The perfect wife material ft. the neighbours

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If being single confuses you more than it should, this rant from yours truly might help you get in touch with those emotions

Words by Likhitha P Nair

Being a girl child in a traditional Indian household has its own perks. Throughout your growing years, you will never be asked to ‘go on your own’, ‘find it out on your own’ or to ‘earn it yourself’. The expectations that your family and society has from you is at bare minimum, until the day you turn 18. Starting the ‘adulting’ phase, the rest of your single life is spent convincing every aunty uncle and older married person in the locality as to why you are not married yet. There are paradoxes surrounding this concept that I never managed to decipher. And I am listing down a few. I hope you feel me.

1) The hair

Honestly, if you are born in a Malayali household, you would know how these useless dead cells growing on your scalp, making you spend on conditioners can gracefully spoil your peace of mind. This is the 21st century where women vote, drive a truck and stuff. But just before you sit down for a hair cut, you need to think twice, phone your mother and she will tell you how no mother-inlaw will actually like a girl with short hair, hang up, ponder over how much the approval of this hypothetical judgemental lady matters to you, spend the next two hours wondering how this is even happening to you, and then decide to actually go ahead and cut that hair. True story.

2)The too-thin, too-fat paradox

Imagine Schrodinger’s cat. Like the theory suggests, the cat is simultaneously dead and alive until the time the box is actually opened and someone takes a non-judgemental look at it. Now this happens to most of us. We are either too thin or too fat until our actual wedding day. Depending on the clothes we wear, we are told by the neighborhood if we need to lose weight or gain some. (Because really, your body image is a community issue). But on the upside, the moment you get married, you are free to be a barrel or a stick. Because they don’t care anymore.

3)The cooking

Cooking is really not an important life skill. As compared to, may be knowing how to deactivate a bomb. Right? Yet, we hit that moment of shame when we cannot manage to make the perfect sambar. I remember how every school vacation, my mom used to teach me how to cook, and by the end of next year I gracefully forgot every single thing she taught me, disappointing her to the core. Anyhow, I went on to live alone in different cities for a span of eight years and returned home with decent cooking skills that would help me not starve and my mom is still apprehensive. Like I said, things we will never understand.

4) Making your appearance

Now, this one has prologues and implications that are hard to reason with. When we hit teenage, most of us stop going to family functions, because 1) Too boring 2)No wifi 3)Got better things to do than talk to auntys with existential crisis. But once you hit early twenties, you are forced more than usual to be a part of these family gatherings.

Reasons could be broadly divided into two categories – a) The spotting. Most aunties and uncles spot you and think about their friend’s or colleague’s son who is also not married and then come tell your mother, “arreh! Sahi Rishta hai”. The second one, and this is usually a well-known secret, if you don’t show up and sweet talk, “tere shaadi pe kaun aayega?” (who will come to your wedding?). I have wanted to say Mumford and Sons, but then sense of humour is like short hair. Nobody likes it. Okay?

I know a lot of you read this and went “yeah, I know right”. But I recommend not showing this article to your folks. The mature thing to do, is to have a laugh, and rest assured that you are not alone out there. So hang on sista!