Such is the general perception society has about women 30 years and beyond. Getting married at 25 and having the first child by 28 has become a norm of some sort, set by God-knows-who but followed by millions. Naturally, the ire falls on those who dare to defy it and carry on with their perfectly normal lives without paying heed to that omniscient norm.
Recently, I met an aunty who made me feel so guilty about myself for not having a kid till now. And still even if I might forgive aunties for making me feel embarrassed and apologetic about my lack, people of my age group with kids don’t cease to torment me with statements like, ‘You must not be too fond of kids’, ‘When are you planning?’, ‘Do you have a problem?’, ‘Go to a doctor’, ‘Why don’t you have a damn kid?’ Chill ladies! There’s no point being so hyper but try as much as I want to, I can’t put any kind of sense into their heads that it’s a personal matter that needs delicate handling.
Another kind of psyche that’s apparent in the nosy people who keep humming around me is that ‘she doesn’t have kids so she must be against children.’ I wish they could have seen me during my college days. I used to be extremely fond of all the kids in my neighbourhood and they all used to adore me as well. Probably I have bowed under pressure and these days try and stay away from those two-foot humans. They give me a certain sense of a lack in myself. So except for a two-year-old in my previous neighbourhood, I never shower an effervescence of love towards the toddlers.
I have a certain aunt who has this crazy logic that one must have children quite early on in life otherwise they get old while their children are quite young and kids in such situations are quite embarrassed of their parents. Well, that’s the lamest reason I have ever heard of early procreation. It’s the upbringing along with the values and education that you inculcate in your children, which determine their character and not their age difference with their parents. But my aunt doesn’t believe in logical conversations so I don’t even attempt for one.
The most irritating ones are those who question me for specific reasons of why I don’t have a kid even when I am past 30. I mean I don’t have a reason myself so how can I provide one. I am very normal, with no known discrepancies but am seriously unable to give a specific reason as to why I don’t have a kid till now. Am sure some assume I have medical issues, so they even suggest the option of adoption. I seriously find nothing to answer them back.
Standing at this juncture, I wonder if life will become all rosy and beautiful only when a baby lands on my lap. Will it be the end of all my sorrows? I am sure I will be so preoccupied with the new life that my mind will be taken away from my mundane life and its problems. But that doesn’t guarantee all the challenges will be gone. I knew of an old woman in my neighbourhood, who died in terrible condition, alone and helpless, even though she was the proud mother of four quite successful children. So what’s the hullabaloo about this entire matter? We all are aware that procreation is a completely individual choice but still we become extremely nosy when we see someone yet to take this important plunge in life.
Today I am at the receiving end so it might appear why people are behaving like this specially to me but tomorrow I might become one of them and start questioning other people’s life decisions. Perhaps I am so entrapped by the societal norms that even if I try so desperately for it, I will be unable to come out of it.
Our society also has a discerning eye on the right age for marriage. Women should certainly never cross the boundary of 30 before getting hitched. In case the marriage does not last and she gets divorced, then somehow her character is questioned and if she becomes a widow then she is just an unlucky, inauspicious person who needs to stay away from all social occasions.
We have progressed leaps and bounds yet haven’t been able to overcome these handicaps.
Can we do anything to defy the stigma surrounding us? Well, we can simply ignore all the rants and be extra nice and sweet to all those who are so concerned about us. After all, some of them are seriously worried about us and our well-being.
Before signing off I would like to talk about someone, I simply adore and somebody who gives two hoots to stereotypical norms and traditions. This woman who got married quite early and divorced early as well. At that juncture she had to undergo a troubled time. She handled it all with a sweet smile on her face. Now she is placed at quite an enviable position in a big corporate house and leads her life on her own terms. She has bought a big car but not a house and works two years in every city and explores life as a caravan woman. It’s decided once and for all that she won’t go into the vicious cycle of marriage and child birth ever again. Why get burdened with someone else’s responsibility when life can be best enjoyed on one’s own terms? Now that’s quite a life I must say and quite a rocking one. Though it’s not a life that I have chosen, I can be true to myself and try and appreciate it.