Every other day I stumble upon some feminist article reasoning how women should not be throttled into early marriages, their lives are not centered around marriage and procreation, and elderly members of the society should just stop with the “ek rishta aya hai” culture. Not that I am opposed to a woman ranting against the persistent parental pressure catapulting them toward matrimony, or the next woman sharing the former’s rant adding her two cents in the caption, “Yasssssssss!!!”, what irks me is the silence men adopt instead of voicing the same issue as is –if women are getting bombarded with potential ‘Rishtas’ there have to be men whose ‘Rishta’ are being offered – ever considered that perhaps these men are feeling equally thrusted?
Allow me to elaborate on how I am thoroughly disgusted by the society judging and disapproving my singlehood, and constantly harassing me with that ‘Ek acchi ladki hai meri nazar mein’ crap. Yes, chachies, masies, and buas in weddings do encircle me. “Shaadi kab karega?” this unforgiving question frequents me too and is uncomfortable by all means. You know what is more disconcerting? “Tu kamata kitna hai?” I won’t recognize half of these aunties in daylight tomorrow, but they assume the authority to ask me a question that hits a man right on the balls. Then there will be this one aunt, who, by the virtue of her NRI sons, has travelled to western countries, and will capitalize the chance to show off her newly acquired knowledge of the English language – “Tell me, if you have a girlfriend.” This will be followed by a repulsive smirk or wink. “I have no girlfriend, I have girl friends but no girlfriend.” I say fully cognizant of her incapability to tell one from the other. In the most courteous manner I rescue my poor self out of the trap but the gossip doesn’t decline.
No, ladies, you are not alone. We are with you in this struggle. For even I am blessed with a legion of well-wishers who quiz my parents on my lifestyle in Mumbai, most of them have already established it to be a highly promiscuous one that no virtuous maiden from a noble family in Lucknow will willfully partake in. They have proofs of my profligacy – pictures of me surrounded by female colleagues wearing skirts that don’t reach their knees and shirts that betray hints of breasts. It’s interesting that Leena who sits right beside me in office had kept her cleavage from me all this while, but Malati bua’s married son traced it out within minutes of looking at our picture taken during some Pizza party. Leena had a visible cleavage? Who knew? Guy’s got skills I must say – no wonder he secured himself an exemplary virgin right at the age of 23. The ilk of Malati bua have identified and shared another vital cause of my perpetual bachelorhood, “Aapka ladka sharab bahut pita hai, sara paisa usi mein ja raha hai.” Their observations are backed by evidences – pictures on Instagram, the ones taken on an office dinner, food and beverage of which was fully paid by the corporate.
My dad called me this morning – acting all cool trying, to be my confidant. “Deepu, Christian hai to kya huya? We are very liberal minded, we don’t mind. Two celebrations are better than one – will have a Church wedding and a Vedic one too, we must not disregard the power of pious chants.” It wasn’t too long before I tracked down the source of babuji’s incoherence, Jacqueline from Human Resources, had reacted to one of my status updates with a heart emoji, you know… the infamous heart emoji!!!! And just below it was Malati bua’s son’s comment, “Lagey raho, Deepak bhaiya, baja kab baja rahe ho?” And it’s safe to say that we mere mortals are rendered powerless when faced with such intruding cousins; despite the boiling urge, we cannot unfriend them.
Arrrrggghhhhhhhhhh.. that’s quite a long rant, not very telling of my manly valor, I know. But ladies, all I want you to know is – you are not alone in this.
(You may share an experience or a story at firstname.lastname@example.org)