you would think that being honest would be the strictly dominant best response, but think again. This isn’t the age of reason and Thomas Paine is long dead. So if you make an earnest attempt like”In the future I see myself playing ball with my pet alsatian…” which might or might not involve a significant other, it is going to get you nowhere. What took sometime to figure out was that this was a rhetorical question meant as a threat to frighten you with the prospect of a lonely and desolate future, trying to make you seek solace in companionship (read marriage).
“We have fulfilled all our worldly responsibilities. You are the only responsibility on our head.”
Excuse me? I understand that as parents they are concerned. But I don’t think they realize that this one actually hurts. It takes a Wodehouse-ian approach towards life to deal with this. Beti bachao. Beti padhao. All good till here. How does this get followed by Beti ab jao?
We are all figuring out our lives in the most rational way possible, given the circumstances we find ourselves in. We are nobody’s responsibility. They have made us capable human beings and done an exceptional job at that. They should live comfortably with this realisation. But no. We can’t have a nice life till we have married all our kids, forced them to have kids, played with those innocent, already branded-as-engineer grand-kids; in short interfered in all those decisions the repercussions of which we didn’t have to bear.
There are moments where I think of giving-in to all the hullabaloo and getting hitched to the next guy who pops up on the radar and get done with it. But then thanks to Facebook feeds graduating from ring ceremonies and marriages/honeymoon to pregnancy photoshoots, the reality of making decisions and facing their consequences strikes and a complacent “Let’s just fight this battle for now” is all that comes out of me.