Little known fact: Once you enter the marriage market, anyone who has successfully been married off is your elder. Your mother’s cousin’s daughter’s friend’s old classmate who is two years younger than you? She’s now qualified to give you advice.
Most of these lectures were spectacularly condescending. Against my will, I was buying into the idea that single and simple are the same thing. If you are single and reading this, convinced that you will be struck by a lightning bolt of wisdom after you get married, let my existence serve as living proof that there is no such thing.
Here’s just once of the many conversations I’ve had:
Relative: Did you speak to that guy?
Me: I did.
Relative: And why didn’t you like him?
Me: There was nothing wrong with him; just that we didn’t connect.
Relative: That’s so vague. Give me a real reason.
Me: Okay, he seemed pretentious.
Relative: You know, thirty years ago, I was scared of getting married because my wife didn’t like upma. Today, I realise that’s a stupid reason.
Me: You needed thirty years to realise that’s stupid?
Relative: *Mysteriously doesn’t hear it. Mostly because I’m a non-confrontational wimp who will only make these quips inside my head.*
Relative: What are you looking for in a partner, exactly?
Me: Someone I connect with. When it’s right, I will know.
Relative: “When it’s right, I will know” is a ridiculous thing to say. There has to be something you want.
Me: Okay. I want him to be funny, hard working and easy to talk to.
Relative: You know, life isn’t about a checklist. You have to let things happen to you.
Me: I’m letting this conversation happen to me.
(Again, my comeback would never be heard by the human ear.)
Me: I’m curious. How did you decide to get married?
Relative: It was right. I just knew.
…and that’s the story of the palm-shaped dent in my face.