An afternoon chat between two friends.
“So, when are you getting married?” Ritu asked, voice hesitant.
Lazing around on a sunday afternoon, Ritu wasn’t sure this was the ideal time to broach a subject so hated by Naina, yet it needed to be done. Naina’s mother had called her in the morning and had almost broken down over the phone. Her pleas still rang in Ritu’s ear, so alike her own mother.
“She is twenty nine, almost on the verge of thirty and she still keeps on singing the same tune since she was a child! Tell me, Ritu beta, isn’t it childish of her to say she is never getting married? She won’t let me look for a boy. Arey, she won’t even find a boy herself. She has reached a certain age. Who will marry her after that? Oh, her so called modern thoughts isn’t even the only problem. Not only she is living in an apartment by herself, she is sharing it with an unmarried boy who is- what they call it?- Gay. I’m putting up with all this, aren’t I? I am growing old. She could at least let me dies in peace. Why won’t she-”
“Aunty ji, I will talk to her. Please don’t worry.” It was clean Naina’s mother, Sunaina, wasn’t keen on ceasing her tirade any time soon. So, Ritu was forced to interrupt.
“Oh my god, Ritu!” Naina replied dramatically, her legs dangling in the air from where she was half laid down on the bed, “You’ve joined the dark side too? Of course, you have, you’re a married woman now.”
“And you’re still a drama queen. Dark side,” Ritu scoffed, tucking her legs in as she rested her head on the headboard.
“Well, what else is this? It’s the messed up side of our society that just can’t wrap their head around the concept that a woman could be unmarried after thirty.” Naina’s demeanour was calm, but she was clearly gearing up for a heated discussion.
“You have to get married and have kids someday.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Yes, you do. No matter how much you try to deny it, you do. Society won’t let you live in peace otherwise.”
“Nor will my family,” Naina muttered. “But at least the chaos would be of my choice.”
“Come on, Marriage isn’t that bad. Look at me! I’m happy, aren’t I?” Ritu said, her hands flailing at her side to emphasis her point.
“You are, but my Mom isn’t and she still expect me to,” Naina made quoting motions, “Settle down.”
“So, what are you saying? You’re never getting married? What about children? You don’t want them either?”
“Noisy little monsters who are depended on me when I can barely take care of myself? No, Thank you. They are great when they are someone else’s but your own kids? Spare me the horror.”
“Drama queen,” Ritu repeated, emphasising on her earlier remark. “Let me get this straight, staying single for life and no kids. What are you going to do then?” She raised an eyebrow. “Travel the world.”
“Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. Maybe I will just keep on doing my five to nine p.m. job until I’m retired, live a routine life, play the favourite aunt to your children and just die at an appropriate age. Maybe I would even adopt one day or maybe I would just stay alone. I just know I don’t want to get married and that’s something that’s never going to change. I’m not cut out for it.”
When Ritu really thought about it, Naina has always been an inconsistent person. Her mood and mind changes in the span of a minute. However, over the years, there was one thing she never changed her mind on, and it was this. Naina loathed weddings. Or maybe it wasn’t hate, it was a high level of indifference.
“Why? Why are you so against the concept?” Ritu asked, looking intently at Naina. It felt like a scene from a movie to her. Naina would listen to her question, contemplate and give her an answer about something that happened in her past.
Nothing like that happened.
Naina only shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s not the concept I’m against. Like I said, you look happy and there are so many people out there who genuinely are. It really all boils down to not suiting it. I am not that girl and that all there is to it. Somethings in life aren’t for everyone. What could be good for you could be apocalyptic for me and vice versa. It’s all about choices and I would like to make my own.”
Ritu understood. On some level, she did.
Humans are different, their lives and thoughts are different and it’s genuinely silly to try and mold them into someone they aren’t. It never works out they way we want it to and backfires in ways we couldn’t imagine.
Ritu thinks, maybe next time, she would just listen to Aunty’s long speeches instead of forcing Naina on to something she isn’t ready for.