I am a 30 year old unmarried Indian Woman and I enjoy writing as a hobby, however I am too shy to show my work to everyone because I am afraid that even though I am clandestinely proud of what I write, I may not be good enough for the world to praise. But to my utter astonishment, my mother absolutely loved my latest piece – Another Cinderella story. She read it on my blog and was super impressed by it (But in no offence, she teaches kindergarten and her English is as good as ABC). As soon as she finished reading the article, she spent the entire day calling magazines to find out where she could publish it. To be honest, I was secretly swelling with pride but managed to find my feet on the ground and appear half amused. With a wide grin on my face, I turned to her and said “Mom, you are absolutely adorable but seriously I have a long way to go before I can even start getting noticed”. She looked at me and said “Nonsense beta! Imagine the number of marriage proposals we will get for you from rich families once they see your name in newspapers and magazines”. I sighed. It all comes down to that one word – with a capital D – Doom. Did I say D? I meant M – A big fat M that points the cupid arrow straight through the hole in the number zero of my age.
For Indian parents, it starts and ends at the big three zero. Women at thirty in our culture don’t stay unmarried for so long, because it inevitably brings about the question – What is wrong with her? Nothing. Absolutely nothing is wrong with her. She is beautiful and talented. She has a professional career and she has her heart in the right place. But they persist – something must be wrong with her. Because why isn’t she MARRIED YET?!
Could it have occurred to them that perhaps the same woman is now choosy about her groom? She is taking her time to pick the right man. Perhaps 30 years of her life’s experience has taught her that maturity comes with learning to be patient and not to rush into things. But nope, all they wonder is, how could she have rejected the proposal of a well settled boy in Seattle from Microsoft who makes $120,000 a year (after taxes mind you and not including bonuses). When said to them, “but mom we just don’t click!” she responds, “Hain?! Click! What do you mean by click?, he will keep you in a nice big house with perhaps a spare bedroom for us when we visit!”
My mum always says “Pyaar Ho jaayega” (Love will happen) as opposed to you will fall in love. I rather like it when she says that actually, I mean, nobody really wants to use the word ‘fall’ in Love do they? Let’s just make it happen shall we. But nevertheless, the arguments continue and the various boys come and go. Someone is too tall (6’3!), someone is too boring; someone doesn’t want to have kids (seriously man! The alarm on the biological clock is the number one reason women want to get married). Of course, after all the rejections, my parents come up with one conclusion – “Dear Lord, there is some external force blocking the mind of our daughter and this is a fate we simply cannot afford to accept”. Fate rather Destiny is an excuse made up for when we have no other explanations for the things not going our way in our life. Similarly, my parents cannot understand that I am simply being picky about spending the rest of my life with someone but instead they resort to cursing the pseudosciences such as astrology, numerology and the time of my birth for such hindrances. But what is the one thing you know about Indian parents on a mission to get their daughter married? Yes, that’s right. They never give up.
The next day, I enter my house exhausted from work and I notice that my living room has turned upside down. My mother, making samosas in the kitchen calls out “ Beta don’t worry, I have moved the shoe rack to the balcony.” Say what?! “Oh it’s just that we called this astrologer home and he said we mustn’t keep the shoe rack near the entrance for it obstructs good things to enter the door”. I flared back at her and said “Do you mean it obstructs the rich sindhi families with eligible sons from entering our house?” She chimes back in, “Now, you mustn’t make fun, do not forget this astrologer has been in our family for years and he is the reason why your cousin Renu got married last year in the first place”. That was It.! Last straw, to be compared to my poor cousin Renu whose sole purpose in life was just to find a suitable boy and who never managed to achieve anything else with her life but the art of cooking to keep her in-laws happy and who with after a much rather long job hunt sorry groom hunt landed up marrying a guy based in Chicago only after her father promised him a large sum in dowry.! I sat my mother down and decided to speak from my heart “Mom, this has got to stop, why are you so worried?” She replied plainly “I just don’t want you to land up alone”. I blinked. I understood now. She was just scared for me that’s all. I looked at her calmly and replied “Mum, look at me. I am not scared because I know everything will be just fine. Just learn to have faith and stop doing these silly things please, you are making my life miserable.” She hid a tear, gave me a hug and whispered in my ear “you’re right, I am so sorry. He will find you when the time is right, I know he will”. I smiled with a sense of achievement and walked towards my room just to hear her call out “But beta before you sleep could you please send me some good pictures of yourself because Yogesh uncle needs to send them to a suitable boy he has found for you in London”.
Oh well. What did I say? They just never give up.