And so it unfolds… Same old story, different people. Everywhere I turn nowadays, I get a different version of the same old, same old.
Girl – 1 no.s.
Well educated, good job in hand, financially independent, strong sense of space, great parental support and the common domestic situation nowadays where a girl is allowed to think freely for herself, have a say in matters, be moody, be crazy, be normal, and in general be as bull-headed as all the previous generations’ overbearing paterfamilias if she so feels like it.
Cut to Boy - 1 no.s
Modern day Indian male, “I am so progressive”, is friends with as many girls as boys, (prefers hanging out with the slimmer, prettier, more fun girls but pretty bearable otherwise). Also well-educated, having job, not necessarily financially independent, but so what, beta hai na? Anywho.
Girl meets boy, they fall in like, they fall in love, things are hunky-dory for a couple of years, they’re young, no need to think about anything serious just yet, just have a lot of fun and enjoy time with each other etc etc. Boy is extremely nice to girl all along, seems smitten as hell, girl is smitten of course, girl’s friends begin to approve of this ‘gem of a boy’, girl’s family is in the loop because really, the girl is completely comfortable with her choice of relationship, nothing shady about it at all.
A few years later, girl starts wondering ‘where are we headed’ [yes, please note: the girl has to start thinking this]. Girl brings it up with boy because there is no possible reason why he should have even thought about it. I mean, good grief.
And this is where the disturbing twist in the tale begins.
I mean, after years of friendship and adoration and through-thick-and-thins and what have you, is it really unfathomable for a boy to see the light and take it to the next step with the one he professes to [as he repeatedly does] love?
Boy dilly-dallies for a while, then a while longer, then forever it seems. What is the problem? Girls’ parents [who have more often than not nowadays] a very sensible, open and mature relationship with their girl-child, talk to her freely about this. Girl has a great support group in friends, family, family friends. If not parents [okay, it’s been known to happen], there are a lot of other people the girl can have a heart-to-heart with.
Except, disturbingly, the boy. Se can’t get through to him on this.
Boy has become a little aloof, doesn’t meet up as much or as readily, they don’t go out on cute romantic dates anymore, only in big noisy groups, he doesn’t talk about it too much, pretends to carry on just as they have been all these years except for the tiny niggling fact that it has bee all these years ad really, pull up your damn socks now!
Girl starts feeling a little not-so-great. Everyone thinks they are as rock-steady as ay couple can be, everyone constantly beams upon this ideal twosome, this made-for-each-other duo, but slowly everyone also starts wondering [like the girl did long ago], what next?
Girl starts feeling a bit ill-treated. So she brings it up with daft boy again. Boy has turned into blockhead with no realization of the decent thing to do, and possibly, a distinct lack of balls. Strain enters into formerly perfect relationship. Girl would tell boy anything and everything earlier; he was her best friend after all. Not so anymore, because now when girl starts talking about the one thing that really is bothering her, it is to be construed as nagging by the poor victimized boy.
In the meanwhile, girl’s other good girlfriend is going through similar shit, one step further in fact. Boy had agreed to marry girlfriend, they were engaged, they had a beautiful understanding of how they would live their new life together, until, as usual, the boy’s balls seemed to perceptibly shrink and then cease to exist because of gargoylish pressures from materfamilias.
Boy turns into A-Grade wimp, refuting “strong-companion” tag and taking on the new [and yet age-old] moniker of “Mama’s boy.” Girlfriend becomes secondary, mother’s unreasonable and draconian needs come first. And all this after boy-girl had mutually agreed to live their future life a certain independent, dignified way. Boy-wimp suddenly is quoting such text as “I only agreed because of you…” and “I’m sure other girls would have no problem with my Ma” etc, cringe puke.
Well, darling, if other girls is what you were aiming for, if other mousy, non-thinking, compromising, Hindi-movie-sati-saavitri, saree-clad, demure, eyes-downcast, mindless girls is what your dream was, then why the #$$@ did you spend all these years misleading your best friend- a beautiful, modern, independent, strong-willed, intelligent, jeans-clad woman of the 21st century? I mean, if you wanted a glorified housemaid who could carry off a silk saree with élan, bending down with ease to scrape the feet of all the elders in your family, adhere to your glorious patriarchal notion of a good wife and respectable daughter-in-law, why the hell did you pretend to be a “progressive, forward-thinking” git with 2 cents’ worth of sense in him?
Here’s the problem. The young urban Indian woman has come of age. Her eyes are wide open, she has a beautiful head on her shoulders, she knows who she is and more importantly, she knows what she wants. There is no earthly reason for her to compromise on this, especially to unreasonable demands. Which is not to say she won’t bend over backwards if she feels it’s worth doing. That’s because young Indian woman is sensible, compassionate and strong.
This puts young urban Indian man in a quandary of sorts. He thinks he is modern, liberal-minded and a staunch supporter of feminism. All this is well and good until he is actually in the hotspot himself and then the veneer fades a bit. Young NRI in America decides that he in fact wants to marry a nice, homely Indian girl from back in India. Young urban Indian man decides he’s had a lot of fun with his girlfriend(s), and now it’s time to find ‘wife-material’. Mama will definitely have some ideas. Non-conformity is out of the question. You will bow to my traditions, my cultural expectations, my schedule, my rules. It’s all right to have been this way so far, now that you want to be my wife, fall in line. Ye gods.
Dave Matthews was on to a good thing there years ago:
“Why are you different?
Why are you that way?
If you don’t fall in line
We’ll lock you away…”
So, like I was saying, this sort of thing is happening too often and to too many people I know for it to be a one-off case. My girlfriends and I have talked this over and over. [Yes, one of those bitter, bile-ridden girl-talks where we diss men and their lot with an earnestness that has to be seen to be believed.]
We’ve hit upon a few theories as to the current state of affairs [urban p.o.v.]:
- Women rule. This is not chest-beating bravado [that’s what men do.] This is fact.
- Women now know they rule, and so do men, and that’s what’s causing all the trouble.
- Women are starting to lose patience with can’t-get-their-act-together male forms.
- Women have a great support system and like-minded girlfriends to hang out with and feel better about themselves and everything.
- Women very often meet up to chat with said like-minded girlfriends and release pent-up anger, vitriol etc and in so doing have realized that life is perfectly wonderful without the added troubles of nurturing a boy-toy for years and then finding out he’s a wimp anyway.
- Women are kicked as hell about adoption getting easier. If there was one thing that was bothering us about lack-of-suitable-boys, it was the fact that we’d have to miss out on motherhood. Not any more. Ha ha!
- Women are definitely on to a good thing here.
- Women-friends who have totally lost hope that any suitables will ever exist again, will probably decide to move in together in a few years, raise their adopted children and run neat, organized but still very mad, fun households together. [And everyone will be cleaning up after themselves. Bonus!]
- The next-gen of kids that will be the outcome of growing up in such mad happiness will hopefully have got their bearings right and things will look up for the next lot of young Indian women.
- Which is not so say that the next-gen of young Indian men won’t be thanking their lucky stars it happened like this! They’ll love us, their brilliant mothers to bits. And we won’t pull a draconian on them.
Over and out.