I was traveling on the bus when I overheard a conversation of two ladies sitting just opposite to me. That’s the problem of public transport. I thought as soon as I heard one of them saying,
“I don’t understand why her mother doesn’t find her a suitable groom. She is 29, almost 30.”
I tried to concentrate on The Time Keeper, which I issued from the library three weeks before and couldn’t complete it due to my packed schedule. I was hoping to finish it today. Not again.. I kept on regretting, but couldn’t close my ears.
I slightly moved my eyes away from the book and pretended to look out. I gave them a quick glance and to my surprise both of them weren’t traditional old ladies. They were in western clothes and seemed to be in early thirties. So gossiping isn’t confined to age- that was my first lesson of the day.
The conversation grew more dramatic when the second lady responded,
“I have heard she has a boyfriend. I have often seen her leaving a house with i-seek-attention-makeup all over her face.”
This gave me a slight jerk, I looked up and saw her powdered with colorful cosmetic, which could give illusion of a fondant cake to any viewer.
“Oh exactly!” Exclaimed the first lady with such a big grin as if she was able to convince the judge to give a verdict against that thirty-years-old-unmarried-girl.
“But isn’t that her parents’ responsibility to control such a daughter? Had I been a mother, I would have locked her inside the house till her marriage.”
“Seriously. My mother wouldn’t have ever let me go out alone. Such a shame to have a mother like her.”
“One day, they will regret giving their daughter so much freedom when she would stigmatize their name.”
“Forget it. Who cares. Why should we gossip?”
“True. Let’s pray this girl finds a husband.”
Though the conversation was over but they switched to some wedding ceremony. I got down on my stop and kept thinking all my way home. I kept wondering how much I had been the talk of gatherings when I decided to continue my studies right after my marriage rather bearing children. I would be questioned in every gathering. I was given long lectures by unknown grannies at wedding parties. I was questioned about my reproductive organ and its function. The questions never ended. I just got used to of them. I thought a childless lady is the only one who suffers from curiosity of the world unless I met a woman with two daughters.
“They ask me all the time when would I give a brother to my daughters. I am scared to get pregnant because the session of may-you-have-a-son-this-time blessings will start all over again.” When one of my friends told me this I was relieved and saddened. Relived, because I wasn’t the only one in the curious world; saddened, because why such wrong curiosity?
I know a lady who has done double masters and earns a good money. She drives her own car and lives an independent life. She asked me one day, “Pray I get marry soon. I am such a burden on my parents.”
BURDEN? AND YOU? You work! You earn more than me! I screamed!
“Yes dear.. But you see I am emotionally a burden on them.”
Now what’s that?
“They are questioned all the time about my marriage. People are spreading rumors about me.”
So let them spread! Let them talk! You will marry when it would be the right time. Take it easy!
“No it’s not easy!” She lost her cool. “You can’t understand. Because you are married. No, it isn’t easy. You will never understand since you got married in early twenties!”
I wanted to say Relax but then I decided to stay quite. She would have thrown a vase on my head on asking her to relax while she was worrying from curious world’s question.
I wanted to say that I can understand! As I answer these questions from time to time. I am a childless woman for almost 8 years and this has somehow made me escapist. I don’t have any social circle. I don’t attend parties. I don’t visit my relatives. I don’t… well list is long. But I don’t ask anyone to pray! Not because I don’t love kids. I adore them so much that during half of my free time I watch kids’ videos. (That’s another thing I end up thanking God for giving me such a long period of newly-wed life. Some mommies have uploaded THINK-BEFORE-HAVING-CHILDREN type videos, enough to give chills to any normal person) I don’t ask people to pray because this make them hear ‘Okay! Ask me question! Ask me lots of personal questions! I’m ready!’ and they never resist getting personal. I know you’d be thinking Not everyone asks such questions. Yes, not everyone asks questions but they do give you a hint that they are interested in fertility-conversation. For instance,
“You know, I always pray for you to be a mother soon.” And some are like,
“Yesterday I called my aunt. You know she got pregnant after ten years of her marriage. She got her treatment from Dr.XYZ. I thought I should tell you. Who knows some miracle happen.”
And I try to lull my heart to sleep who forces the tongue to yell and say, The only miracle I need is you to stop telling me this so called aunt’s story whose doctor might even be dead by now.
But we can’t do that, right? We need to be a sophisticated citizen. We are taught to behave gently. We have always been advised to be patient. But how long? Is there any end to curious world’s useless questions?
The other important problem with our society is that they constantly compare a working woman with homemaker. They have some specialized technology through which they can measure that working women don’t cook at come or they have zero talent of making even a salad. The other opinions they often have about working ladies,
“Oh you are so lucky! You can hangout anytime!”
And you scream: I GO OUT TO WORK NOT TO PARTY!!!! But you don’t. (Remember, you are a civilized, mature woman)
And sometimes even the sophisticated ones ask, “Who cooks and do the laundry for you?” and I grin and grin and grin! You see I can’t say, Darling! I have hired Aladdin’s genie for next 100 years. Do you need this service?
This might sound a useless article with no hope of bringing change. I don’t aim to change the curious world. Curious will be curious! They feed their curiosity to make them feel good. To make them feel their situation is somehow better than yours. They will keep asking you questions about your salary, the food you eat, your body, and many things which they shouldn’t be concerned about. They will ask you these questions to feed their insecurities. Some people enjoy seeing miseries. They love hearing stories of heartbreak, failed marriage, loneliness or poverty. Just watch out! Don’t feed Mr. Hyde. Remember, you aren’t the only one going through some problem. We all are in battlefield, and only ones who lose this battle are the ones who give attention to questions. People gossip because they have no other job. People hurt because they can’t love. People question because they don’t want their answers to be out. SO you see it’s they who should be worrying, not you.
Surround yourself with positive people! Encourage someone! Help somebody! Write a positive note in your diary! Slowly you would distant yourself from all the negative vibes. I might not have a big social circle, but I do have a few valuable people. Your closed ones might not motivate you, but at least they never make you run away through their meaningless words. At the end, it’s YOU who is always a cool breeze on a hot summer day!