“If it were up to me…I won’t get married in the next five years.’ I casually expressed my opinion during a discussion on a girl who was getting married the next week. I was not expecting the meaningful silence that followed, and then the barrage of comments. ‘Really?’ ‘Why not? You are in Masters and took a year’s break after Bachelors, so must be around 24…do you plan to get married when you’re 30? Who will marry you then?’ I stared at the perky girls, dressed in jeans and latest tops, not really believing that the fashionable and ‘modern’ girls of Kinnaird College were saying these things. ‘Well, I want to achieve some things in my life first, and getting married is not on the top list right now.’ I replied, a bit sharply this time and in a tone that dictated that the discussion is over.
But the incident forced me to remember things to I never paid any attention earlier on, like a smug and intolerable 26 year old cousin of mine, a mother of three; constantly asking me, ‘so what’s the plan– engaged yet?’ Is that how a girl’s achievements are measured, even those of the modern ones? The ones who proudly promote feminism and are all for the concept of working women, choosing their own life partners, equal rights in marriage, and having their own lives after marriage?
Surprisingly it was a male friend of mine who offered the most reasonable explanation for this saying girls are taught right from the very beginning that they should achieve what they want to, have a job, secure higher degrees, but the ultimate goal is—marriage. According to him, I am a nature’s abnormality, not wanting to get married at all. ‘Not even for kids?’ he asked me, ‘I am told that kids are a woman’s weakness.’ Well, maybe I am weird, maybe I am unnatural, call me crazy but I don’t think kids are any reason to get married, or to stay in a marriage. My mother seems constantly engaged in looking for a proposal for me as well, and I invest my energies praying with all my heart she doesn’t find one until five years are gone. Because being a ‘good’ daughter, I cannot say no to them, and so don’t want to make my parents face the taunts of our relatives, I smiled and replied to my cousin the next time she worried about my plans for marriage, ‘Well, there are achievements in life, other than producing three children in four years!’