Assuming the pressure to settle down and get married was more in the past. I wonder if some women, who experienced the same scrutiny in their youth, became more jaded and continued the ‘tradition’ of treating other young women the way they were treated. It is sad. Experiences either make you wounded or wise.
Some ‘aunties’ can be kinder because they understand as they experienced the same frustration. They learned and know that it is not okay to make others feel the same discomfort and pain someone in the past had made them feel. That is the kind of aunty, I want to be.
One of my friends in the US told me that it must be easy for Indian women to find husbands because they can go to their mothers and say, “Hi mom, I am a loser, find me a husband.”
I am at a loss for words when some Americans tell me about their perception of South Asian matrimony. The societal and cultural pressure to get married has made marriage quite repulsive to many people. Honestly, the idea of marriage is beautiful because it is a union between two people and their families to provide support and companionship.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is the importance of emotional support and genuine connections that help keep our sanity during these difficult times. We know that having a caring partner is more helpful than having no one during challenging times, but having no partner is better than being in a bad relationship.
I used to feel a lot of frustration and resentment towards those who asked me such questions and made those comments but maybe because I am much older now, I want to give them the benefit of the doubt that maybe they do not know how their words are affecting others. However, it is time for them to be aware.
It is important, irrespective of age, to acknowledge the consequences of what we say to others. It is important for children and adults to know and remember that you cannot take words back after they have been spoken, and that it is important to be mindful and aware of what we say and to whom.
Think before you speak is a useful advice for everyone, not just children and young people. Can we also request and expect that from the older generation? Before you say the first thing that comes to your mind to other people’s children, try to imagine how it would feel if someone said that to your children.
We all grew up in a society where people stare, gossip, and make up stories about us. Let’s try to stop that and try to give the next generation the life we wish we had.
Let women choose their freedom and the way they want to live their lives. Let women choose their own happiness, whatever it may be. Let’s let women be happy if they want to get married and let them be happy if they don’t.
*Names have been changed.
Anjana Rajbhandary writes this fortnightly Nepali Times column Life Time about socio-cultural issues, mental health and physical health.