The dreaded “M” Word
It started sometime when I was in 4th year of law school. A lot of wedding ceremonies were taking place in my family at that point of time. A number of my cousins suddenly decided to tie the knot that year and there were some 3 weddings in the family in one season. I was looking forward to lots of dressing up, having fun with cousins, eating good food and checking out cute boys (if at all there were any) during those days. Little did I know what awaited me.
My extended family is H-U-G-E. My dad’s innumerable cousins and their wives plus their kids can constitute a battalion of people. In any family gathering or wedding ceremony, the aunts of the family are always grouped in one place, all heavily decked up in gold jewellery and heavy silk sarees and gossip about everything under the sun! I usually get along very well with them and ever since half my cousins have left the city for higher studies/ job, I take part in aunty-gossip sessions with equal gusto.
In one such gathering, suddenly all the attention of the aunty brigade was focussed on me.
Aunty 1(to my mom): I really like Misha. She has turned out to be a fine young lady.
Aunty 2: Yes, I agree. I can say this without doubt that she is the most well-brought up kid in the family. (to my beaming mom) Its all because of you.
Aunty 3(to me): And you look very nice in a saree. These days, girls don’t want to wear traditional stuff any more.
All this while, I am grinning ear-to-ear. And then the bomb dropped.
Aunty 1 (to my mom): So when do you plan to start the process?
I am confused. My mom seems to have understood. “We are not even thinking now, she is still in college”.
Thus began the torture. In every gathering, whenever I met the aunty brigade, I used to be bombarded with questions like “So what kind of a guy are you looking for?” “Do you have any preferences of profession?” “Do you have salary issues?” and so on and so forth.
Initially I tried to deal with it jokingly. “I want a handsome guy – you know, the tall, dark, rich and handsome types”. “Yes, I shall marry only a Indian Foreign Service Officer, so that I can stay all over the globe.” “If the guy is fine, I have no salary issues” blah blah
But sadly, they were never joking! “You should not go by looks only, try to see the human being in him.” “There are no Bengali IFS Officers!” “But beware, the man may not be comfortable about your salary, so its safe to always go for a guy who earns more than you”.
Seeing my reluctance to be dragged into such conversations, one day, an aunt of mine cornered me “Do you have a boyfriend?” I give her a look which suggested as if she asked me whether I watch porn or not. “You look the kind who has a boyfriend, ” she concluded. “No, no, I don’t have one”. I assure her. “Seriously!” I add, seeing her disbelieving look. I later came to know that she also tried to trick my mom into revealing any such hidden fact about me, but the truth won 🙂
After establishing the fact that I am single (meaning eligible) and especially after I finished college and started working, it was turn of my mom to get tortured. “You should start looking from now, before its too late” “I know some, you want me to talk to them?” “I know she won’t, but what if she brings home some wrong guy tomorrow”? To each such questions, my mom used to say “My daughter has just returned after staying in hostel for five years. Let her stay at home for sometime.” And then my aunty brigade would start “Arre, if you wait now, all the good ones will be taken. And your daughter is a lawyer and dark, ok ok wheatish (when my mom throws her a look) so it will be difficult to find a good match for her!”
So the best way I adopt these days is to avoid my aunty brigade all together. I rarely attend family parties now, more so because of work pressure. Recently, when I heard two of them were dropping by at my place, I went out of my house with some work excuse and came back only for dinner.
Things worsened for me when my cousin (who is three months younger to me) got married. I was in my final year of college and I frequently had to fend off such questions. They made it look like I was getting late and I should catch the first available guy out there! Even the groom’s side was a little surprised to know that the bride has an unmarried older first cousin. I spent the whole ceremony telling people that I, despite being older than my cousin, was still in college and hence in no mood to marry!
Strangely, its not just the relatives, I have faced such questions from interviewers too. Just when I have tackled a particularly difficult technical question, followed by an equally difficult HR one, I am hit by the ultimate one –
“So when do you plan to settle?” My shock is visible on my face. “Let me rephrase it, when do your parents plan to marry you off?”
I feel like saying “If I could have my way, never!” but I give a more practical answer “Not before 3-4 years”. Now its turn for the interviewer to gasp “So late?”
I smile sweetly, “I am the only child of my parents, hence.. ” He looks pacified 🙂
I endure this much-dreaded “M” word only because of my supporting and understanding parents. The day they will start chasing me, I will have to run away from home 🙂
An awesome and similar marriage post here.
Update:- While blog hopping, I found a guy’s perspective on the same here. Read it to see how similar a guy and a girl thinks about the same topic 🙂