Why I think I’ll die an old maid

 

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…rather, why I’d prefer dying an old maid!

No, I’m not going to talk about any woeful love affair, heartbreaks or losing the one person that I loved dearly. Neither am I planning to give tutorials on easy methods of dying an unmarried and vicious old woman.

So you still want to read it? Considering the possibility that you might feel the same then after? You’re sure?

All right! Welcome aboard, my friend.

Bring your drinks out! We might need them to gulp the bitter doses of reality.

So quite some time back, I attended an Indian wedding. The air spoke glory! Lights that could illumine every soul, colors that could paint the occasion with happiness. Ladies shone like a picture, ornamented with a hundred jewels, graceful men in suits added hue to the charm of their ladies!

…and thus time rolled on like it does in heaven.

I live in a country where marriage means much more than just a word. Where vows are kept, where love exists for the sake of love, blind to any material concern or consideration. Where one weeps because the other has tears in the eyes.

The very idea of a bond of something as beautiful as marriage is all lovely to me. Yes, you heard me right. I love knowing that there’s a stash of memories that two can share together. I find a lot of meaning in building a life together with the special someone. Here’s the problem- I value individualism.

With all the things that are priceless in this beauty called marriage, there are practices that are irrational and things that I can never relate to. I can, by no means, understand certain rituals and their significance. Probably in a way that’s maybe unique to myself. I identify myself as an individual and I, just the same, respect the others’ individuality. After all, marriage is not about me or it’s not about you, it’s about us.

Shall I start from the beginning? You’re ready with the drinks?

Okay!

How do you suppose any rational, thinking person to agree to the evils of the “dowry system” that is still prevalent in the corners of our society? When a marriage is fixed, along with it is fixed the dowry that the bride must get along. I’m doubtful whether I should laugh or not. But the one thing I’m certain of is that I’d prefer dying an old maid instead.

Now pour me a double, I possibly cannot go any further without another.

The Indian marriage is a grand celebration, celebrated for several days. Not a luxury is spared! Even the basic of all tries to portray the grandest. Quite a huge fortune is drained away in the process. If we could only invest money in our daughter’s education rather than in their marriages, that’ll be great.

Agreed?

Then there is this endless list of guests, and you know what we are doing there? Simple. Giving more to the ones who already have plenty! No, I don’t have a word against that. All I feel is sheer disappointment when I see piles of wasted fries that could have been somebody else’s happy meal.

Then comes superstitions and irrational customs. Performing the rituals which have little or no significance at all. Amongst the many, this certain ritual “Kanya Daan”, with the direct English translation meaning “daughter donation” is the most detestable of all. Like seriously? Are we that big now that we donate our daughters away?! And you know what follows next? The bride has to leave her own home, go to the groom’s place, change her name and adopt her husband’s name instead.

Bring those eyebrows down, the custom is only normal and absolutely acceptable. But believe me, and I can say this one for myself- I cannot and will never change the name which gave me an identity, which made an individual.

I’d happily die a nasty old maid instead!

They say that a marriage is a little compromise. And all the compromises thus made are a little price to pay for a priceless relationship like this. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Compromise willingly.

So it appears mighty fine to me; but see, aren’t these compromises gender biased? A female has to leave her house. A female has to adopt another name. A female has to accept her husband’s home as her own. But the very thought of having it the other was around is disturbing and absolutely unheard of!

That’s true!

But when you love someone, you just don’t give up on them, right? So I don’t really have to give up on that one person who would be mine without sharing my piece of mind, right?    No, I’ll never understand the people who just shut down and push their feelings aside, and just the same, I can never push aside my own feelings. I am stubborn. But I wonder whether I’ll ever be able to compromise that part of my being to be with the person that I love. Because can I give in myself so entirely, make that compromise, and repeat the cycle over again?

I don’t think so!

Therefore, the conclusion:
I’d rather die an old maid than repeating that same old cycle once more.

The bottle is empty, I’m drunk. I must now get to bed!

(First published two years ago.)

