Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A singular disorder

“Why is he still single?” asked she with the decrepit wisdom of someone who believes that there is such a thing as ‘marriageable age.’

I was trying to set her up with a friend of mine, and it is not going too well.
Somehow, this question has always evoked a response even if it is not directed to me. It boggles me, it angers me at times, but these days, it largely amuses me. It sounds as though marriage is the default state to be in, else one has to live under the constant scrutiny of someone who has a manufacturing defect. Someone waiting to be redeemed. A work in progress of sorts…

I find it annoying. Do you remember ever asking someone, “Why are you married?”

A friend of mine while trying to assuage another on her recent divorce said, “At least you got there once…”
Eh? What sort of convoluted logic is that? And the disturbing fact was, he was single. Is that how little he thought of himself?

My family has an average of two weddings a year, and this year they seem to have outdone themselves. There’s one more in the offing.

From being the ‘poor thing’ at these shindigs, I seem to have now acquired the status of an item number. Not that I get an opportunity to shake a leg—you know how singularly uninspiring and bland south Indian weddings are… but basically, people want to hang out with you, and find out ‘what’s happening in your exciting life?’
So everyone from the geriatrics to the CLBs (cute little butts) want to strike a point of conversation, whether it is laughter clubs or a radio station in Texas.

At the last one, my idli-faced cousin, while trying to shove chips down her four year old’s throat (apparently, he is an on a chips and coke diet) and trying to pick out an ironed shirt for her husband asks me, “So when are you going to settle down?” She is six months younger to me, looks 10 years older, and feels older than my mom. Plus her avuncular husband and she never seem to have a conversation or make any real eye contact except to discuss who will mind the brat. I try and imagine their moments of intimacy and a chill runs down my spine.

If that is settling, I am so glad to be unsettled, I think. Or may be single is the new married.
So there you are—single because you held out, single because you know what you are and what will work for you, and what will not work for you, single because you are not living someone else’s paradigm, single because you chose to say no to opportunities when saying yes was clearly the easier option, single because you took the long road, and found yourself in the process.

So, after a long stint at being the best girl at friend’s weddings, shopping for maternity clothes with them, holding their hand post-partum, watching them nurse their babies, watching the babies blow their candles, watching their husbands making eyes at other women, I have finally made my peace with the situation.

It’s about choice. I chose to wait. And I am glad I did.

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