Monday, January 24, 2011

Who cares if you like it, just put a ring on it!

note: Image from
There comes a stage in every single Indian girl's life when she becomes the 'Next-in-line'. Typically this happens when all siblings, first cousins, and second cousins (in that order) are married off.
[Digression- Old fashioned folks have a puzzling perception of culture. From what I have managed to understand, going out for parties, staying out late, going for vacations with friends are accepted IF and only if're married/engaged or 2. your parents don't know about it. So single girls incapable of large scale story-telling say goodbye to a respectable social life.]
Basically if you're 25, Indian and female then you are accepted if you follow any one of the following criteria:-
1. On top of the social hierarchy is the ideal well educated girl with a killer job who is married to an equally well placed young man. These people are blessed if they're compatible. They've worked hard to get where they're at they deserve all the social adoration. Everything's in place for the Great Malayalee Dream.
2. You have an engineering/MBA/Masters degree and a maybe even a decent job and you're married to a highly qualified man with very bright prospects; Get a kid soon and you're not too far behind the top of the proverbial ladder.
3. You're married. If the guy looks good enough on paper than even this is accepted.
4. You're unmarried but doing your PhD in which case there will still be remaining men in the market who will be seduced by your seemingly bright looking resume irrespective of the old age. (Of course you might be expected to bear a kid soon and not complete your thesis, but all that matters is that you pass on the genius genes to the offspring)
5. You don't even need to have the brains. Even if you're not even interested in what you're doing, if your dad has the moolah to send you abroad, get a degree from a prestigious university or if you end up with an overpaying IT job which you hate, you're still given respect in the social circle.
Look good on paper that's all that matters. If you're truly happy then good for you. If you're not, then just grin and bear it.. unless you want to end up a social pariah.

So where does that leave me? I'm still 22 so I have about 3yrs before the deadline. I can still opt for an MBA in VIT or Ramachandra or wherever, get married after that and save my name. Of course I could attend CAT coaching and somehow get through IIM if i wanted to. I could even forget the whole MBA and get agree to get married right now (I do have a Masters degree anyway) and still have a piece of the Dream. Ideally, by now I'd have written my GRE and be enroute to a PhD degree anywhere in the USA/UK/whichever or at least an MS. It doesn't matter that that would have exhausted about 20 lakhs from whose ever bank account; its still better than what I'm doing now. but then What isn't?! :)
So yeah you'd think I have hope eh? A shot at the Dream.. But what's life without a twist? I chose instead to 'follow my dream'. That one thing all respected families are afraid of; I turned into the one thing all parents dread - the prodigal daughter. I gave up 'my' PhD dreams, i gave up biology all together - for the time being atleast - only to do what I liked. With no qualification backing me, I entered the media. And I'm not even sure how long I'd like this to last. I'm still probably spending more than I earn, but that'l change when the time comes. All I know is that this feels right and that's all I'm looking for. Maybe I'm breaking a lot of hearts in the process but I suppose I am selfish that way. Thankfully I have a family that doesn't whip me or verbally blackmail me like those scary families you hear about. I know that things might be different and maybe even better for me had things gone a little more my way in the past, so I don't blame myself entirely; because all is not lost. I don't think I'm a rebel. I'm still terrified of disapproval. I still care too much about being accepted. But I am my own person and that fact overshadows the rest. I simply can't bring myself to pretend otherwise. Life is too short to spend it struggling for things you might not even really want.
I hate myself for this but I'm actually quoting Cheryl Cole here 'If it's worth having, it's worth fighting for.' But Cheryl Cole is hot, I doubt she had to fight for anything...