Single And Unapologetic.

To start off, let me share with my readers what prompted this post.  There is a post on facebook by an Indian novelist Usha Narayanan giving a link to a newspaper article with the same title.  In fact she is quoted in the article.

I have asked three single lady friends their opinion on the subject.  I really don’t know if they are happy about their single status as it is not something that we have discussed.  I however know of  a few cases of young ladies in careers desperately trying to get married and a couple where they did in haste and repented too.

On the other hand, this is a topic often discussed among men about advantages of being single men.  In my case, this has increased somewhat since I became a widower five years ago.

In India, whether you are a man or a woman does not matter.  From one’s mid-twenties, family and friends start asking one about one’s plans for matrimony.  It is very rare to find Indians unmarried beyond the age of thirty.

It is in this background that articles like the one quoted describe the new phenomenon but to the best of my knowledge, no one bothers to write about single men.  The fact of the matter is that women are under the magnifying glass for just about everything that they do and not so much the men.

I want to address the issue from a man’s point of view and since I do have a number of women readers, their views will be very welcome indeed.  Just a small rider before I proceed.  I am deliberately generalising with broad sweeps whereas reality is usually full of nuances and finer differences.  Please accommodate those for the sake of some intellectual kite flying.

There are bachelors, happily married men, unhappily married men, divorcees and widowers like me among males.  Many young bachelors with normal hormonal problems desperately try to get married and suffer till they do.  Since most of them in India do not know how to go about finding themselves a mate and are unhappy with what their parents find, it is very frustrating indeed for them till something clicks somewhere and they get married.

Next comes the happily married men and there is nothing to discuss about them.  Lucky sods.

The unhappily married men are the ones that need society’s maximum sympathy. Unlike the unhappily married woman who gets a lot of sympathy from everywhere, her male counterpart does not.  If he can afford it, he does find alternatives but that is such a minuscule minority that it is not worth writing about.  The long suffering husband stuck in an unhappy marriage due to financial or familial reasons is worthy of sympathy.  In a patriarchal society like ours he mostly gets ridicule unlike his female counterpart who gets sympathy.

The divorced men are admired by the unhappily married men and encouraged to stay that way.  The happily married men however take it upon themselves to advise them to get married again at the earliest and will even offer to find divorced women.  That the divorced man and divorced woman both want to experience matrimony again is simply too obvious when one peruses the weekend classified ads in our newspapers for second marriages.  There are so many ‘innocent’ divorcees that one wonders what the word means. And one also wonders why they would want to get married again if they are divorced!

Now comes the widower.  Here, I speak from personal experience as I have been one the last five years.  While my late father was alive, he felt it necessary immediately after I became one to take it upon himself to find me another wife.  He tried to get the help of my son who flatly refused saying that I am quite capable of finding one if I wanted.  The point is that even at that age, I was 66 when I became one, parental pressure was possible.  A couple of friends tried to impress on me that I should get married again but did not pursue the matter too much seeing how uninterested I was in the matter.  Two unhappily married friends were the only genuinely happy fellows to see me become a widower and they made it clear that they were happy not at my loss but at the prospect that such an eventuality is a possibility in their lives too.

And, if my dear reader you want to know what I feel, let me tell you, that  solitude is what I feel.  I  realise that I am now too set in my ways to find another mate who will find it difficult to adjust to my ways and I to hers.  So, I have got used to my single status and doubt very much that I will ever change.  I enjoy my solitude.


Mulla Nasrudin’s friend had to attend a funeral for the first time in his life. Not knowing the protocol, he approached Mulla for advice.
“Where should I be in the funeral procession, Mulla?” he said. “At the back, in front, or on one of the sides?”
“It matters little where you are, my friend,” Mulla said, “as long as you are not in the casket.”



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33 Responses to Single And Unapologetic.

  1. Mitali says:

    Many divorcees post matrimonial ads because they are under even more pressure to get married. For the most part, our society still looks at divorce as shameful, and a divorced woman is often seen as loose and fair game. Speaking for myself, having been very unhappily married and now divorced three years ago, i won’t be posting any ads in the marital columns, thank you very much!

  2. tammy j says:

    i smiled all the way through this one rummy.
    sometimes in recognition. sometimes in amazement. sometimes in delight at your way with words… “intellectual kite flying” … i like that!
    here they call it “being fixed up” by your friends.
    only 6 months after bob died… i had friends trying to “fix me up” with another man. good grief. rather … bad grief.
    he had been my life.
    and the very thought of so easily replacing him was repugnant to me.
    i’ve had two marriage proposals since being a widow all these years.
    thank heaven i didn’t accept either one of them!
    i totally agree with you. i’m loving my solitude and my life.
    actually… i’m so independent now… i’m wondering if bob would even recognize me if he could come back! he would find a different wife!
    i’m thinking i would hate to be young in this day and age trying to find a mate. but then i think of your ranjan and his manjiree and i smile.
    there is obviously hope for some of them.
    tammy j recently posted..ahoy mate… announcement!

