These individuals can sense that feeling of being ‘misfits’ especially at weddings or get togethers. Or, even at party held at a friend’s place. Yes, I am talking about a special species here known as the single individuals. As if the caste hierarchy in our Indian society was not enough, this is another type of casteism. It won’t require those extraordinary wings of imagination to understand what I am talking about here. Here, those who are married are at the top of the ladder. If they have children, even better. The next in line are those who are engaged to be married (the most adored category). The next is those who are in a serious and committed relationship with the opposite sex (same sex is somewhat okay, but beta, marry a Brahmin only). The last ones in the hierarchy, who almost do not feature anywhere and are looked at with pity and sympathy, are those who are single. They say that actions speak louder than words. In this case it comes across prominently. At any gathering or the likes, people do not say anything to those who are single. But their expressions speak a thousand times louder. Their expressions echo their feelings like – ‘Oh, so sad. Don’t you feel lonely? Aren’t you missing anything sweetheart?’ Then the next (unnecessary) piece of advice is ‘why don’t you do something about it?’ Why hasn’t a girl like you not found someone till now? ‘tu niit shodhat nasshil’ (you are not looking out seriously and are not out there).
And if in all this, if you are in your late 20’s or 30 or above, hell breaks loose. Missiles in the form of questions and exclamations of amazement come hurtling across. A testimony to how deeply ingrained this idea that a girl or guy has to be with someone or else there is something wrong with him or her is the fact that people start doubting your sexual preferences. People don’t even hesitate to ask if you are a gay or lesbian if you do not have a girl friend or a boyfriend. You are constantly bombarded with this brilliant idea that there is possibly something colossally abnormal with you if are single and have not ‘gone all the way’.
I have been wondering since the past few years that has our society become intolerant towards single individuals? Is it like your existence as a single individual who is not in a relationship or married does not count? Why do people think it is their birth right to make these single individuals feel undeserving of happiness and that they should be morbid and miserable? Is being with someone your ticket to the so called nod of approval from the society?
I don’t know when this mentality will change. I hope it does.