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49 thoughts on “Why I think I’ll die an old maid

  1. A very thought provoking post. You made valid points throughout the article starting from individuality to the insulting concept of dowry. Thank you for sharing your insight with your readers.
    Also, I sincerely thank you for liking the recent post on my blog.

    Kind Regards,
    -Naima

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good points about biased compromises. Especially in traditional Indian society, as you mentioned, women are giving up most of their attachment to their family and dedicating a lot of their efforts to their husband’s family.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. 1. There are many families that don’t ask for dowry.
    2. Every marriage celebration need not be grand. Get it signed in the court and then throw a small party to really closed ones.
    3. It’s not necessary for a bride to adopt the husband’s surname. There are people who respect individuality just like you do.

    All the best 😀

    Like

    1. Haha! Well, thank you!
      However, as politely as I can, I would like to say that you just missed it.
      1. I said, “dowry system which is still prevalent in the corners of our society”, which clearly states that not everywhere, but at some places nonetheless.
      2. When it comes to the grand celebration, I meant that money can be utilized more efficiently! If I may, in general (with the will of both the families), how many court marriages to the regular marriages have you been a witness to, sir?
      3. I might find a man who respects individuality, however, the older members of the society are still a little conservative and when it is about defying such customs, well…
      So, long story short, I’m likely to not repeat the same cycle which I vehemently disapprove of.

      Like

  4. This post is thought provoking and I love it. However, I love your style of writing more.
    Thanks for liking my recent post.

    Like

  5. What a wonderfully, refreshing post from someone who knows of what they speak. I look out on the world as a Western, white woman with all the so-called privilege such a position carries in the world. I look through a feminist lens and I see practices in my own and other cultures that, to me, are patriarchal, anti-woman and at times misogynistic and often I speak but who am I to judge and people say – this is not about feminism, this is about other cultures and you may not have an opinion. But I do – have an opinion. Your insider look gives me strength. Thank you.

    Like

    1. I’m glad that you have an opinion and equally glad that you stood up to share it gracefully!
      I’d say that the society has to change with changing times, accept evolution and refuse the ancient orthodox practices. And since we all carry the disease, so shall we deliver the cure. As individuals, it’s not up to you or it’s not up to me to bring about a change for the better, however, if all of us make up our mind to bring about an evolution, I’m sure we can move mountains.
      Thank you for sharing your views.

      Like

  6. ” I cannot and will never change the name which gave me an identity, which made an individual.”

    This is a very interesting post. My mother is Sri Lankan, but moved to the United States and married outside of her culture. She hyphenated her last name, keeping the name she received from her parents. I have kept my last name intact (my father’s), and have passed along my mother’s name to my children as a middle name.

    It surprises me when women take their husband’s last names (especially where I live). There are certainly reasons to do it: tradition (which I don’t care much about), sharing a last name with the children (though it annoys me that our custom is to pass along only the father’s surname), and shedding an embarrassing/challenging last name. But it comes at a price: when a woman marries and assumes her husband’s name, it’s like she entirely loses her identity. That often has professional and personal ramifications when contacts no longer know who she is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your words put a smile on my face, how you’ve passed along your mother’s name to your children.
      I totally share your mind here. It’s absolutely strange on the woman’s part to adopt her husband’s last name as her own, without once asking oneself the reason why!
      Here in India, it’s a custom that’s being followed since ages and nobody even gives it a thought. I’m eighteen, I see irrational customs and I want to bring about a change, not only by words but by actions as well.
      However, presuming that you belong to the States, it surprises me just as much that such bizarre traditions exists there just the same!
      Well well, something has to be done.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I am in the U.S., where I’m a women’s rights attorney. We haven’t come as far here in terms of equality as many would expect. As for surnames, every woman has to make her own decision based on what her priorities and goals are, but I wish more would consider how the customs they take for granted are really based on harmful gender bias and stereotypes. I agree with you that something must be done! Thanks for the response and for your thought-provoking post.

