Wedding pressures to Metro experiences: Four women talk their hearts out
We talked about what it is like to be single or in a relationship, the pressure from families on getting married, and also stories from the Metro because all of us are from Delhi and Metro is an integral part of our lives.sex and relationships Updated: Mar 08, 2016 13:27 IST
This may seem like a definite first world problem to so many of you but it isn’t. Being a woman in a big, bad city is hard and testing, and more so if you are in you 20s. Today is International Women’s Day and if you are still asking why we do not have an international men’s day, well isn’t that day every day?
Don’t get us wrong. We are not saying that men do not bear with the troubles of the world at all. They do have their own set of problems but on this day, we talk about the experiences of the other gender.
Hindustan Times got talking to three women on Tuesday and we shared tales of sorrow and songs of victory from our short little lives. We talked about what it is like to be single or in a relationship, the pressure from families on getting married, and also stories from the Metro because all of us are from Delhi and Metro is an integral part of our lives.
‘When can we hear the wedding bells ring?’
Nishtha: My dad is pretty chill about it. He says I can get married whenever I want but before I turn 30. But my relatives have been a little less chill. Also, my mom gets scandalised about me waiting until 30...you know...fertility issues and all.
Viddhi: I think there is a lot of pressure on girls in India to get married. In more liberal societies, marriages could happen even when you are 40, 50 or 60, because people lead a relatively independent life. In India people live in families so you have to fulfil their expectations. There are also very legitimate fears of being alone. There are numerous factors governing these pressures which may not be regressive but merely a result of the way things are here.
Sugandha: There isn’t much family pressure from my family. It is more from my relatives because they think that a girl should get married at a certain age. I think someone can get married at 20 if they are ready and some at 30 or 40. When a person feels he has it in them to really commit to someone, that’s when one should get married.
Me: Thankfully, I am still too young for my parents to start chasing after me with a ‘shaadi ka joda’ and photos of prospective grooms, but the threat is looming. My cousin is of the ‘marriagable age’ and the kind of choices she has to make are just ... too scary. She is expected to marry a guy based on his photo and biodata on Shaadi.com? When I say ‘Nope. Don’t expect me to do the same’, I usually get the ‘Rehenedo chalo’ from my parents. I wonder if they think I am joking about this.
Life in the Metro
Nishtha: This doesn’t have much to do with being a woman but this happened in the women’s coach. A guy in crazy tight yellow T-shirt with printed shorts and a funny headband ran into the women’s compartment. He started jumping like an idiot and said ‘ye karke dikhao’. Women all around me didn’t know whether to laugh or be scared. Of course they pulled him out on the very next station.
Viddhi: People, mostly men, always think that women’s coach is all sunshine and rainbows where everyone gets a seat. Let me tell you of an incident. I once saw a woman leave her seat and I wanted to grab it but you know what? I realised that I was already sitting. This thing can play on your mind harder than you can imagine.
Sugandha: A guy kept on blatantly staring for no reason at me for a good half an hour. Obviously, it made me very uncomfortable. So I asked him ‘Kya hua bhaiyya? Kyu ghoor rae ho?’ This led to a lot of embarrassment on his part. Thankfully he stopped ogling then. When you ask these people to not stare, they often say ‘So now you have a problem even with people staring?’ As if they caught the shorter end of the bargain.
Me: Just a few months ago, a woman lost it in the ladies coach. She was going on and on about how girls should not use lipsticks before they are married. ‘What will you do once you are married if you’ll do all this now’, she said. A lot of women tried to instil some sense in her but she just won’t shut up. But then a girl sat in front of her, took out the darkest lipstick you can imagine out of her bag and applied it while looking at her. The whole compartment burst into laughter and applause.
Eve-teasing. How is this still a thing?
Nishtha: It happened right outside my house. A man came up to me and asked for an address. I, being the nice citizen wanted to help him. Looking at the opportunity he found a new way of thanking me. He grabbed my bust, and went off! I was wearing a suit and it was 7.30 in the evening.
Viddhi: I was doing a house visit for one of my students and on my way there were these 15-16 year old boys hanging around. I was covered head to toe with suit and chunn. These boys starting singing songs really loud to get my attention and then started following me. I ran for my life of course.
Sugandha: It is the silliest, most incomprehensible tactic of playing loud music in cars in order to impress women. It only makes that very person seem absolutely and magnanimously stupid. Also, sensible women don’t like to be approached by repulsive names and actions. Someone doing that displays the amount of courtesy and respect someone has for any girl in general.
Me: Now this happened when I was just 13 or 14 years old so I don’t know whether it is eve-teasing or child-teasing. I was on my way to tuitions on a bright Sunday morning when a gigantic man stopped me on my way. His fly was all the way down and he was stroking himself. I ran to some guards outside a big mansion and pointed them to the man. They started grinning ear to ear and said ‘But tell us exactly what he is doing? What is he doing to himself?’ They had a good time out of my misery that day.
Relationships and other troubles
Nishtha: I have been in a relationship for the past 6 years and it has been great. But I do sometimes wonder how different life would be if were single. I haven’t had a first date since forever, and that feeling of excitement thrill and independence you have when you are single.
Viddhi: As someone who has been in a relationship for a long time and being single for a long time, I think being single is much more liberating. You just learn to live your life on your own. Do things for yourself. Being in a relationship can be a limiting factor in these matters because you have to think about the other person.
Sugandha: People get in and out of relationships due to peer pressure more than anything. It is ok to have or not have a boyfriend. It does not define who you are as a person.
Me: Frankly, I love being on my own. No one to disappoint and no one who disappoints you. I no longer have to bank upon anyone to make me happy and so I do make conscious efforts to enjoy and be happy. But of course, I do fear the future. I don’t want to die alone and that is the only big concern in life for me right now.
*Nishtha (name changed) is a teacher between two jobs right now, Viddhi is a Teach For India fellow and Sugandha is an MPhil student.
The author tweets as @soumya1405