Archive for December 8, 2007

Dilemmas of a Young Single, Indian Woman Looking to Settle Down in Singapore.

Posted in Archive - All Entries on December 8, 2007 by meera

At the risk of sounding completely and absolutely cheesy, I really couldn’t think of any other title.
I’ve been wondering silently in my head the past few weeks, admidst conversations with my friends and family, how does one actually find someone to settle down with, being Indian, being a girl and being in Singapore?
When you’re my age, it’s no longer so simple. You can’t afford not to be for the long-haul. (I just realised that I’m speaking for myself of course.) It is no longer an issue of two hearts. You have to do so much thinking. Compatibility, families, the future, etc. You can’t be happily dating people after people whom you fancy for the heck of it. You have to think with your brain, instead of just the little muddled thing called the heart. When you’re younger, it’s more of a case of finding someone your heart fancies, and then making it work. This time, another situation arises, that is, you find someone things can potentially work out with and then your heart starts to love and care for them.

See the thing is, I’m in my early twenties, and quickly approaching the mid-twenties (or am I there already?) It is quite terrifying, to say the least. And you want somebody who is going to be your companion. Someone you can share your life with, and at the end of it, to be able to talk to. So needless to say, he has to be on your same wavelength, plus he has to be a good, normal guy. (I actually blogged about this briefly in one of my protected posts, but I found it necessary to air my views on this one.) And because I am not one of your feminist, independent sorts I shall shamelessly admit, it will be good to know that he will be able to take care of me when I can’t.

The problem right now, is that there are very few, good normal guys around. Scrap that, there are very few, good normal people around. And does anyone actually know how difficult it is to find normal people these days??? And how do you actually filter out the oddballs? (See, this should also work in the reverse. For example, if I’m an oddball to begin with, then I will be filtering out normal people, so that I will find a suitable oddball for myself. Am I making sense?) Okay, I digress. See the issue here, is this filtering process. The people in the West have it a little easier I’m guessing, at my age. Dating. You go out in groups. You think you see someone you may be able to clique with and potentially fulfil each other’s happiness. And then you go out for that one lunch or one dinner or one movie. And then you realise that conversation is as exciting as playing rock, paper and scissors with yourself. And usually, both parties realise it, and you part cordially as friends or at the very least, as acquaintences whom you might later bump into with someone wayyyy better-looking than yourself, and then you start feeling awful about yourself and you just want to disappear from the face of the earth AND throw water on his face but once again I’m digressing.

Well, seriously. Now the other problem. Your parents want you to find someone. To find a good guy who is kind, responsible, educated, well-mannered, polite and be able to take care of you and your family, and who will make a good husband and a father. How do you actually go about doing all this without dating? People behave extremely differently in groups, in smaller double dates, and on single dates. They also behave very differently over the phone, over the internet, and in person. So how do you actually get to know people? But because you’re Indian and you’re a woman, you cannot date. Because it is societally unacceptable. (When I say dates, I’m talking about harmless ones of course! Not where you’re all over each other in public. I’m talking about genuine ones where you want to get to know that one person, and not every random Tom and Harry.) Even then, god forbid you bump into your parents, or worse a relative. Being seen out with a guy seems to be a crime serious enough to call for beheading and quartering. So in this case, how do you find this right person without dating? Go out in groups and then just narrow him down, and ta-da, you become a couple? It is more difficult than said.

So what exactly are expected from women like us? Do we then, just settle down for arranged marriages? Or find someone for yourself without dating? (I dont see how this is humanly possible) You see, the very tricky thing here is that most of us, my generation at least, are treading that very complex third space between the spheres of modernity and tradition. It is almost as if parents want us to find someone, but to skip the whole process magically, and present their potential son-in-law all wrapped up with a red and gold lined ribbon. “I don’t want to know how you got here, or how you found him, and I shall pretend that you never saw this guy out alone, but thank you for finding someone good and responsible without getting to know him properly first.” I wish it was that simple.

The worst bit is I’m not getting any younger! And this very stark fact has hit my head a few times. And the thing is, I’ve never been the one to put career on top of everything else. My success in life would depend on whether I can have a happy family. And I digress. Sure. I can be in an arranged marriage. But what if that turns out to be a mistake? Who do you blame? Fate & destiny? I’m not arguing a case here for love marriages. I’m just wondering how does one actually go about looking for the right person without stepping on any toes? Do you date, and play hide and seek? And playing hide and seek at this age, just seems so wrong. Or do you just settle down for the arranged marriage? While I’m not against arranged marriages, this will definitely be a last resort. When my resources have been exhausted and I have not been able to find anyone who can put up with me. But how does on go about finding this someone while pretending you are not dating so you eventually end up lying? The problem with me is that other than the extremely personal aspects of my life, I want my folks to know who I’m with and where I’m at. Supposedly, this is a totally wrong approach as you make parents end up worrying, and ignorance for them, would be bliss. But not for me! Or are there any other plausible solutions?

Argh. I’m so flustered.

I have run out of things to rant about, so I shall stop.