Meher Kataria (name changed) is a fashion stylist living in Delhi.
“I don’t want to get married.”
“Now? Or ever?”
“What will people say?”
The conversation with my parents about marriage went just as I had expected. After many years of listening to, and successfully brushing aside talks about eligible boys, it was time for the truth. I simply did not want to marry.
My mother was scandalised. My dad was a little more practical. He wanted to know if I would remain a spinster all my life or would I change my mind.
I told them I could change my mind.
As a child, I grew up with romantic notions of love and marriage, gleaned from books, films and television shows. They made it sound so easy, finding that one person who is made for you.
As I grew older, I realised that in the real world, love wasn’t easy and it didn’t always have a happy ending. And one day I felt like even the concept of love was flawed. That was the day I grew out of my childhood fantasies.
As far back as college, I can remember telling my friends I wouldn’t marry. They would laugh it off telling me that once I found Mr. Right, I would change my mind.
I have found many Mr. Rights. I have fallen in love a lot. Each time, it was without a thought of the future. I have fallen out of love too, easily and heartbreakingly. It hasn’t disillusioned me from the idea of love. My greatest love stories are the ones that have ended. They were brutal in their passion, they swept me off my feet, they awakened in me new desires and changed my life. Did I ever want to marry those men? No.
Marriage appears to feed into our security needs. We are so afraid of growing old and being alone that we will latch on to anything that can provide us security. I have had such thoughts too but then I snap out of it by telling myself I would be compromising too much.
I don’t like compromises. I like being independent. I like making my own decisions. I like travelling. I like being by myself. I also like meeting absolute strangers and taking off with them. I like having multiple partners. I like practising whatever religion catches my fancy. I prefer raising animals to children. How much will a man compromise to be with me, and I with him?
The most tiring part about being the unmarried person in your circle is the judgment that comes your way. It seems like you can’t be a grown, intelligent, educated, talented, principled woman unless you have a partner. If you happen to be such a person then there must be something wrong with you. It could be anything, from a trivial thing like your height or weight, to aspersions on your character.
You can’t have an identity as just a single woman. If you aren’t married at this age (I am 32), there is something wrong with you.
I have resigned myself to the fact that I will probably turn up alone to many of my friends’ weddings, anniversaries, baby showers and more. I will have to plaster the same smile on my face in response to comments about my non-marital status.
I will have to face well-meaning older relatives and friends telling me how I should hurry up because all the good boys would’ve been taken. I will have to refrain from being rude to people who tell me I will soon be too old to bear children.
I will have to do all of this because I am cursed: I am an unmarried woman.
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