  3. shackman says:

    As you know I joined the widowers club this year. Fortunately I do not have any family or friends trying to set me up. I am perfectly content with my dog and in 4-5 months will no longer be living with my daughter and her kids – or should I say they will no longer be living with me as Ginger and I are making a great escape. I look forward to that time.
    shackman recently posted..Most over rated artist

  4. nick says:

    I think whether you’re single or married, happy or unhappy, is a very individual thing and it’s impossible to generalise. Certainly to tell people who’re single or divorced that they would be better off married is dumb, as they might be very happy just as they are.
    nick recently posted..Ghastly snobs

  5. bikehikebabe says:

    Interesting. Never thought about it before in our 64 yrs (HOW could that be???) of marriage. If Tom decided to divorce me I’d dry up & blow away.

  6. If something happens to Andy I wouldn’t get married again — our marriage works too well. So I’m enjoying it while it lasts.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Chicanery

  7. one important factor of being single in India is the family support. There are any number of family members around to pull the single person into their lives, celebrations and festivities. In your case, you, your son and DIL live together…so there is no loneliness per se!

  8. Anna says:

    I think that the main issue with solitude, as you call it, is that it may become a loneliness. This is a negative aspect of being single especially in more advanced age. We are created to share our lives, interests, time, fun etc. With others. Most practiced sharing is with an intimate partner. But I think that close family and friendship ties can be a good substitute and protection from loneliness. Looks that you have such support in abundance, Ramana.
    Is it different for women than men? I think it depends a bit on culture of a country we live in. In modern western countries women are free to live as single without much stigma. Men for a change are always OK. At least in Australia and Poland, the countries I know best. People with well established life style, set in their ways have more difficult to form a new relationship when the sex call is not that loud any more. New solutions have been practiced in the recent years – together but separate. Two people fond of each other living separately but sharing a lot of their interests, time, staying at each other places regularly and supporting each other. It can work beautifully.
    Anna recently posted..YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESSES

    • Anna, the whole purpose of a life of spiritualism is to convert loneliness in to solitude. If someone does that, he is simply not on the right path. When I come across lonely people that is what I try and convey to them. Yes, I am blessed with a very effective support system, but you will grant me that it is a two way traffic. I am there as a support for many too.

      In India too things are changing and the article addressed exactly that. But the change is minuscule and by and large does not touch the vast majority of rural and semi urban women here.

    • Cathy in NZ says:

      You can be “lonely” in a married situation just as easily outside of it…it’s how you cope with it that counts – giving in for short periods is okay 🙂
      Cathy in NZ recently posted..Giving “hearts” a shot

  9. Ursula says:

    Whilst my heart goes out to those who are/were widowed or divorced “against their will” I fail to see why the single have to justify their status. It’s none of anyone’s business. So “forbidding” am I – lucky me – and please my dear once betrothed and in theory still are, Ramana, you may laugh, shake your head or whatever else befits the occasion – that no one but no one ever questioned that I never tied another knot. I am not saying I am self sufficient. We all need warmth, affection, a shoulder in dire hours – but to formalize a bond at all cost? Particularly once past child bearing age?

    I won’t go as far as say that shackles fell on divorce (no, actually they did) but never felt more who I am than when not constraint by a wedding ring.

    On a bureaucratic note – and maybe amusing to you: Here we often have to fill in forms. Ethnic origin, etc. And “marital status” (please note the wording “marital” STATUS. Yeah, well, so father of my son who technically is as divorced as I am ticks “married” because he re-married. I, on the other hand, who didn’t [remarry] qualifies as “divorced”. Well, f… that. I tick Single. Because that is what I am.

    Ursula recently posted..Blot on my landscape

    • I know or know of others like you here too Ursula. And all strength to them. The point I was trying to make was that it is different, not better or worse for men. And yes, we have the same bureaucratic problems here too. Most of the systems and procedures that we follow are colonial leftovers!

  10. KRD Pravin says:

    Actually you are taken by many of your mentee’s

    On a serious [spiritual level question] note – are you sure you are Single? Or you are the ONLY, there is no OTHER?
    KRD Pravin recently posted..Inconvenience of established practices

  11. I think is this country, unhappily married men get at least as much sympathy as unhappily married women. More, actually, since there is still the prevailing belief that it is a woman’s job to make the marriage work. I’ve been happily married and (briefly) unhappily married and now single for many years, in and out of relationships. It’s all just life.
    Secret Agent Woman recently posted..More reasons to be thankful.

    • I can understand that we do have that cultural difference. But there is no difference in the expectation that it is the woman’s job to make the marriage work.

  12. Grannymar says:

    I never went looking for love. Love found me.
    I never asked anyone for permission to get married. I just knew I was making the right decision for me. It was, and we had almost twenty one years of a caring, sharing and loving marriage. Cancer decided it was time for us to part, but I can say hand on heart that my husband loved me until his last breath.

    Almost seventeen years ago, I learned to live totally alone, so come hail, rain, ache or pain, I face each new day with a smile. I jump the hurdles as they come. I have made new friends and achieved things I never expected too or thought possible. In my book: Life is what you make it!
    Grannymar recently posted..Sunday One liners ~ 57 

  13. Cathy in NZ says:

    We certainly don’t seem to have expectations on martial stakes in New Zealand, although maybe there is under certain circumstances…I’m a living alone person, and yes there are times when I could with a “man-maid” to cook dinner, take the garbage out and bring in the washing…but on the other hand I can pretty much please myself what I eat, and whatever else 🙂
    Cathy in NZ recently posted..Giving “hearts” a shot

    • Despite living with my son and daughter in law, I am very much independent about my own needs and comforts. We share two servants, which is quite common in India but for all that, they live pretty independent lives themselves too.

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