My idea of utopia has always been different scenarios at different times in my life but strangely I have always been alone in them. I never understood why. I have perennially hated being alone but somehow my peace always came at this price.
Throughout college my idea of fun was having the house entirely to myself. I would hope my parents went to Pune or any other place and make sure I sent my sister along. That was bliss!
My idea of fun wouldn’t really involve anything great but whatever I did it meant being alone. Its probably a sign am still trying to understand.
As I moved into a working life I would, once every few months, take a day off, leave home and spend it outside all day. See two-three movies back to back and sit by the sea, sipping coffee and wondering why I felt the need to leave everyone behind.
I have used these days to look for answers that I needed at that time or just sorting priorities but I have to admit that I have never had strong reasons to do it.
An unfortunate occurrence in this whole mess is that in case I meet anyone else I also envelop them into ritual of mine.. I even extend them into my web of lies, asking them not to mention to anyone that we met or interacted. All because I did not want people at home to know I was doing this.
Recently after returning back home, I felt the need to be alone again. And while ensuring all my stories matched up with everyone else and tying up loose ends, someone asked me, “what will happen if your mother got to know that you took a day off?”
I didn’t have an answer then and some weeks later, I still don’t have an answer but it sure got me wondering who I was running away from…
Some days ago.. colleagues were discussing other colleagues in office.
“Did you know S is pregnant?”
Oh! I didn’t even know she was married!”
Why does the latter have to be a condition for the former? I wonder if there ever will be a time when we won’t need to speculate whether a pregnant woman is definitely married and when it will actually cease to matter!
I am beginning to feel like Archie of Archie and the Gang.. I keep telling myself I wont .. I wont.. and I wont.. stop doing the same thing again and again. I am hoping that somewhere along the way some larger picture will start to make sense. To do or not do…
On a totally unrelated note I keep wondering what kind of misplaced affection prompts strange people to tell me how I “should lose weight beta so that you can get married in time and my parents can move on to their retired life”. I proceed to count to ten and hope the red haze disappears.
I take it out on my parents and make hasty, albeit undoable, declarations and tell them that they should carry on with their lives and well.. that just becomes a degenerative argument.
I was discussing this with my dentist, who is a couple of years older than me and it turns out that such random advice is given to people who are thin too! Her professors, school teachers and well-wishers also keep telling her..’why dont you put on weight so that you can get married?’
So we laughed a bit .. and I later wondered what prompted such nonsense. I used to think it was my parents who, in some ways, made it implicit that strange people could walk up to me and say what struck their fancy. Because it was after all a cause for concern for all that I am unmarried and more so because it’s a physical limitation that stops any guy from happily picking me out… and the more collective souls who worried, the better it was for the cause. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.
What prompts people from dispensing strange bits of advice unrelated to them or their lives? Thin, fat, fair, working, not working, tall, short — there seems to be plenty of advice.
Hindu customs are many and I have often gotten into trouble because I asked my mother why exactly I was doing what I was doing. Since I was never given satisfactory answers I outright refused to do many of them — sometimes just for the heck of it.
But I recently came across an instance where a friend lost a close aunt. She was a spinster. In typical end-of-life rituals, it was declared, at the last possible minute and amidst utter grief, that if she weren’t married she would not gain freedom or heaven or nirvana or whatever that state is supposed to be.
And then the pandits or pandas I should call them, married her to a tree.
The rituals were performed and only a few days later, did my friend realise what had happened. “She chose to remain unmarried. Who were those people to get her married? And that too like that?” he kept asking. His family did not think it would be worth protesting at such an inopportune time, like her cremation.
And you know what? It was done only for the money. That, to me, sounds better than an unmarried woman who gets no right to a fitting end just because she did not get married.