When I was 21, my mother took me to a palmist.
I had one question to ask him (I had just finished my interviews at the IIMs and was nervous), “Will I study more?”
He took a look at my palm and nodded his head ponderously, “Yes, and you will travel a lot.”
That’s all I wanted to hear. I was happy.
My mother, being a typical mother-from-achayan*’s-land wanted to know what was uppermost in her mind, “When will she get married?”
The man looked apologetic, “She will get married only late.”
My mother was a bit upset, “… Like 24, 25?”
The man nodded his head, repeating thoughtfully, “After 24, 25.”
I am now 27, though my mother wants me to stop repeating my age to strangers. I find nothing wrong in being 27; I have came across each of those years honestly.
I am also the only unmarried girl from my undergrad class and possibly school, one of very few from my post-grad and finding more of my circle being part of a couple.
There’s a part of me that dreads the day that all my close friends will have kids, and the other part that is happy that, for now, I can do whatever I want – travel wherever, do whatever – sleep till 12, shop till I drop, not cook for 2 weeks and then overcompensate by cooking everyday for another 2, party, chill out, pig out, read, take one of my long walks… whenever I want.
I want to share two conversations on this topic I had in the recent past.
The first was about managing expectations.
For one, the ideal girl of his dreams would be a wine-swilling, travelling, Goethe quoting, sarcasm-understanding, intellectual and independent person. He was wondering if he was asking too much and ought to moderate his expectations.
I reflected on this a bit. Whereas some years ago, I had said that “the guys of my dreams was not a list“, I now also understand that if you lower your expectations in the “Yeh chalega” mode, you will invariably be more unhappy the moment you have a little bit of a tiff.
So, no, I don’t want to lower my expectations just because someone wants me to “be happy in a relationship”, presuming that I am not as happy as I can be.
The second was about the changing nature of expectations.
While I am not the super-romantic person who believes in red roses and pink confetti, as I grow older I believe even more in the power of actions, not words.
When I was younger, I had a few ephemeral crushes with guys that were generally unsuitable. I knew that and bided my time for the crushes to pass. As I grew older, the kind of guy I liked changed, in that I generally liked someone who had a good sense of humour and an air of genuineness.
And now? Now I want common sense and a handkerchief. (Inveterate travelling and some amount of Monty Python/Top Gear viewing would be appreciated, if only for swapping notes.) Kind of like the list I made in 2005. (Young me was not stupid, was she?)
The second conversation was about how when you grow up, your expectations of the person in your life change. It is very likely that you will not be happy with anyone in your life till you become the person you are potential of being. Once that happens, your “type of person” will be constant.
The fact is, sometimes the fact that you “found someone” early means you ended up a different person than you were meant to be.
Now I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad, but I for one think that my case for singledom is as airtight as it can be.
My palm says so!
*Achayans are the Christians (nasranis) from Middle Kerala. We have a typical way of speaking and can be identified when we open our mouth by people in the know. Generally landed families with a million cousins and rubber and sugarcane farms coming out of our collective ears, we subsist on appam, kozhi curry, beef fry and “Ichiri thottu nakkan tha di, Sosamme”
But you already knew that, didn’t you?