Marriage: What is social about it in India?

I was reading “Single in the city” by Sushmita Bose and the thought of a single woman challenges crossed my mind. The book hilariously narrated incidents that were faced by contemporary single woman. The writer established a fact that being single is so chic yet it has all the burdensome issues around it. An independent professional woman is one who manages everything personal and professional on her own. I have seen single women leading life on their own terms. They never have any inhibitions on moving from a small town to a metropolitan city.

In today’s world where Vogue brings the women empowerment video “My choice” and BBC the documentary on “India’s Daughter”, my thoughts deal with the position of a spinster in the society of India. A woman in India is accepted by society when she is married. A spinster fares well in her career yet the society follows and torments her on the marital status in India. When will she settle down? Whether her parents still searching a suitor for her? Some distant aunt and uncle call her parents to ask why she is not getting married. The society decides not to invite her for a party where couples have come. The question of marriage is easily asked by every single person in a social gathering. Even by female counterparts who are married, marriage is treated as an achievement in life. The entire social gathering starts focusing on a woman’s private life. The society sets the standards of time that a girl should get married in her early twenties other wise she will not get a good suitor. Further, many girls who are very tall or highly educated find it hard to get a husband for themselves, so the Indian society discourage girls not to be too ambitious. In the professional front, a woman gathers respect and stature when she is married or else her single status is a much sought after topic of discussion in her absence. This is happening in this age where India is building rockets, establishing schools, universities, launching mechanical gadgets and women rising in various professions. The basic nature of Indian society is as primitive as the prehistoric man. Is it a Flintstone’s India?

The Indian society makes the brave, financially independent and freedom loving woman to start avoiding the social gatherings. She will go on a social avoidance and depression syndrome. The professional woman who was doing client meetings, conducting negotiations, doing presentations, working along with male colleagues and globe trotting suddenly crashes her self confidence on the ground and does not even discuss this issue with anyone. Social avoidance is a major emotional issue found in the women in India. Such avoidance leads to depression and limits her psyche around the four corners of her own household. Women are unable to tackle the challenge that the society throws at them and are often victimized.

The tales of social avoidance and depression of a single woman are numerous. In a small conversation with a friend who is a psychiatrist threw a meaningful insight into such problems. I could gather that single women became extremely independent, over sensitive, fiercely feminist, aggressive, dominating, shopaholic, kept excess of pets to receive love and bloated by overeating. They mostly suffered from depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). In many cases, women resort to counseling and anti depressants. She grows a reaction against the society, men and a constant struggle goes on in her mind over loving her space. The adjustment capacity lowers down and she finally chooses to remain single all her life.

A spinster forgets that when a person is happy and cheerful in a social network it is then the destiny takes a turn and lands her into a more satisfactory position. The social network should enlarge and the basic nature of mingling with people should not stop because of a social pressure. The complex of not having a partner should not disturb her. If anyone tries to put pressure she should not pay heed to such conversations, better avoid it. She can also state that it is a private matter and subjected to her parents jurisdiction.

The thought of a balanced independent woman is disappearing in today’s world. We often find the qualities of a balanced woman in our mothers. A woman should not let herself down by the inquisitive society and should peacefully balance her professional and personal life. She should not get worried if her biological clock is ticking, face the challenge and be a winner. Indian society forgets, marriage is not an achievement, it is a personal choice. One should get married when he or she thinks it is right. Marriage is a want and not a need. A growing need is developing for awareness of social avoidance syndrome. In a phase where the Indian society challenges a woman on her single status, she should just take it easy and stay calm. The society will always interfere in personal matters, smart is a woman who does not get affected by it.

About the Author

Mili Chatterjee GhoshMili Chatterjee (Ghosh) is a corporate lawyer by profession. She has spent considerable part of her life working with a law firm. She is developing as a freelance writer for media and publishing houses. At leisure she cooks, dances and prepares sketches. Her passion is music, writing, travel and photography. She has radical, unconventional and realistic approach towards life. She believes that humanity is the biggest of all religions. She is a thinker and keen observer of the society. Her ideas, innovation and creativity often come from instances picked up from reality.

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