This is a guest post from Floh member, Piali Dasgupta
Just the other day, I bumped into a friend (or shall we say acquaintance since I am a little uncomfortable about using the term ‘friend’ casually) at a fair. Let’s call her Shimamoto, because that seems like a nice name and happens to be a fictional character I am fond of (protagonist in Haruki Murakami’s South of the Border, West of the Sun).
So, Shimamoto and I used to share a room when I was in college. She was my senior, a spunky college sports team captain, perennially high on life and raring to go. As for me, well, I was just me.
After college, we lost touch. Nothing new there. After all, she was just my roomie, not my bff (or whatever Lindsay Lohan calls them these days). But I kept bumping into her at long, irregular intervals. Sometime in the year I passed out, I met her at a momo place. And although, she seemed like someone I knew from far, I couldn’t be sure. A big black bindi, a thali (south Indian equivalent of the mangalsutra) around her neck, there she was, looking …. how do I put this? Very un-Shimamoto like.
The obvious question to ask would have been, “So, when did you get married and who’s the guy?” Only, I never manage to ask the right question. So out came: Bindi with jeans is a bad idea, right?
She wasn’t expecting this one. So she said, “Well, I got married and it’s something I need to do.”
But in my head, someone like Shimamoto doesn’t get married right after college to a man she’s met three months back. Someone like her doesn’t metamorphose into someone I can barely recognise. Someone like her probably gets out of college and studies Criminal Psychology. That was her plan.
But then love happened. Which is quite nice. I think.
When I met her last week, she was shopping with her three-year-old daughter. This time I attempted to appear less startled. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with someone shopping with her three-year-old who has her eyes on cotton candy. But sometimes the speed of time startles me. I can’t deal with the massive changes in the lives of people around me, when my life seems to be at status quo. I actually like status quo. It sounds sexy. No, I am kidding about the ‘sexy’ bit.
Truth be told, I couldn’t quite deal with the fact that someone as old as me is not just married, but is also mommy to a three-year-old while I am still part of a singles club called Floh. They do some great stuff.
Was something wrong with me? Or with her? Or with neither? I was ticking ‘neither’ in my mental tick box, when she said, “What’s wrong with you? What are you waiting for? Don’t you feel anxious that you are not even married? What’s your excuse?”
I don’t get along with those questions. In fact, you will have to bribe me with a box of Anthon Berg chocolates to make me answer them. I have problems with them, especially when someone my age (who lived with you at some point) interrogates me with them.
Now we come to the real discussion. The long background story is incidental. Apologies for wasting your time, in case you have managed to reach this far. Of the few things I feel strongly about, discrimination against single people ranks very high. In fact, it’s right after, discrimination against cynophobics. Yes, folks like that exist!
Let me try answering each of her questions although the Anthon Berg box is nowhere in sight.
The last time I checked, nothing was wrong with me. One of my eyes could be slightly bigger than the other, but that I am told is normal. I look very homo sapien like, speak a language everyone understands and have very basic needs in life. One generous serving of chocolate a day, shopping at(uh,..never mind), good music, good books, Sex and The City at 11 pm (because I can’t get over Carrie’s shoes)and I am content.
Just what is wrong with that?
What am I waiting for? Hmmmm…..I don’t know. All I can hope for at this point is that the wait is worth it. You see, some people just won’t settle for anything less than butterflies in the stomach, a swooning head and strains of violins in the air. Otherwise, what’s the point? I know you are just dying to tell me, “That’s just being too ambitious, come back to reality etc,” but reality is like Maths class. I can’t be there long enough. Besides, there are plenty like me. Plenty who are on the lookout for that one person who can discuss Owl City and Ibsen’s Doll’s House in the same breath. These are just examples, by the way!
The answer to the third question is ‘no.’ I am never anxious. No single person should be. I don’t think that’s reason enough to be anxious. You can be anxious if red ants have devoured a pack of Salami Milanese you just bought, but why be anxious if you’re single?
Remember, the world will try and convince you otherwise. People would walk right up to you and say, “So you’re still single? Why?” like it’s some despicable disease you have. But stand tall, chin up and don’t let them reduce you to a puddle after a June shower. Deny them that pleasure, that power, that courage.
You don’t have to have an excuse. I have no excuse. And I’m not particularly waiting for any incident in my life that would make me want to settle down etc (the reason I use etc is because the definition of ‘settling down’ is vague). Does marriage make you settle down? What’s unsettling about not being married? Do you wear an ‘unsettled’ look if you’re single? If yes, can you define ‘unsettled look’?
If you do have an excuse, that’s fine too. Whatever your excuse may be, and if you are happy about it, good going, mate! If not, think of a different excuse.
But don’t settle for love that changes you to a point of no-return, love that makes you look like an alien to those who know you. Because then, it might not be love. It might just be a magician’s hat.
Let’s be honest here. How many people around you have married or entered a relationship for the right reasons? Or because they were completely sure of the guy/girl they were with? I know very few and that probably makes me slightly cynical. I had a friend in school who was constantly in need of companionship. I don’t know why she hated her own company so much. She hopped in and out of a slew of horrible relationships, but never remained single even for a month. Now who am I to pass a judgement against serial dating? Serial dating is fine too(although it’s not for everyone), provided it doesn’t scar you for life in some way or the other. Provided you are detached to the extent of not letting the remnants of it bother you. She wasn’t. She suffered each time, but was never shy the next time. One day when I asked her why she constantly needs to be with someone, she said, ‘Because it’s the done thing. Almost everyone is with someone, and if I am not, I feel uncomfortable. People might think I lack somewhere.’
If that really is the case, society thinks there’s a whole lot lacking in every single Floh folk. I have a different take, a slightly more ambitious one, I dare say. I think we are just so much cooler than the rest. I think we are so infinitely cool, that we don’t want to be shortchanged in life. Or, we take time to find someone who matches our degree of unbelievable coolness. And this time, you guys better agree with me. And buy me Anthon Berg to celebrate our mutual coolness!
We are not sorry, we are just uber sizzling! Say that three times. Each time with a grin broader than Julia Roberts’.
1) The writer is not a relationship expert; therefore this is not a self-help column.
2) The views expressed in this column are the writer’s own and you have every business disagreeing with them.
3) This column does not financially benefit the writer. She was just killing time.