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The Desi Spinster.

By: Khushbakht Vaka

“Allah NaseebAchayKaray”. I am sure most women of the subcontinent must have received this blessing. Who doesn’t want a good future? However, the problem lies in the fact that this blessing is mostly bestowed in the context of something our nation is obsessed with. Yes, you got it right. Shadi!!

We grew up watching Disney princesses find their prince charming and live happily ever after. As adults, we watched romantic movies which made us believe our Mr. Darcy or Christian Grey would sweep us off our feet and declare his everlasting love. That’s where all the fairy tales and love stories always end. But do they talk about the fights, bickering and resentment that follow? Do they talk about the untimely death of one spouse in happy marriages? Do they talk about cheating and abuse in extreme cases? Is life really that rosy? Not really.

Our society does not spare single women. If the younger sister marries before the elder one, the latter has to bear the brunt of people’s prying eyes and questions – and in worse cases, taunts. If a girl’s engagement or marriage is called off, it becomes difficult for her family to find another “rishta”.

We all have that one woman in the family who raised her kids on her own after her husband died or left. We all know at least one female who never married and gifted her entire property to her male relatives.

And marriage is not always that great either. We all know that one lady whose husband and in-laws are abusive, but she chooses to stay either for the sake of her kids or because her parents won’t take her back.

What does that tell you? Does marriage guarantee success? Is it really that easy? Not really. Marriage requires effort and work. It’s messy. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. And for women, it can be even messier. Why? Most women give up their careers to get married and raise a family. If they become divorced or widowed, they are usually the ones who are left at a crossroads. Who will pay the utility bills? Who will pay for the children’s food and education?

Men may go through an emotional turmoil after a broken marriage, but money is the least of their worries because they are usually the breadwinners of the family. Women, on the other hand, have to start over and are left picking up the pieces. However, there are always exceptions to this rule.

We have all read about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Our basic needsrelate to physiology and safety; these include food, water, shelter, sleep, security, health and finances. The needs of love, esteem and self-actualization come much later. I can relate to this from personal experience. I was laid off from my job in 2018 and was unemployed for 4 months. With no money coming in every month, marriage was the least of my concerns. My standard of living was dropping. I needed cash, not a groom!!

Over the years, I have seen countless young women stressing over not being in a relationship or getting married and wasting precious years of their lives worrying; or worse, ruining their life in a bad relationship/marriage.

Life is beautiful and full of opportunities. Ladies, you can paint the town red! Establish career goals, get a new degree, take up a new hobby, explore the unknown. What’s stopping you?!

Life will burst the bubble of young girls who believe a knight in shining armour would change their life for the better. Men are only human like us. They cannot redeem or save us. They also have skeletons in their closet and their own issues to deal with. Placing too much burden and expecting too much from them can also be unfair. We must be our own saviors.

Having learnt these lessons over the years, I think it is perfectly ok if a woman chooses not to get married or have kids. I may have become that woman.

Enjoy your life and have a plan for your finances! Most single women in the subcontinent end up living at the mercy of their relatives. If they are lucky enough to have a kind family, they should be fine. However, if they are not so lucky, they are likely to lead lonely and miserable lives.

A man is not a one-way ticket to a better life. Here is a message for all single ladies out there: If you have done well on your own so far, you should be fine in the future as well. But always have a plan!

About the writer: Khushbakht Vaka is a marketer who loves to write and paint. She is currently pursuing her MSc. in Marketing from the Northumbria University, UK.

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