I’m in that phase of my life when family conversations are liberally sprinkled with references and not-subtle hints to my parents to marry me off soon. Relatives conjecture that the only reason I make it to work every morning is because I fancy someone at work. I visit the Haji Ali dargah coz maybe I’m seeing a Muslim guy. And the recent purple paint on my toe-nails is a result of his suggestion. Clearly, I don’t have a mind of my own. A non-existent “he” directs my movements and I comply obediently.
I lament over insufficient handbags and closet space when they’d rather I crib about jewelry and sarees. It’s always about some cousin younger than me getting hitched and why can’t I give them that same joy and happiness. Why can’t I be content with the mundane and accept that a woman’s place is at home! Least of all in front of a computer screen agonizing over the choice of a few words and some punctuation!
Yes, I get annoyed and extremely frustrated. Verbal diarrhea soon takes over. But a friend advised me, “Don’t show them that their trashy talk is getting to you. Just smile to yourself because they know not what they do.” I practice it when I do remember it. And it does wonders for my mood. But their words remain with me.
These words remind me that I indeed have little time left as a single, unmarried woman and that within a few months, maybe a few years, I’ll return home not to my parents but to a significant other. That thought overwhelms me. It serves as a reminder of how fleeting life is.
It’s difficult to picture how my parents will go to sleep each night with an empty room next door where I once cried myself to sleep. Who will rush to greet my father at the door on a weekend with excitement-laden eyes to tell him how my day transpired? Will the mother miss putting the chair in place each time she cleans the dining table after a meal? Will the parents stop by my room each morning forgetting I no more live with them? Such questions often keep me up at night.
Every birthday, anniversary and festival for the last few years has been accompanied by one thought, “Will I still be living at home this time next year or will this be my last birthday/anniversary/festival celebration at home?” I sometimes use it as an emotional ploy to get my way. But mostly I’m weighed down by it.