She was 21 then. Very pretty and used to look out of the world in a saree, attending a wedding. She was a college kid but that didn’t stop anyone from coming up with marriage proposals because everyone wanted a pretty daughter-in-law like her. She is 31 now, a successful professional, still very pretty and still single. The proposals at weddings that used to amuse her before amusing her still. She has decided she is happy with the single life but people around her aren’t. The matchmaking drama continues. If you are single during the Indian wedding season you will be able to identify with this.
The elders present at the ceremony are likely to make you feel like a leper with their questions and cross-questions. Such is the Indian marriage conundrum. You might as well carry a bottle of vodka with you to gulp down to survive this ordeal and if you can manage to come out of it unscathed then just go ahead and give yourself a bravery award.
And in case you want a survival guide for attending a wedding when you are single then you have come to the right place.
12 Things you will face if you are single during the Indian wedding season
Be ready to juggle all kinds of proposals, comments and advice that could drive you up the wall. If you are single take a deep breath and maybe do some pre-wedding meditation before you don that expensive lehenga. Because you will need everything you have to dodge those verbal missiles. It’s not easy but we assure you you will survive an Indian wedding being single.
1. My son is a doctor
This comes from the aunties who have nothing better to do than to hunt down single women with hawk eyes. You could replace the doctor with an engineer, professor, etc. But the thought behind it remains the same – “You are a single woman and so is my son. So the two of you should get hitched.”
You are right – no one has told them that something like chemistry and compatibility exists.
Being single is the only criterion that makes you eligible to get married to a random aunty’s son. He earns well and what about you? Your career dreams should be on the compromising lines. After all, you will have to take care of household, have kids, and raise a family.
Thank you but no thank you aunty.
2. What kind of man are you looking for?
Being single in India means relatives have the incessant desire to do matchmaking at marriages.
Indian wedding crowds are the unbeatable places for unwelcome marriage proposals. You are asked about the man of your dreams as if he is waiting for you at the wedding functions. As if when you’ll start describing his qualities, some Raj Malhotra will be walking towards you in slow motion with romantic music being played in the background.
After all, it is a blasphemy to be an Indian girl who is above 25 and is unmarried.
Yes, please read that as a sarcastic comment. Yes, to shut them up you could give them the reply, “I am not looking for a man. I like women!” Watch her reaction!
The ball gets in your court!
3. Will you plan such a luxurious wedding?
Oh, didn’t you know that there is a “big wedding” contest that is running in India? Funny as it may sound, most relatives at an Indian wedding feel this way. They don’t realize that you might be a woman who would rather spend lakhs travelling than get married. When such mindsets would change, only the Lord knows. But be happy that you are single at an Indian wedding and you are not getting into a situation like this anytime soon.
Tell them, “I am riding solo.” And see their reaction.
4. Why are you still alone?
You might be busy building your career or you might be still healing your heart after a bitter break up. However, none of that matters to the relatives if you are a single woman of marriageable age in India.
It’s high time when you must get a ‘complete’ family, ‘settle down’ in time, and take care of your ghar-grahasthi. After all, this is the sole reason of your existence. For how long you will be struggling with singleness?
If they happen to find out through the grapevine that you are still alone they will not leave you alone. They are sure to make you feel as if you are making one of the greatest mistakes in your life by not getting married.
5. Why aren’t you married?
Have you crossed your mid-20s and are you still single? If you are and you are attending an Indian marriage then may the Lord be with you for you are going to be asked why you are still not hitched. It will make you cringe.
You might also listen to comments like – “If you won’t marry at the correct age, you will not find suitable men. You’ll have to compromise with your standards.” And “you don’t know about the difficulties of being single that women have to go through.”
Maybe you should have your sneakers on so that you can run when you see such a situation approaching. And when you are away at a long distance you can smile that you are still single and survived another Indian wedding.
Pro tip: Try to mingle with singles (minus the romance if you are not ready).
6. Why didn’t you dress up well?
Even if you wear your best attire, do your hair, wear your makeup, there will be those who will tell you that you don’t look good enough. No, I don’t know what their idea of dressing up means.
This is another one among the lot of struggles of being a single woman. Even if you will be dolled up like a diva, all eyes will be set on you with the question “are you trying to impress someone to get hitched?” And those prying eyes will be of those judgmental aunties.
Maybe they are hunting for their mirror image who comes dressed in heavy clothes and still heavier jewelry. And yes they are married, of course. So that means it increases your chances. WOW!
Recommended Reading: Effective Tips On How To Talk To Single Women Without Causing Offence
7. Do you like him?
The suddenness of this question might catch you by surprise but you will be astonished to know how closely you have been watched during the function.
Maybe there was a man who had made polite conversation with you for a few minutes, or maybe there was a common friend who was just saying hello – but all that does not matter to the relatives because by then, in their minds, they have finished detailing your marriage and have already gone onto planning your children’s names.
