All our lives we’re told that we don’t need to do something just because others are doing them. That we don’t need to follow the crowd to be a part of it. We’re told to stand up for what we believe in and stay true to ourselves... Then why is it that when it comes to marriage, all of this goes down the drain? Why is it that when it comes to getting married, we’re left with nothing but the age-old opinions of people that haven’t changed or progressed in years? Why is it that my life, as a woman, will not be seen as ‘complete’ until I get married?
I turn 25 this November, and all of a sudden, I see so many of my friends jumping on to the shaadi bandwagon. They feel the pressure too, you see. The pressure that society has built around us young girls. Yes, 25 is young! I barely know what I want out of life yet. My life, which will still be complete and wholesome if a man doesn’t come rescue me soon enough. If I don’t even understand myself fully yet, how am I supposed to understand, let alone live with someone else?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to the idea of marriage - at all. In fact, I think it’s a beautiful concept. I am not even scared of commitment. It's just that I am not ready for marriage. I want to be able to decide and choose when I want to get married on my own. I want it to be a decision that I make because I've found the right partner, someone I want to spend my life being married to. Not a decision I make because that’s what everyone around me thinks is right. And definitely not because all my friends are getting married.
What disappoints me the most about this whole situation is that it is women who pressurize other women and encourage them to go down this path when they are far from ready. I see my friends, some of whom are in steady relationships and thinking about getting married, some who recently got married, and some far from reaching that point - but all of them have the same opinion. Their opinion is that there is a ‘right’ time for a woman to get married. They are right...in a way. There is a right time for everyone to get married - it just doesn’t have anything to do with age.
My father once told me that the partner you choose in life determines a lot of what your life will look like after. Your life partner will affect you more than you can imagine - because he will invariably become the most important person in your life. So when it comes to choosing this partner and deciding to live with him forever, shouldn’t I be allowed to take my time? Isn’t it better to have waited longer than not have waited at all simply because I feel a certain amount of pressure as a young girl in this country?
My friends are all deciding to get married, one after the other. And I am happy for them. That, I hope, is the right decision for them. That is the path they are choosing to take and the life they are choosing to live. Perhaps they have found the partners they’ve been waiting for - and both parties feel ready to take the next step. I, on the other hand, don’t feel ready enough to take that step just yet. I have my own journey to go on, and things will happen in my life as they are meant to. I truly believe that. I wish my parents, friends, relatives and society in general would stop pressuring young girls to get married just because they’ve turned a certain age that people think is ‘right’ for marriage.
So for now, I’m going to stick to my guns and fight this pressure off. Because l don’t need to do anything to satisfy this notion people have of ‘Ladki ki umar ho gayi hai. Iske baad koi nahi milega.’ Milega, don’t worry! And the day I feel ready, and so does my partner, no one will have to tell me to take that step.