|By Rashmi Diana, India [ Published Date: October 8, 2004 ]|
The existence of a quintessential Indian woman is qualified by two titles: Mrs. Xyz or Sr. Xyz. As young girls we grow up with two options presented to us: "get married or join the Convent". From the outside it may seem as though the scenario now has largely changed or is changing. But look deep inside and you will see that it has not changed after all. Most of the people who get to read this may not want to agree with me but take it from someone who is living through this nightmare; it absolutely destroys one from inside. Your dreams are shattered, your values take a beating and you live through life like a zombie.
I proudly say that I belong to this progressive family, my parents never really limited me within boundaries. I did Karate, I did swimming, I played cricket with boys, did a little bit of dance and music, you name it and I did it and with full support from my parents. But when I came of age the only thing that was left on their mind was: "Well, when do we get her married?". It never really mattered if I was really interested in marriage. My pictures were sent across the length and breadth of the state and someone always came up with something. I had to leave all my work and traverse the state and go and make myself available to the groom that COULD BE.
Every time one such occasion came I not only had to finish two days work in a matter of hours so that I could take leave from work for the next two days but also had to make sure I looked presentable; I had the perfect outfit, wore my hair in a way that would not make me look older than I actually was and wonder if he is going to like me this time. With all this playing on my mind I eventually ended up looking like a stale tart when the time came to meet the MAN.
Initially I went through it mechanically, I didnít associate any feeling with it. One rejected me because I did not look the way he wanted me to, the other did not think I was qualified enough for him and another just becauseÖ. That's it?
I attribute that resolution of mine to my deep-rooted faith in the Lord. He knows in what measures to give each one and when..
Well, I gathered up enough courage to ask one esteemed gentleman why he rejected me after seeing me in person, why not reject me right away when he saw the picture (he obviously had rejected me because of my looks or the lack of it) and he had to tell me: "Well I just thought let me call her and see anyway, I could always reject her if I happened to not like her" and then he asked me "Isn't that why I was given a chance to meet you?". At that moment I felt small, so small that an ant may as well have looked like a mountain had I looked up. I quietly got up, wiped the hurt and went away. I mean there was no reason for me to speak. I would have had I expected better.
Did I ask my parents to stop displaying me? No. Why? To lessen my parents worry. Ironically, they worried not because I had not found a partner; they worried for the society who kept bombarding them with "so, is your daughter married yet? Why not?"
I am neck deep in my twenties and I personally donít find the NEED to find a partner so that he can qualify my existence. I am making the best of my life. I could even be happy if only my parents (only parents I donít care about the society, after all I have done nothing wrong by not marrying) did not harass me asking me to get a picture clicked by a professional who could make me look like the angle from up above, every morning when I was leaving for office and every evening as I came back.
As if I was facing less problems at home, people would generally come up to me and ask: "Why aren't you married still? Planning to join the Convent?". Why should I join the Convent? To show my love to the Lord? I have enough of that in my heart, my love for HIM will neither escalate because I join the Convent nor diminish because I did not. Joining convent takes a lot of resilience, sacrifice, abstinence and single-minded dedication. Only such pious souls can sustain in a Convent. I am not as great a human being as they are but that should not and will not disqualify my right to BE.
After all that is happening, I am left with a pint sized self esteem. People obviously notice it and ask me why. Why? FEEL my story and figure it out for yourself.
Finally when I could take it no more I put my hands on my hip and said: "well, you know what? thatís it, I am not going to display me anymore. I am going to find someone for myself and I donít care how long it takes." I attribute that resolution of mine to my deep-rooted faith in the Lord. He knows in what measures to give each one and when.
I am amazed at people's undiminishing fetish to get a girl married, despite knowing that it's not always bed of roses, thereís a lot of hurt associated with it too. They see the cookies crumbling under their overzealous noses and to top it all these are the very same people to talk trash when its time for trouble in paradise.
Yet, every girls life goes through four stages: First: I have a father therefore I am, next: I have a husband therefore I am, after that: I have a son therefore I am and finally: I have a grandson therefore I am. THIS dear sisters is not our life. Marriage is not the be all and end all of our lives. There is more to it: God made us all with a purpose; he is happy only when we find out what it is and achieve it. Instead we find ourselves running behind these trivial needs which God would give us anyway as an answer to our prayers but in good time.
I am not yet married and I am not regretting it one bit because I know God has plans for me. It will all happen when it has to and IF it has to. All I am saying is let us not make the institution of marriage or the convent our only shelter. Let us not groom ourselves for a man to treat us like lifeless articles (I am not a male basher, but what is is). Let us think outside the box and give a little happiness for ourselves. In the mean time one should also not let go of an exceptional man in the otherwise nerd crowd. Now that my sisters, would infact be your proverbial 'Price Catch'.
All those who agree say "Ayi"!