The girl-next-door in Nagpur has her own password for the ATM card, signs her cheques and even buys her own car. The 30-something single woman is storming small-town India.
Account director with an advertising agency Nivedita Pendharkar works hard and parties harder. “Suddenly with so many single women around, we seem to have unwittingly grouped ourselves only to realise that it is very comfortable. You do not have to guard a loose belly, a bald patch or a bad hair day when it is all girls,” says the 36-year-old.
“As a group it is easy to go out at night, order drinks, dance at discotheques - all unimaginable just few years back. Parents also seem to take comfort in these numbers. There is no curfew on night hours. My sister, seven years older, wanted to do this but could not then.”
Khursheed Dalal, an educationist who is also an amateur actress, perhaps, rightly observes that to exercise your will you have to be economically independent. “Economic independence automatically brings emotional independence.”
For this independence, women have progressed from banker, teacher and doctor jobs to tapping opportunities in advertising and hospitality industries, working in marketing and supervisory posts, selling insurance and housing loans, writing advertisement copy or editing in newspapers.
With the independence comes freedom of choice, and they are making some unconventional ones.
“I have a man in my life, I would love to live-in, but the town is still not ready for this. So we spend most of the time together but maintain separate establishments. The society then pretends to turn a blind eye,” says Kanishka (name changed), a 39-year-old beautician.
Purva, a media professional, who just crossed 40, married someone nine years younger.
“I could essentially do it because I was independent. Being a great romantic at heart, I knew there had to be love and romance before marriage. I was single and happy for long because I knew I would not settle for someone who is B or C grade in my affections. When I felt I had really found the person, I did it.”