        Like

  7. I’m an older married woman and a Christian. I respect your point of view, and certainly no one should get married unless they are really in love with the other person. Taking on the man’s last name and leaving her home is scriptural. The reason God wanted it this way is two-fold but intertwined: God holds the husband accountable for the entire household and its safety and well-being. The husband is to be the protector of his home–not because women are inferior (which they are not), nor because they are unable, but because God intended women to be gentle caregivers to give balance to the gruffer role of the man. Sin is passed down through the male line (Adam sinned on purpose; Eve was tricked). Therefore the man is held accountable.

    Although it seems the woman seems to be giving up the most, the fact is marriage is supposed to be a two-way compromise. Both the husband and wife are supposed to be able to work together to arrive at decisions. The Bible teaches that husbands are supposed to love their wives to the point they are willing to lay down their own lives for their wives.
    But it isn’t for everyone. Be yourself and enjoy your own journey. God loves you either way.

    Like

    1. I like your comment much. It gives an insight as to why such customs exists in the first place. However, the question is how relevant they are today? Do we really have to engage ourselves in such customs when there are bigger problems at hand?

      Like

  8. I to have been with a indian man (sioux), for 27 years and feel I to will die an old maid. You see I have stayed in this relationship believing that the man I’m with who his family calls canutito would some day marry me which I know now he will not, the reason being he’s been cheating on me with this woman for over 7 years. Canutito has lied to me telling me that he hasn’t when recently I found out they have been secretly seeing each other. I have been through verbal as well as physical abuse due to this woman he’s been cheating with. I gave him a chance after i found out about her, but he still says I am crazy and am making things up in my mind. For the past 7 years I have stayed with him even after him losing his job, then our home and cars, he sits unemployed at home on fb, you tube, and messages her all day and night. I work 50 hours a week and when I have asked for him to give her up for me and marry me his words are you can’t force me to marry you. He protects her over me, due to the fact that I just found out that she works in a business where here image would be destroyed for being a homewrecker. So Canutito and M enjoy your lie of a life together, because I to deserve a better life, a life with someone who will love me and won’t say I don’t deserve or didn’t earn to be loved. I have supported this and the life you think you have. I loved you but you made the wrong choice, you traded a diamond for a shiny rock.

    Like

    1. Dear you,
      I felt much disgusted after reading the things that you’ve gone through, honestly. But seeing how you’ve come through towards the end makes me smile ear to ear. It’s wonderful- the way you’re coping with the odds and shining brighter than the pole star. You are an inspiration for those wallowing in the valley of despair.
      PS: There are plenty more fish in the sea!
      Sincerely,
      The Artist

      Like

  9. And I hope the ceiling spun gratifyingly as you went into that nose-dive. Too much wine! Oh, too, too much wine! Your comments set me thinking, though. Is not the whole business of betrothal and lifetime commitment a sham – is not the ‘wedding’ more a testament to the wealth and status of the parents than the blessing of their children’s love? Wherever I go in the world customs surrounding union vary, but the element of price is always similar, and the bigger the splash the thinner the water!
    However, there is an up side, I think. We all need some regulating force, a third party perspective upon ourselves. Without criticism my enormous mistakes would be all the more grotesque, and without praise I would be a poor drenched puppy indeed! So my wife monitors my behavior (I call it nagging) and I monitor her’s (she calls it carping) and we both cling zealously to our individuality, neither daring to suggest to the other they are somehow stifled, or repressed, by the relationship. All in all, it is a friendship, really. Something much deeper is there, but largely undeclared. I felt its intensity a few years ago when my wife fell ill, and for a short while I was terrified I might lose her. That was when I understood, after so many years, what love is.
    BTB, we got married in a Registry Office, 32 years ago. The reception was a dinner for immediate friends, and the only time I was ever frowned upon by my in-laws was when I suggested (jokingly) that there should be a dowry involved.

    Like

    1. The ceiling was probably possessed by the ghost of a mad ballerina, for it spun ceaselessly for two straight days. A little too much? Ah Sir, what else was there to do!
      A most interesting comment you’ve left here. You are a fine gentleman, Sir Frederick, the only misfortune being that the world is not peopled with men like you. Alas!

