Being an Indian bachelor is arduous and exhausting. But it is also full of funny and humorous “anecdotal adventures” that you go through, in order to elongate its life. Bachelorhood doesn’t come easy in India. To maintain the regal status quo of bachelorhood and to save this divine bliss from evil eyes of our parents and relatives, requires a great amount of skills and efforts in planning and execution. It is a task where the parents and relatives are pushing your luck downhill, while you drag it uphill. In order to extend our bachelorhood, the feats of planning and execution are to be continuously reinvented, retold, reinterpreted, reorganised and re-executed to perfection. Yes, only to perfection! If any of these tasks falls short of perfection, kiss your bachelorhood goodbye!
The force of emotional blackmail, the gentle but exhaustive cajoling, and the ‘seduction’ techniques [parents showing photographs of different girls] per unit area of your very being [in every aspect] is too high for you to take risk of performing these feats to anything less than perfection. In the process of saving or extending our bachelorhood, we, the much tortured bachelors of India, ‘reinvent’ ourselves. Sometimes out of habit that gets developed. Sometimes out of compulsion. Sometimes just to feign our parents that we are on rediscovery of ourselves. During these reinventions, some have gone on to claim that they gained true knowledge of self and hence salvation while living. One of my friends remarked that he has now become an intellectual, a thinking being and a left-liberal idealist. Yet another friend remarked that now he has discovered the gist of life that it is meaningless and getting married will give the illusion of “life has a meaning” and put him at risk of ‘sufferings’. One friend came forth and noted that he now truly believes in absolute hedonism, which can only be practised while staying bachelor. Many became philosophers, some became saints, some started teaching poor kids in the locality and those who are still struggling with their own discovery are writing.
Changing diapers, accompanying wife for random shopping in some distant shopping mall while she carries a tiny purse, and I carry at least one kid and a plurality of shopping bags, is really not how I imagine my life to be. Sure, life is meaningless embodiment of being but these activities will make life totally insignificant, they will take “meaning” out of “meaningless”. And I don’t want to live a “less” life. Ever since I graduated, the sword of marriage has been hanging over my head, with my parents and relatives dancing around me like those wild tribals who dance around their “meal of the day”, after they have caught it and are just about to cook it in a huge cauldron, with the poor “meal” tied upside down to a stick put above and across the hot cauldron. May be, I imagine marriage to be THAT cauldron because I haven’t really given it a serious thought, for lifting cute kids can’t be that bad and carrying those bags must come much easier, if I also get to carry her along with those bags ! Ahem!
I have been planning and executing relentlessly, to perfection, various schemes, since 2007, to elongate my bachelorhood and stay away from this cauldron. And I have been successful. I can say that my life since graduation until now is sum total of various schemes that I planned and executed! Here is the list of excuses that have kept me alive:
1. I have no job: In India, it is common to get employment directly from one’s university campus. Luckily, I was not the one. I was left to search for it in open market, because I did not want the mundane job of being a software developer for a first world country. I always painted a rosy picture, to my parents, of my dream job – a job near innovations, yet not in hardcore research/laboratories; a job that enables me to bring ideas to market; a job that is technical as well as managerial and so on. BEWARE- you can afford to be unemployed only for an year. MAXIMUM!
2. Higher Education: Now this melodrama of “elusive job” can only continue for one year. I learnt that hard way. Because after that they started forcing me to take up any job that comes along and get married. Now, as told, that one has to continuously reinvent, retell reinterpret, reorganise and re-execute, to perfection; I reinvented my self. I retold them my dream in a manner reinterpreted. And organised an event, and executed it to perfection. I went for higher studies. Abroad. In London. World’s top university. For almost two years. So, in one strike, I took care of all. Bachelorhood, travel, education, adventure and life abroad. It extended my bachelorhood by two golden years. In that time, my 5 friends got immolated in the holy fire of matrimony.
3. Job in another city: I came back home after 2 years. And my parents were ready to pounce upon my dear bachelorhood. But I reinvented myself again. I remarked that the “dream job” of mine is not in this city [my home town], it is in another city. A farther off, distant city in another part of India. So I asked my parents to let me go there, find a job, “settle down” there and then marry. They gave me one year. During this period, I saw 2 friends being dragged down the aisle.
4. Low paying job: I took up a low paying job in the other city that I went to. Very low. Around US $200 per month. Now in this salary, after you have paid for rent, food and travel, there isn’t much money left to even buy one new underwear for yourself, leave alone sexy lingerie for your wife. They gave me one year but I made it one and half by this master stroke! 2 more friends sacrificed their bachelorhood at the altar of matrimony.
5. Entrepreneurship: After one and half year, I got a better paid job opportunity in my home town. I was scared that if I go there, my bachelorhood will be devoured by the predators of bachelorhood i.e. my parents and relatives. Somehow lure of money took me back to my home town. Something urgently was to be thought of, reinterpreted, retold and re-executed to keep the predators off the trail of their prey. This French word “Entrepreneurship” came to my rescue. First, it took me 6 months to get them to pronounce it correctly. And then another six months to tell them benefits of entrepreneurship. And then six months in talking about the ideas I had. Smartly added 18 months to the backpack of my bachelorhood. While I was in my hometown, I attended funeral of bachelorhood of my 3 friends.
6. Leave the city again: Now you can only talk about entrepreneurship for 18months to 24 months WITHOUT having any idea of what you want to do. After that people will call you fool. I did not want to be called one. I took up a even better paying job in a distant city. And I left my home town again. Though, I kept the “entrepreneurship” itch alive. I convinced them that the other city had better opportunities for opening a new venture. I need to take up this job so that I can explore the city without incurring expenses of my own. This year it was really difficult to save my bachelorhood – mostly because my 7 friends had decided to tie the proverbial knot and hang themselves by it.
7. Leave the country ASAP: You are in new city. You make new friends. You are really enjoying this well-paid job. So much that, over the phone conversations, you don’t talk about entrepreneurship to your parents at all [less than perfection]. I did that. Now this was a capital mistake. The strategy was compromised in the leisures of life. The predators were on the trail of their prey once again. There was no escape. And Whooshhh– “I am going abroad to work-got offered a partnership in a firm”. I served the notice period of the previous company and FLED the country, and now living abroad. 3 friends are about to be devastated by Hurricane Matrimony in next two months.
In between, a few things happened which were not part of these “schemes”, but that is another story to tell. Anyways, from hereon, what excuses I can invent, only time will tell. However, I have given them a description of my ideal girl. Yes, I have agreed to get married but only to THAT ideal girl! That is to say that I have put the predators of my bachelorhood on a wrong scent. I think I need not worry for another 3 years now. They will go round and round in jungle of matchmaking, without reaching anywhere, while I sit atop a long, dense tree of bachelorhood. But what if they really find that ideal girl?