Bachelors need not apply!

Bachelors need not apply!
Being in your 20s in the 90s was a sweet-sour thing. The sweet part was that women had started making a presence in the workspace in a bigger way; the sour thing was that they still needed to get married before they were 25 years old.

Those unfortunate ones who turned 26 without getting married gave their parents (and neighbours) ulcers. The astrologer was summoned and remedies like fasting for 16 Mondays or marrying a dog to ward off the evil eye were suggested.

And, if they reached their 28th birthday and were still single, the dog was culled and they were forcibly made to marry the closest possible they could find to a groom: male, some limbs, presence of basic internal organs. If they were really lucky, he had a job and a scooter.

Now, at 26, I was still single. To make it worse, I was working. The two girls I had been living with had gotten respectably married and left by then. And, I had to look for a new place to stay — a smaller accommodation, anywhere close to work, but most importantly, any landlord who was willing to accept a ‘single’ (shudder), ‘woman’ (shudder-shudder) who was ‘working’ (heartbeat fading, call the ambulance).

“How old are you?” the landlady asked me in the preliminary interview.

“26”

“Bachelor?”
“Yes.” (Sad smile, pity-pout)

“At your age, I had three-three children.”

“Aunty, you hadn’t heard of
Copper T?”

Of course, I did not say that! My tenancy-lease was expiring and I had been turned down by three ‘bachelor’-phobics already. I was almost on the roads. So, I smiled and schmoozed, and complimented everything in sight, including her badly behaved progeny. The lease was signed and I was given a place to stay in the flat below theirs.

The condition: no male visitors. I abstained from everything male from my life from that day, including male capsicums and flowers with stamens. It was code pink. Till my cooler stopped working in the peak heat of June: I was in utter distress. That is when I asked my then-boyfriend, now father of my children, to come over and help me fix it.

He came that weekend. Well, let me spare you of the gory details. Let me just say we did not need to repair the cooler. The half-opened boxes were repacked the next day: the busted cooler, too, went in there.

The landlady personally supervised the packing, like it was some cockroach-exterminating operation. I was on the roads again.
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