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A major cause of worry for me these days is the rapidly dwindling percentage of unmarried people among my galaxy of acquaintances. When invited to the engagement, wedding or baby shower of an erstwhile friend, we, the miserable minority of bachelors and spinsters, survive the ordeal with weak smiles and high-octane mental bashing. I say erstwhile friend because we partially boycott those who get hitched. Not out of jealousy or the like, but rather out of empathy. By boycotting them, we ostensibly intend to spare them the guilt of saying NO to invites for myriad unhitched-people-infested occasions (for the real reasons, read ahead). The rare text or phone call goes asking after the spouse, the extended family, the job and so on, and concludes with the ever unfulfilled "Let's catch up soon!" No, let me correct myself. It is pretty much always a text conversation, never a phone call. And in case we run into each other after a long time, the usual pleasantries follow with much haste on both sides. In simpler times, it was thug life talk. "Kahan gayab tha be ch****e. Chal ab daaru pila."
By boycotting them, we ostensibly intend to spare them the guilt of saying NO to invites for a myriad unhitched-people-infested occasions...
While the erstwhiles remark that married life, if isolated from social factors, is akin to acclimatizing with a new roommate, through our lens though, they are now "adults" -- synonymous with traitors, smarty-pants, bade-log... you get the drift.
The resentment starts when one of the miserable minority announces their imminent wedlock. Aware of our propensity, they try to placate us with, "It is not as you imagine. We will keep meeting all the time", "Of course, we will still be friends!", "No! We will not get sucked into the married people black-hole. It is not a black-hole!", "Please try to understand, I want to spend my life with him. Someday you will want someone like that too"...
Nonetheless, they find themselves boycotted. After the ostentatious nuptials and the phoren honeymoon, they extend the olive branch. The erstwhile friend and the tolerant spouse host parties, dole out souvenirs and swap seemingly funny anecdotes which only the other married ones understand. We try our best to maintain a friendly demeanour, fully mindful of the Antarctic ice-wall developing between us. Respectfully, we withdraw and peace out, while they reach out to the other erstwhiles to form the married majority club.
In the past three months, I have witnessed three of my closest friends getting married. I am unsure if they know about their boycott yet.
God forbid if they get pregnant. It is a total embargo.
In the past three months, I have witnessed three of my closest friends getting married. I am unsure if they know about their boycott yet. Understandably, owing to the spate of these recent unions, I have learnt not to place my well-founded trust on the remaining members of the almost non-existent singles club. If one day I am bitching to a person about another's recent wedding, the next day, the person hands me a nimantran (invitation) to his wedding. Undoubtedly, in my world, marriages have become as commonplace and inevitable as Ross's divorces. I admit that my own hostility towards them surprises me. So, baffled by my acrimony towards their matrimony, I set off to my Mind Palace in an attempt to interpret my revulsion and fear. In a series of enlightenments, here's what I realised:
1. Why do I want to shun the married ones?: (a) Because we had a deal! We were supposed to be different from the rest of the crowd. What became of that, haan? Deserter! (b) Because they are proper adults now. Remember when you were young, how you thought you'd never be afflicted with "the Elders" disease? Remember how innocently you prayed to God to not turn you into an Elder -- the boring, worn-out entity with an unvarying frown on the face, who seemed to be burdened with oh-so-many responsibilities and forever complaining about not being able to catch a breath? (c) Because the changes in their lives has affected you. There is a consistent emptiness in your weekend plans, long chats, late nights, in your sentiments and so on.
We had a deal! We were supposed to be different from the rest of the crowd. What became of that, haan? Deserter!
2. How many will I boycott?: Eventually the singles club will dissolve. That means almost all of them will be tied in holy matrimony. Only my special friend and I will remain, in infinite denial.
3. The scheming universe will want to domesticate you: Some will fall prey to it sooner, some later, some will manage to rebel and escape. However, no one will remain unscathed.
4. God doesn't care: S/he is up there, tittering, watching the tamasha with popcorn and pakodas.
5. Don't fight it: Reconcile with the fact that your circle will change.
The bewilderment of witnessing your wild-child friend transform into a docile domestic creature is nothing short of a revelation. It is only during this phase that you grasp how real the epidemic is. That it is here, it is now.
One hardly gave any thought to the seriousness of personal life in the pre-20s days. It was confined to, "beta, standard 10, standard 12, graduation, post-graduation, job... bus phir life set!". Liars.
Sometimes, you want to approach your friend. You want to ask if they are sincerely happy, if it was all of any significance and at all necessary...
Sometimes, you want to approach your friend. You want to ask if they are sincerely happy, if it was all of any significance and at all necessary, and whatever happened to chasing their aspirations? But when you see them orbiting an evolving Sun in their new universe, you make peace with the reality of their new lives, objectives, dreams and priorities, that now stand altered. Not forgotten, but altered. In rapid progression, there will be family, extended family, house, vehicles, kids, etc that will become their new Sun.
In all sincerity, the resentment and coldness is unintended. Come what may, you know you will look out for them and root for them. Come what may, you can't restrain yourself from missing them immensely.
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