Simply single

Why should anything be wrong with someone choosing not to marry?

Sadly, in India you can’t get away with explaining that you’re single because you chose that state in life versus marriage.

Even today, aged 64, I have close friends who advise me to tie the knot as though that is the ‘be and end all of life’! “But what’s wrong with you”, they ask brazenly and seem aghast when I retort, “Why should anything be ‘wrong’ with me to have remained unmarried?” When I add that I do not regret my decision, they can’t seem to stomach it. “Then why did you not join a convent?” they ask, as though that’s the only other option.

With all credit to my parents they graciously accepted my decision, when at 28 I shared with them I did not feel a call to get married. This, of course, came after their bit of persuasion to follow the norm of the times, and explaining their concern about my future. Also ‘hats off’ that they accepted my maturity, financial stability in a bank executive post, and emotional capability of living ‘single’.

Life’s course changed after they were gone as rheumatoid arthritis struck at age 37 and slowed down my pace and mobility thereafter. I moved with life’s flow since, with sibling and friend support, and chose voluntary outreach to fellow sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis and disability as my new occupation, still living independently with domestic assistance. From young and to the extent possible even now, I have embraced a myriad interests ranging from sports to music, reading to gardening and partying to writing.

Yet it seems, I still cannot convince the conventional thinkers. “At least you can have a companion for your old age”, they prattle. “You are good looking, a former bank executive, intelligent, you must have had a lot of young men with an eye on you and an offer for your hand”! Thank goodness, my Dad wasn’t extra well heeled, or they’d throw in that extra, “You know girls with ‘dowry’ made for a better catch”!

What is this attitude ‘marrieds’ have toward ‘singles’? I analyse this, as often the advice comes from those who are not quite so happy in their marriages. Do they want you to go through that grind? No, I’m not inclined to think so. Do they think you’ve missed out on motherhood and family life? Yes, perhaps.

But in my case I’ve not felt this lacuna, as I have vicariously enjoyed time with the children and grandchildren of my four sisters, plus a bonus progeny of plenty in my maternal clan numbering about 300 presently. My own home in fact is never bereft of visitors. Do I feel lonely? Off and on like others. Yes, married folks too I gather, from those who’ve shared feelings on this subject. In my own case I prefer to term this as an ‘aloneness’, which truthfully I oftentimes look forward to.

I keep busy inspite of being mostly housebound. When I need to communicate, there are phones and Facebook, so I’ve purposely avoided Skype and WhatsApp!

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