Last Sunday, I didn’t get my favourite paper to begin the day with. In India, newspaper reading habits are peculiar. You grow up reading a newspaper that your family subscribes to. The look and feel of the paper that you had been reading all your adolescent years become an inseparable part of your life.
And when you don’t get that newspaper, you feel weird. To put it more explicitly — if I don’t get my daily newspaper, pressure nahi aata. Need I elaborate? I am obviously talking about the porcelain throne where most of us sit and read the newspaper.
Now coming back to where I was. Since I didn’t get my regular newspaper, I logged on to avail myself of the next best option — the e-paper. There I saw the Brunch (an essential read for me) cover — ‘Being Single’ — and couldn’t resist going through the entire feature.
But hey, designer Ravi Bajaj’s bold statement, “The only single people (men) in Delhi are gay. There are no single men in Delhi”, came as a jolt to me. How could Mr Bajaj make such a sweeping statement? I and many more like me are single and straight like a lamp-post. In fact, I would contest that gay men are the least single men.
Ravi’s statement forced an unpleasant insecurity that kept prodding: “Am I the unfortunate one to be left alone single in the city?”
Believe me, I am single and happy and rarely felt incomplete or inferior in any way. Yeah, I agree there are those damned things like ‘no stag entry’ coming in the way, but I manage to sail through such petty hurdles with ease. Only places where being single and unaccompanied hassles me are at the cinemas and at restaurants. In fact, I haven’t seen a movie in a theatre for years now.
To organise friends and go for a movie is too much of an effort for me. I gave up going for movies alone once when the ‘torch-guy’ who guides us to the seats flashed his Eveready on me and said, “
Aap akele ho
? Please shift behind as this couple wants to sit together.” Man, that was embarrassing. The entire auditorium wanted to have a look at this guy who came alone to watch a movie. What the hell! At least I’m here to watch the movie than play footsie in the two corner seats, which are desi Romeos’ favourite.
Restaurants, too, are not very single-friendly these days. Typical holiday destinations aren’t bad for a lone holidayer but the big cities are hell. In Mumbai, I went out of the hotel for a shave and on the way back thought of having lunch at a fancy eatery. When I walked in, an overzealous waiter greeted me and was shocked to hear, “Table for one.” He scouted around and took me to the corner table as if to hide me from the view of the other patrons there. The guy who took the order also kept insisting that the portions are enough for two.
I personally was at ease but seeing the rest of them so uneasy, I, too, felt weird. But besides these occasional hazards, single life is great. When I draw parallels between the life of a single guy and that of a married one, I feel privileged. Almost every day, I meet some harried married guy who wishes he were in my shoes!
Mr Bajaj, you aren’t totally right in saying that the only single men in Delhi are gay. Like you and me, there are many, many more who love being single!