A Calmer You, by Sonal Kalra: Under pressure to get married?
Last week, Lulu Jemimha, a 32-year-old Oxford graduate from Uganda had her big, fancy wedding ceremony. She married herself, to get the parental pressure off her back. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It seems surreal that we are in 2018 but parents or relatives have still not stopped putting pressure on young men and women to get married – at the ‘right’ age.
One thing that has nicely and conveniently changed though for middle class urban households is the freedom accorded to ‘fall in love’ — a la Jaa Simran, jee le apni zindagi. But if poor Simran isn’t able to find love, she has to agree to sitting with parents every weekend to sift suitable rishtas on matrimonial websites. Because the right age must not pass, you see. Otherwise both will be difficult to find — rishtas, and well, love.
Kya stress hai, by God. I toh anyway firmly come from the shaadi is barbaadi public school but now, talking to younger cousins and colleagues, I have come to the conclusion that the only thing worse than getting married is getting married for wrong reasons, under pressure. The thought made me revisit what I had written in this column some time back on this subject. Since the stress remains the same, the advice remains the same, too. And it might be more pertinent now because the wedding season is upon us. Jaise hi best friend ki shaadi hui, the pressure of your own shaadi multiplies by a million in your head, right?
This mail from a 24-year-old girl from Indore cleared my doubts. ‘We are a group of four close friends. All the three, apart from me, have either got married or engaged. Mom does nothing else these days but remind me that good rishtey won’t come if it gets too late. My parents are broad minded enough and asked me if I like someone. Now, there is a guy in office who I somewhat like. I’m not 100% sure if he’s perfect for me but he’ll be better than someone totally unknown. Shall I quickly do friendship with him?’
Well, I don’t know, girl from Indore. Seems like we are deciding on buying a dress or something. Anyway, it’s easier for me to give you gyaan than for you to go through this stress daily. Gyaan is all I have right now and it may just make sense to you. Please remember...
1. People don’t want to be with a desperate drama case: The more hurry you are in to get out of the ‘single’ status, the more you’ll ward off the right kind of people. Because whatever said and done, desperation shows. Coming on too strongly can intimidate, scare or simply put people off. And frankly, why should someone else make such an important decision in a hurry only because there’s pressure at your home to get married? It’s a question of their life, too, equally. Isn’t it? Don’t put someone else’s — and your own future happiness at stake out of sheer desperation. All that a good decision ever wants in life, is time and thought. Give it both.
2. It’s too old-fashioned to think you are too old: There used to be a time some decades back when marriage would start to get discussed at home when a girl or guy would turn 20. Elderly women, with a grim expression, would also declare from time to time that ‘the family must be complete by 30 years of age,’ whatever that meant. Now, that mindset has thankfully gone from at least the educated middle class, and so should the stress. Of course there practically exists the concept of an ideal age to settle down, both from a biological view point and otherwise, but that notion of an ideal age can no longer be a sword hanging on a person’s head. If the choice is between marrying the right person and marrying at the ‘right’ age, and you go for the latter to gain short-term peace of mind, let me slap you right now. Because life will, later.
3. Single doesn’t always mean sad, just as relationship doesn’t always mean happy: Kisi married bande se jaakar poochho, you’ll get the right gyaan about what rushing into commitment does to peoples’ sanity. But then you won’t understand it because all you can see around you when you are single is happy couples. Just remember that when they are done flaunting their ‘committed’ status, all they see around them are happy singles. That’s the irony of human mind. Your happiness, whether you have a Mrs or Miss in front of your name, will only come from your own thoughts. If you’ve consciously chosen to be happy, the presence or absence of a girlfriend or boyfriend can only add value to it. It can’t be the basis of it. It just doesn’t work that way.
4. It’s your life...not theirs. One wrong choice and you’ll be stuck, not them: When I say ‘them’, I mean everyone, right from relatives to friends to even those who have proposed to you and waiting for you to say yes. None of them can, or should, influence your decision to get married. The voice, about the right time and the right person, has to come from within you. Whether it is getting into a hurried relationship to avoid an arranged marriage, or saying yes to an arranged match only because all your friends have settled down, it’s finally your life that’s going to suffer. And your partner’s, too. No relative will then own up to the responsibility of pushing you into an unhappy state. And even if they did, it wouldn’t change a thing. Take your time before you take the plunge. Even if it means taking forever. Staying single is not the end of life. It’s just another way of living a beautiful life, if you are at peace, and in love with yourself. Anyway, whether you are married, unmarried, committed or single, there’ll always be some people who’ll envy you, and some who’ll thank God they are not in your place. That’s just how it is.
Sonal Kalra may have given anti-marriage gyaan but she secretly loves the concept of getting married to self in a big ceremony. Rishtedaar shagun toh denge hi, whatsay? Mail your thoughts at email@example.com or facebook.com/sonalkalraofficial. Follow on Twitter @sonalkalra