Among the host of challenges single ladies face, this one is super annoying. Even your actions and the people you talk to are minutely noticed!
Sigh! The Indian marriage conundrum.
8. Your biological clock is ticking
If you are single during the Indian marriage season chances are you have ducked this question a thousand times.
While attending a marriage function, a girl will find relatives turning doctor and telling her how quickly she is aging, how her biological clock is ticking, how having babies will get tougher with time.
An unmarried boy in India does not face this but an unmarried girl in India does. Such is our society. No, you can’t do a thing to keep their tongues from wagging unless you can quickly find a mithai and stuff that into their mouths.
But make sure, you do that with a smile or else you will be labeled as a frustrated woman who is struggling to get married. Because you know, they are so considerate about single life struggles of a woman.
9. You are next
No, they don’t mean that you are next in line to become the world’s richest woman. Their only concern in life is how to get that ring on your finger. You might want to ax them down for this but maybe just make do with a cup of coffee.
What adds to single girl problems is the sentimental attack of parents, grandparents, or even elderly relatives. They will gang up as matchmakers to set you up with a suitable man. After all, weddings are get together of eligible bachelors to put their bachelorhood at end.
10. Can I get you something to eat?
The aunty who is hunting for a bride for her son might have found you sitting in one corner, while you were giving yourself a breather. Know this – she will stick to you like a leech, and keep feeding you till you say “Okay” or burst – whichever happens sooner.
Trap alert! Think of a smart way to escape.
Recommended Reading: 6 Questions Indian Single Women In Their 30’s Are Tired Of Hearing
11. Please choose him
Yes, this one is likely to come from your parents who, and you can bet on it, would have been socializing during the ceremony like there is no tomorrow. And the moment they find an ‘eligible bachelor’ he is considered to be as rare as the black rose. Quite naturally thus, your parents cannot give up the chance of getting you married to him – if possible on the same day itself!
12. Why can’t you make me happy also?
I saved the ‘best’ for last.
And this one is marked in golden letters in the scriptures on being a single woman who is constantly being pushed to tie the knot at the earliest.
Just when the couple begins to take their marriage vows you will have your mother come up to with her eyes all teary and tell you how much she dreams of seeing you get married. Yes, you might feel anger rising within you, but she is your mother.
Just leave it as a silent smile or a tight hug and keep the talking and explaining for a later time.
It is true that women look as lovely as a bride. However, there are unmarried girls in India who have dreams other than the big fat Indian wedding to pursue. It is about time people began respecting that.
1. What are the challenges of being single?
Society just cannot stand single women. Be it unmarried, divorced, or widowed women. Most especially, it is annoying when women, who do not have an identity and are known only by virtue of having a rich and resourceful husband, question independent women.
Men consider a single woman nothing more than an opportunity. Such people think that a woman can’t exist without a man. She has to be available or she is a hoe. Single women who don’t need a man are a myth. People can lay their ulterior motives on her conveniently.
She is constantly fed the thought that it’s a man world. For a safe and settled life, she has to be with a man. Nobody cares what sort of a life partner she desires.
They are looked upon as defaulters who are not associated with a man. They are not allowed to be themselves, are judged, harassed, and forced to get married.
Single women need to feel accepted and respected in the society.
If you are indeed concerned, then make her comfortable, make her feel accepted, give her respect. The question is, are we ready for such a change in mindset?
2. What should you not say to a single woman?
Single women are subjected to scrutiny and judgements. Being single isn’t easy. People have a host of questions and unwelcome things to say to single women. Apart from those mentioned above, some of the things that people should not say to a single woman are –
“You should try harder to get a good guy.”
Every single woman tries to escape this dead conversation. Why not leave it to her if she wants to try hard or not at all? What if she is happy with her career and single status?
“You still haven’t met the right guy.”
Because she might be coping up with a breakup or looking for better options. After all, it’s her who will decide with whom to spend her life as she knows her worth. She wants someone who understands her desire of balancing home and career, and respects it.
“Don’t wait too long to have babies.”
Only she will decide when she is ready to have babies. She also has the option to freeze her eggs and use when she wants. Single women know about their biological clock and know how to control it.
“Your life is so exciting! I’m so jealous.”
She gets the sarcasm.
“I’ve got the perfect guy to set you up with.”
No thanks please. She can decide who is perfect for her. Or she might not be looking for a perfect guy and seeking a flawed person who enjoys her companionship.
“What happened to… what was his name?”
NEVER. She might already be struggling to overcome the heartbreak he caused. This question might push her back to the trauma she has somehow recovered or still recovering from.
3. Does being single affect mental health?
Yes, it does. It increases psychological growth and self-determination. Single people have less negative emotions, less stress, and are more self sufficient. They are more productive, creative, happy, and contented in various aspects of life. Sense of self-satisfaction, freedom, and closer friendships are also seen among single people. They know themselves better and build self-resilience without relying on others.