So today is women’s day. Is that supposed to be different from other days? I don’t know. I didn’t think so. But oh yes, I had the lovely surprise this morning. My mom insisted on talking about marriage this morning. So my mood is a bit off. She doesn’t get it that I have no inclination to get married. Soon. I’m still a bit shaky professionally and so would rather spend my time getting my professional life in tune rather than go “see” boys or worse be seen by them. Anyways, I find the process rather uncouth with a whiff of the grocery store about it. One doesn’t shop for one’s life partner. I am not against marriage but I haven’t told her that. Yet. Or she would be up in arms whispering to every aunt, uncle, cousin, family friend within 500 miles that her daughter is “ready for marriage.” Oh! The very thought of it!
And what’s making this period worse is that my cousin, all of 3 years younger to me, is getting married. To a man 8 years her senior! And my mom is ecstatic about it. The shy girl who refused to talk to strangers because she didn’t have anything to say has grown up. Or so she thinks. The guy is a “bhalo chele” (good boy) but somewhat dark, screamed my delighted younger aunt on the phone all the way from Calcutta. He earns an obscene amount of money, I was told. She will have to move to Bombay after her marriage. Yes, I suppose money is the great cushion on which all marriages survive. Does it?
25-year-old Deb has very clear priorities in life. She is educated and has a master’s degree in, I think, Economics. She doesn’t want to work and wants to lead a happily married life. I don’t know what to tell her. (Even if I want to I can’t. I haven’t seen her in over 10 years, which makes us quite estranged even to talk to about the weather.) If I could, I would say there is no such thing as happily married. If you can just about tolerate your husband, I would call that a great marriage.
I am Deb’s anti-thesis. I suppose I should tell her that she should work for a while. See how nice it is to not ask anyone for money. To be independent. To tackle so many situations at work. To work so hard that you don’t feel like eating when you home. To make out-of-town trips. To see the world from a very different perspective. To be able to walk into a shop and pick up any reasonable book you like and buy it. Not many people get an opportunity to get educated. Don’t throw it all away. There are women who would give their right arm to be in your place. Of course, there are the bad times, the pressure-cooker times, the depressed times. But you live through it all. And it makes you a better person. And you feel so confident at the end of the day. But somehow, I don’t think she will listen.
The times they are a-changing!
As Bob Dylan says,
Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.