Yes, I’m talking about that one…
The one that doesn’t care about her ticking biological clock as much as the next door neighbor,
The one that rolls solo and is proud of it,
The one who doesn’t shy away from dating and keeping her standards high,
The one without an account on e-harmony, tinder or cheat-on-your-spouse. com…
Yes, I’m talking about the society’s nightmare- THE SINGLE, INDEPENDENT WOMAN! a.k.a me 🙂
Earning her own income, renting her own place, paying her own bills and buying her own groceries. What’s so wrong with that?
A while ago, I was having s causal phone call with my Mom across the oceans as she is in India and I’m in the UK currently. And we were discussing something about my next move when she said “tumhari bhi shadi ho jati to ham logo ki tension door hojati”…
Translation: “Oh how I wish if you had gotten married, our tensions and stresses would melt away”!!!
Few weeks back I heard another comment when it was my birthday and I was going out for dinner and a movie in the middle of the week when just the weekend before I had been to the open air cinema in town. When Mom called I mentioned this cinema thing casually when she said “you’re really enjoying your freedom huh? Not having to ask for permissions, going wherever you want, whenever you want”. I said “mom, this is my 20 something birthday!, I’m a grown woman, matured, adult….why do I still
need to ask for permissions?” To which she didn’t respond and changed the subject.
I tried this thing to slide over gradually but it stayed in my mind longer than other things. Pondering deeply over her occasional dialogues over my freedom, I can say for sure that my family resents my independence.
Compare my situation to that of my sister who is 3 years older than I am and was desperate to get married when she was 23 and by now she is getting over her second husband already. She has one child, has never worked a day in her life despite being a qualified dentist and now because she is a single mother, she started devoting sometime to my Dad’s business, only because she is now considering the importance of financial independence.
Even with that, she lives with my parents, like all, usual, Indian women and has depended on them for getting a paper photocopied from the copystore (there’s no printer, or computer for that matter, they use smartphones at the moment)!
During the times she was married, she had in-laws and husbands who would schedule her visits and phone calls to home and the control-freak husbands would never allow her step outside the house for leisure. Friends-what? what does that word mean? Oh, Indian wives are not allowed to have that in word in their vocabulary.
On the other hand, I travel 3 aircrafts and 1 bus journey of 48 hours in total all by myself every time I go home, not to mention travelling locally in the UK and Europe for conferences, events and education.
Patriarchy has long and deep roots in our culture where one happy single woman is the equivalent of 100 unhappy victims of domestic violence. What I mean is if I get married, squeeze out a baby or 10, get beaten up by the guy, get controlled by his family, spend my life washing their dirty dishes, serving them like an unpaid slave; that would be GREAT, SUPER, FABULOUS for the family!
Someone who doesn’t know Indian culture might not understand this but if you’re Indian, you know what I’m talking about.
You see, when you suffer in silence; society doesn’t know. Your neighbors are not asking creepy questions about you to your parents…there’s no scandal related to you just because you’re single, you make your own money so people always have doubts about what exactly it is that you do even though you’ve a freaking PhD!!!
One of my neighbors, a 25 year old woman, my friend was trying to convince her mother to get a job when her mother proudly declared that ‘only loose women a.k.a whores’ step out of their houses to work. Decent women stay at home and learn cooking and cleaning. This is coming from a woman whose own mother was a working woman by the way- the old lady used to work as a Government teacher all her life and recently retired.
It all feels useless at one point. After all this struggle, being independent, making a tiny dent in the world, showing, literally proving that I can make it on my own… I’m still treated like a clever sheep that ran away from their traps, NOT SOME HUMAN BEING THAT DESERVES TO LIVE LIFE THE WAY SHE WANTS!
You can protest against the whole world but how do you go against your mother… how do you make her understand that you’re just living your life, not committing a crime. How can you make your mother NOT RESENT your freedom?
When you talk about something like this, normally people say why do you seek their approval. Just go ahead and do what feels right. Don’t bother about others.
I’m miles away from home because that’s what I did. Instead of seeking approval, I tried to convince them just enough to let me go away and then every time the word ‘marriage’ comes up, I clarify my stance about it.
But this is not just society or your nosy neighbor. No matter how much you ignore, at some point you’d hope that your parents felt proud of you,not ashamed. That they see your freedom as setting up an example for the rest of the girls in the family. That they feel content that their daughter is not dependent upon them or someone else for her food and rent. She pays her own way in this world and is strong enough to support her life choices instead of being a parasite like many others.
What would you do? Would you give in to your parent’s idea of life and end your free, independent life and become a slave to someone? OR you would try to explain how wrong they are OR would you ignore them completely OR would you come up with a new solution?
Tell me what do you think?