Well there I was... a happy little girl who was on the brink of finishing college and waiting to start a new life with brand new possibilities. My future was filled with promises of a career which brings with it freedom( read ka ching) , plans to do all kinds of fun things with my friends, partying and basically enjoying the single life. And then it crept up from behind me and BOOM Im running for the hills !!
It started when I was roughly a little older than 20 and word had gotten around that I have been placed in IBM. I was at a wedding of a distant relative and was busy in a conversation with my cousin when a lady I vaguely knew called me over. When I went over to her table she asked me to sit. She and another familiar looking lady turned their chairs to face me. "You are Vidya's daughter right? " she asked. When I said yes and asked what the matter was they just kept scrutinizing me. Scanned me from head to toe in a similar fashion to guys checking girls out. Then came the questions "Where are you placed?", "What are your plans for the future..?", "Can you cook..?", "Have u been trained in carnatic music..?" It went on and on like the stress interview from hell.!!! I was panicking and ran from the place the minute I got the chance. When I got back to my seat I found my cousin laughing uncontrollably with tears running down his face. When he saw the expression on my face he asked me "Do you know who those ladies were..?" I said I didn't know and he said "That's XYZ and ABC's mothers and I think they were interviewing you as a potential daughter in law!!". OH MY GOD I freaked. That was when I started being scared of the M word.
Another day I caught my mom stealthily using the computer. She was going through matrimonial websites!!! Heck I dint even know my mom knew how to switch on the comp and there she was surfing and printing out "interesting" profiles!! I gave her a earful but she insisted that she was just looking for fun and not "searching" seriously. NOW I was well into the panic zone.
Just when I'd gotten over the incident I was casually logging on to facebook one day and found an update from my school mate. It said she was married. I though it was a joke. Then I visited her profile and saw it wasn't!!! She really was married with complete pictures of her wedding!! I was still stunned when my best friend called and I burst out with this new information.. "WHAT is she out her freaking mind..??? shes 21 for God's sake" came the reply. Why someone would want to give into life long commitment so early was beyond me. I mean I do know the legal age to be married in India is 18 for girls but I guess I never really thought of anyone I know actually taking the plunge so early in life.
Well that was just the start. Soon we heard of other girls who studied with us at some point getting married and some were even expecting!!! Hell everyone grew up and me and my few sane friends seemed to be the only ones running for it at the mention of the M word.
I've kinda gotten used to the whole thing now. I dont freak when strange people call my house and ask me how tall I am or what my "nakshatram"(birth star) is. Though I still find public functions a total nightmare. Wonder how long it'll be before first my parents bend under the pressure of the M word.. *shudder* This sadly is the state of most girls my age in the so called modern day and age. Apparently a girl is ready to be married off the minute she's done with her education. Oh nobody bothers if she's independent and financially secure and all that. Hopefully it'll be different one day.. Till then if you are a 20 something girl living in India RUN!!! HIDE!!!!!