Thursday, November 12, 2009

“I want a wife, not a boss!”

There is only one disadvantage if you are as old as I am, still not married and live in India – people are constantly bothered about you being single! These days people talk to me as though it is a crime to be my age and not yet married. Everybody wants to know when I am getting married! When I go to my hometown once in a long while and meet a neighbour, that is always the first question. When old batch mates pop up in G-talk or FB Chat after a long time, that is always the second question. When old students meet me, again after a long time on Face Book or Orkut, that is always the third question. In all the five or six job interviews I had faced, that was always the concluding question. They ask me, so, when are you planning to get married? It has become a usual question in all the usual conversations to the extend that now I have developed this habit of wondering what is wrong when someone does not include that million dollar question about marriage in a conversation. It is as though all the married people in the world are scheming against me to lure me to bite the same bait they swallowed unwittingly hook line and sinker years ago. It is as though the not-eligible-to-be-married-yet are wondering when will he or she be eligible for ‘the question’ they throw at me and they are wondering when I am going to ask them back the same thing, if you know what I mean.

I always face the question with a very understanding smile though I am irritated to the core and the first thing I want to say is,”It is none of your business!”. Initially, I used to respond saying, “Er, may be in two or three years!” only to get back, “Oh Gosh, two or three years? Isn’t that such a long time?” Then I developed this habit of shrugging the question off with an I don’t care look, saying, “Well, what is the hurry? Let me get settled first!” only to get back the pearls of wisdom as though I am so naive to think about future, “You know what, if you wait to get settled for such important things in life, blah blah blah…” The other day I was travelling and I learned a new way of fending off this most vital question in a bachelor’s life. Hereafter, if someone asks me when I am getting married, I am going to look straight into their eyes or if they are on chat followed by a “:D” say: “Well buddy, give me one good reason to…”

Ya, I wanted to tell you from where and how I learned to respond to the million dollar question this way. I was travelling back to Mangalore from my hometown in Kerala in a night bus, hoping to reach Kannur in time to catch the early morning train. And there was this guy sitting next to me. Once the lights were switched off he took his cell phone out to engage in an I-am-so-tough conversation with someone. Initially, I thought he was talking to his subordinate as the language was so business like. Eventually, it turned out that he was talking to his wife. I guess the response from the other end was not very pleasing as his was not. He was probably receiving tit for tat. He got into this screaming mode as the conversation progressed. Towards the end of that ugly conversation he suddenly said the classic statement that got me into thinking mode and brought me a new life saving answer for all those inquisitive minds. He said: “I want a wife, not a boss!” The moment I heard the statement, I realized that though I am not married my idea about marriage is right. I always think marriage is the only debate in the world where both the sides are equally right and equally wrong.

When I was a college student, one usual debate topic was “Love Marriage Vs Arranged Marriage.” You don’t get to see that topic in circulation any more. May be that is because, over the years people have come to realize that, be it love or arranged, a marriage that is born to doom always will and it is only a matter of time. If that is the case, then why hurry?

A friend of mine, who got married a few years ago, was telling me how she thought marriage was something special and an out of this world experience. She felt everything was going to change magically right from the wedding day. She is married for the last five years. In retrospect, she told me a couple of days ago, how contrary to her expectations nothing much changed, nothing magical had happened. Now, please don’t misunderstand her. They are a normal Indian married couple who love and respect each other. She was just telling me how melodramatic her idea of marriage was. She told me: “Now I realize that marriage is just that one day! Rest of the life is as usual!” If that is the case, then why hurry?