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Reader’s contribution: ‘I’m not an anomaly’

Being in your late 20s and choosing to be single is a challenge even in the year 2013. For a few years, I blamed the Indian focus on traditions and marriage until recently when I realized that women from other cultures think being single during one’s “marriageable age” is unusual too. There have been friends who have given me a lecture about my parents not being permanently around for me. There have been others who have wondered out loud how one can live without regular sex. The last straw for me came when a female friend let out a long, sympathetic, “awww.” I’ve become so used to responding to people’s so-called concerns about this matter, that I simply ignored it at first. I was almost done with my speech about all my friends in India being single by choice and older than myself, or separated, when it hit me- women who are in a romantic relationship with a man think that the rest of us are all sad individuals.

With all the talk surrounding the empowerment of women, the attitude of women towards their own sex hasn’t changed. Right from the elders in Indian society to teachers and office bosses – marriage still seems to define a woman’s life. If you aren’t married, you are going against the norms of society. When you attend other people’s weddings, it is the other women who enjoy bombarding the single woman with questions about her life plans. “When are you getting married?” “Oh, you aren’t even seeing anybody?” Basically, if you don’t have any husband or marriage to talk about, there’s nothing else worth talking about.

To further make the single woman feel like she is inferior, offices in India and in most other countries grant months of paid maternity leave to pregnant women/new mothers and often give them the flexibility to work around their office schedules to accommodate their children. The single woman can live with her parents or alone and have an adopted child or an old pet and still not receive any leave of comparable duration. So again, single woman, you probably don’t have a life outside the office.

Well, for me and some others I know, writing, volunteer work and pets make life as fulfilling as possible. Try telling a woman in a relationship that and she will say, “Oh, nice,” with a fake smile or look of horror. Just like I would never tell a friend to stop going ahead with her wedding, I would like to be treated with respect by other women and not be made to feel like an anomaly.

Author: Sudesna Ghosh

Editor: Manasi Gopalakrishnan


05.04.2013 | 10:35