The early twenties are a strange and confusing time. Everyone you know is doing different things. Up until we ‘grow up’, everything we did was similar or at least on the same track. That is not the case now. A few are married, some others are engaged, yet others are working and some folks even started their own businesses. Some among those who got married even have a child by now and there are others pursuing higher studies.
Sounds familiar? Of course it does. We are expected to grow up emotionally in such a short span of time. It’s exhausting and mentally draining. One minute, we are a bunch of young students trying to get through the day. From waking up early enough to make it to an early class to staying up all night studying for exams.
And the next minute you are expected to adult.
This has its own rules and expectations – and they are different for boys and girls.
All the boys are expected to get a job; obviously. They need to start saving and help out the family and in time get ready to look after a family of their own; financially. Because the rest will be looked after by their ‘highly educated’ and ‘down to earth’ but ‘ready to give up her career’ to be a ‘stay at home’ kind of wife. At least that’s what the so called elders in the society we unfortunately live in expect.
All the girls have rishtas waiting. Either study further and get it all done once and for all, or get married and see if she wants to work. But then they expect her to have a child because THE CLOCK is ticking and having children is more important than career and daring to dream. If there is a child involved in this picture perfect family, she is confined to the four walls of her home now. Because nothing can beat motherhood. That is the highest and the only achievement women should concentrate on.
To all those who are going to call out saying things are different now or that women don’t get treated like that anymore and they work and manage both very well; tell that to all the women who come out with their stories of pain and shade they experience from the society for wanting it all. They even get termed as ‘very modern’ or ‘forward’ where in fact all they are doing is adapting. Unlike before, things are changing for the better for women regarding equal rights and equal treatment now. Even though the change is slow and comes with a price, it’s still there.
Our generation is not going to sit back and be the prefect bahu as they still portray in serials and movies and let the backwards generation tell us to live like it’s the ’90s. We want the same things that men want. That doesn’t make us forward or loose.
Also read: Letter to My Right-Wing Uncle
Maybe, just maybe, if all these stigma and pre-conceived notions were removed from society, the older generations wouldn’t have to ask what mental health is or why is it a big deal now. And no, just practicing yoga isn’t going to make it go away. People had issues back then too, but the consequences for speaking openly was far worse. Not that everything is merry now; but the stigma surrounding mental health is slowly fading.
If only all the uncles and aunties stopped giving unwanted gyan and telling us when the right time to get married and/or to have a child is, especially when choosing to not have children is also an option. Shoving names of specialists and homemade remedies to increase fertility in our faces is not cute or polite. Talking about the benefits and impact it has on our bodies is not a good enough reason to make us want to start popping babies. People have children because they want to and they believe they are ready. It shouldn’t be a compulsion that needs to be checked off of the to-do list before we hit 30.
Wouldn’t it be nice if these people, who think it’s their right to give us a list of suitable grooms as a birthday present because we turned twenty something without getting married, first helped us get a job interview instead? Or understood that being an independent woman is normal and not compare that to their good old days where women had little opportunities to follow their passion? A good book or a great pair of shoes as a present would be an improvement.
Wouldn’t it be better if they taught men to share responsibilities at household chores instead of looking for a girl who can do it all? Hire a maid if you must, don’t look for a bahu. It’s not the same. Stop normalising it.
If you think sexism doesn’t exist and women have the same rights as men, does a term whose meaning is same as ‘loose women’ for men exist? It’s unfair how people are quick to judge women’s morals for doing the same things men do without getting called crude names.
It’s still frowned upon when a women works hard to advance her career despite being a mother. Travelling for work? Who is going to look after the child? In all of this, where is the father? Is he not involved in looking after the well-being of their child?
So, dear uncles and aunties, stop being so damn responsible. You may think you are helping by being a free matrimony service provider, but in all honestly you are not. There is no fixed time to do anything. Everything is manmade and it is time this ridiculous tradition of targeting young women who have barely seen the world with more responsibilities even before they’re ready stop. You do not get to choose that for them by calculating their age.
To hell with the clock. Let it tick.
Featured image credit: Unsplash