      Like

  10. First of all thanks for liking my post “Sound of the Early Morning’. Very happy to be directed to your blog. Love your writing style. I would love to discuss this topic in person as it is a very interesting one with very many different facets, and yes, wine would help. I live in a multicultural society where this type of marriage still exists but is slowly dissipating, as both women and men are seeing the light. I’ve been married for over 30 years. I have compromised much but in return I’ve been blessed with 3 great sons and a great husband. I am still my own person, with my own group of friends, hobbies and a career. Life is what you make it. I firmly believe that you can have what you want. Oh and please keep on writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello Denise!
    Sorry I missed out your comment, I haven’t been blogging lately.
    It’s lovely to hear your life story and thank you for sharing it.
    The last line touched my core deeply. I will keep on writing!

    Like

  12. Never give up hope, I believe you will find true love eventually out there in the universe. Your soul is like a brilliant star, glowing and pulsating with energy.You can achieve your dreams in life if you really desire to, with most dreams I believe that at least.

    Like

  13. I totally agree with you and understand your feelings about the significant amounts of money spent on weddings. It is the same way in my country, unless a couple chooses to have a smaller, less expensive wedding. But there are people who spend a lot of money on weddings that only last a day or two at the most, and then they are all over. Some people spend thousands, some spend hundreds of thousands, and I’m sure there’s more than a few who would spend millions just on a wedding. And you’re right, there’s always food that gets wasted, and its always sad to think about that because we both know there’s someone somewhere in need who could use it.

    I agree that it would be great if all that money was instead invested into something more beneficial to society like education, or how about even just making sure there are enough human and animal shelters so we are not leaving people and animals out in the cold to die. The truth of society in the United States, and it sounds like your country as well, is that people have the freedom and right to be selfish. No one is forced to donate to charity, so some of those who are suffering will continue suffering because there is not enough money being donated to end all the suffering that is going on, on this planet.

    There are definitely some people who receive the help and assistance they need though, whether financial, mental, or spiritual, and their suffering is alleviated for the moment. But due to the way the current economic system is set up, there will always be suffering in society because of all the injustices and unfair circumstances that the financial system creates. But we have to question what is causing all this suffering? And why? And why is the system of marriage in your country set up the way you described it in your post?

    Like

      1. I couldn’t tell you, as I haven’t visited the city in quite some time. As far as I know the rich continue to get richer, unless there has suddenly been a mass outpouring of donations to charitable organizations. Recently, I have been up in Maine, a truly beautiful state. A lot of the wilderness up here has been conserved. There are quite few people around this time of year. In the summer, the coastal town I’m staying in is always bustling with tourists. With the lack of jobs and harsh weather, it’s tough up here for people to make a living in the winter.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I went to visit the city recently and I was happy to see that someone had left many scarves tied around the trees in the boston common for anyone to take who needed them to stay warm. hopefully I will see more things like that in the city. small things like that can really make a difference in homeless peoples lives. being in the city seems to upset me often because I see the deplorable conditions that homeless people live in and it is very sad to see people trying to survive on the cold and harsh streets in the winter. I pray to God that they come upon better times soon.

        it seems I was never cut out to live in the city, but I still care about the people there regardless. whenever I see someone who is living in extreme poverty I am nearly almost sickened by the state of our society and brought to tears. it hits a little too close to home for me. not that I live in extreme poverty, but I can relate to their situation of not having money. I have stopped eating things I brought with me from home (too expensive to buy food in the city) multiple times when I’ve seen people digging out of trashcans. when I see things like that going on it makes me lose my appetite completely. not because I think what they are doing is disgusting but because I know there are plenty of wealthy people in the city and the fact that they wont do a little more to help out the homeless is utterly disturbing and depressing

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Hahaha…..fun to read….but now we also get married and in some cases, then get set freed, no. of anniversaries no bar, no of kids no bar….so think again….the binds are not as strong as they used to be 😉

    Like

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