I remember days when my colleagues/well-wishers would pester me to get married. The sessions would start as a joke, escalate to levels which could be easily sample cases of sexual harassment by co-workers, and would invariably end in one of them wise ladies saying, ‘Jokes apart. I want to see you happy. Don’t get married if you don’t want to but be in a relationship with a wonderful guy.’ The hysteria would die and others would sober up and nod in chorus. The conversations would keep me thinking long afterwards. Somethings that were spoken about, I would share with my mother; doubts I would clear up with one of best friends—P; and the parts that I understood but was too embarrassed to share with anyone I would try to forget. Even though I laughed with everyone during the late afternoon sessions when all of us would be taking a break, to the horror of our male colleagues, these talks left me feeling a little lonely and thinking that I was missing something vital. There would be days when I would be busy in some social engagement or the other and would not have enough time to brood over what was said. Those were good days. However, days when time was a plenty, I would start by laughing to myself remembering something that was said. Invariably I would then move on to being depressed thinking that maybe such bliss was not my cup of tea.
There were many, who, through my twenties told me I was old enough to be married. Others warned, ‘If you pass the marriageable age, all the good guys will be off the market.’ I responded with nervous laughter sometimes. On other occasions I would cheekily quip, ‘Achi cheez banne mein time lagta hai. The boy is getting ready to match up to my expectations.’ I believed in the statement only 5% of the time. I hated everyone who told me to lower my expectations and to not be too choosy. Some would think that telling me that my mother was a cancer patient and might not be around long enough to see me tie the knot was the best way to convince me to cross the threshold. As if that thought did not haunt me every minute of every day.
Now, I live with a man. The world and I call him my husband. He takes care of me. Loves me to the point of cherishing me. I understand the bliss that my colleagues and friends so oft spoke about. Having pop-corn while watching a movie in our house, tucked in the cushions of the sofa, suddenly I get transported in time and I think about what L had said or V had remarked. A smile spreads across my face as I realize all that they wished for me has come true. And how!
I wish the same bliss for my unmarried/single friends. I wish that they find someone they can bully into buying a chocolate for them at the end of the day. Someone they can ask to cook for them on a lazy Saturday. I wish they find someone who makes them laugh and whose eyes well up when he sees them cry. I wish them bliss.
But I want them to wait for the guy who makes the world go round for them. I don’t want anyone to lower their standards or expectations. Finding love in your thirties is better. You can share all the mischief and misfortune of your twenties with your partner. They weren’t there so the bag of stories remains sufficiently full to entertain each other on long, never-ending drives. Since you missed each other during the troubling twenties, you end up valuing each other much more. Doing silly things doesn’t seem too silly if it makes the other smile. I want my closest friends to experience all this and more.
I might sound full of mush. Some might be squiggling their noses at what I have written. Some might agree to what I say and others might define love and marriage based on their experiences. To each his/her own. But for my closest friends I wish bliss. The kind of bliss where you fight bitterly with a person and then rest your head on their shoulder while your tears soak their favourite t-shirt.