The ticking time bomb of marriageable age

By Vibhuti Jaitly | Updated: Feb 26, 2015, 09:53 AM IST

Okay, so this topic which I am about to rant about is something which I have been facing since the past few months now. And I feel many girls who are in their late twenties might agree with me, if not all.

For starters, I am a 28 years old independent working woman. Sounds legitimate and convincing, right? Well! Not for everyone.

Given the Indian society and its cultural context, it is an unwritten and unspoken fact that if you are still unmarried after a certain age, it doesn't go down well with watchdogs of our Indian society. After crossing the age bar of 25 years, you don't belong to the 'single' category anymore – you transcend to the 'unmarried' bracket.

Sample these: “28 and still unmarried?'' “But why?” “Couldn't you find someone yet?” “What next in life now?” “What is your plan for life?”

These are just some patent questions which I get to hear from friends, extended family, neighbours and acquaintances and now it has become somewhat easy to dodge questions like these.

God forbid if you go to a typical society function like an engagement party, marriage or any random event and you find younger people who apparently are 'settled' in life, then oh boy!, you are in some serious trouble for the rest of the evening. Or worst still, your 'well wishers' try hard to fix you up with some random guy then and there.

The people around me make me feel as if I am nearing doomsday and have missed the 'only goal' of my life. To top it all, they remind me again and again that I belong to the fairer sex and it is imperative that I get married before it is too late. The entire identity of a girl revolves around 'marriage' at least in India. No matter how much our society is advancing, but in matters like these, they are still far-behind the West.

Being an unmarried young man in late twenties is definitely not much of a problem but let's leave that for a separate discussion.

I still have my goals, aspirations, dreams and much more to achieve in life. Marriage is not the sole purpose of my life. (Even at 'this' stage of life.)

Like any other guy who wants to make it big, wants to take a chance with his career, I too should be able to dare to be different and steer the path of my life in the direction of my choice.

Having said that, I do believe in the institution of marriage and I look forward to it. If I look around, most of my friends are married and hopefully happy. But I, for one, am not the kind of person who will give in to society's pressure of 'settling down' just because I am nearing a certain 'number'. It is as if a bomb is about to blast and everyone is trying their best to defuse it.

I am a mature, well-educated, independent young woman and I know what to expect out of my life and being vocal about my choices doesn't make me unreasonable. I have a faint picture in my head about the kind of life partner I seek for myself and certain qualities, characteristics that are a must for me. After all, it is I who has to spend my entire life with that particular person.

I don't have sky-high expectations - I know what I want. Time and time again, I am being reminded that I should lower my expectations and standards. But I want to validate my choice in my head and heart before I take the final plunge and settle down. I'm not ready to compromise and make such a life-changing decision in haste just to please the 'so called' Indian society and its norms. I do not want to settle and spend a life of regret and dissatisfaction.

Young women who are of my age group will certainly agree that they and their families are pressurized by the watchdogs of our society and finally just give in to the pressure. I wonder if these 'people' have no other occupation than trying to convince us or our families to help us 'settle down' because it is high time!

Indian society really needs to loosen up and grow up. I am happy in my space/zone and living life according to my rules.

So dear society stop prying on me and don't ask me what's next but ask me what's now!