“Age 35, Marital status- single.” In contemporary Indian society, this is still a ‘disease’ status and needs immediate intervention.
It doesn’t bother me when a random person asks me why I chose to be single…and then educates me on the disastrous ending that this status is likely to lead me to. It is easy to keep the silence and let the person get away with the thought that he has succeeded in establishing his perspective. But I do feel the need to explain my perspective when it is not some random person…when it is someone who loves you and wishes the best for you. The tragedy here is that not everybody who loves you can necessarily relate to you. It is then that I feel blessed to have a family that relates to me.
Choosing to be single was never an impulsive decision. It was a decision I took after a lot of thinking. In fact, it is not even a decision…’single’ is a status nature confers on us. It is we who change it to ‘married’. So, marriage is the decision. It amuses me then that conventional Indian society looks at that status as incomplete; a woman is so incomplete without a man by her side. Now, I am not denying a woman’s need for love and companionship- that is nature’s law. But does love always have to culminate in marriage? I think there are relationships far deeper than marriage; marriage sometimes belittles them and takes the joy out of them. Marriage is a system and all systems demand a definite discipline, order and predictability. Only then can they be stable. For the ones like me, with artistic temperaments, the very words are alien. Then how can I conform to a system? ‘You have to change….adapt….adjust.’ If I did that, I would have to compromise on the core features that define me. I believe in contributions, not in compromises- especially compromises that threaten my core attributes.
An artist is defined by his rawness and his freedom of spirit. These are his core attributes. His mind dwells in the grey zone; life is never in black and white for him. The grey zone is that zone where the paths available for the mind to travel and explore are infinite. There are no defined paths in his life. An artist sees his whole life as an experiment; he explores his own paths, comes to his own conclusions. He is only committed to the truth in the question he is asking, and to the truth in his emotions. He will never compromise on that and commit to systems. For if he compromises, he will lose his art- art that he has painstakingly discovered by traversing these undefined solitary paths. To him, it is like having discovered God in the course of his journeys. His art is his God; his very being derives all its meaning from his art. His very purpose in life becomes reaching out to the world through his art.
Pearl.S.Buck couldn’t have worded this phenomenon more beautifully: “The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive. To them… a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off… They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.”
At some point in the journey of my life, my soul’s needs became far more important to me than my body’s realistic needs. The world’s love became far more important than an individual’s love. ‘The world needs me’ became my inspiration. I do not wish to compromise on what I can give the world for what I can give one individual. ‘Commitment’ is an altogether different word in my dictionary; I have an undying commitment to my causes and to my emotions. The depth of my soul is beyond what a mortal being can absorb. And so, I do not wish to burden another soul with the depth of my soul. I myself am struggling to match its depth so that I can carry it within me.
Quoting from a blog post I recently read, ‘You know my name, but not my story.’ Is it really possible to know my story? In fact, each of us knows very little about the person we carry deep within us- our unconscious. Our instincts are our only clue to its deep secrets and motives. It is only a shadow of this that we see on our surfaces. How then can I expect another person to know me? How can he comprehend what is good for me? I have only my own instincts to guide me…to tell me the path I need to take…the decisions I need to make. That alone, can be good for me. I have to therefore learn, to closely listen to my instincts, and be guided by them. For there is a purpose to my life…to my unconscious.
There is this story- a movie that I watched. The story revolves around a paraplegic girl who lives with her mother and brother. The movie exposes us to the rich inner world that thrives within her- that keeps her company in her solitary life, and gives her a sense of purpose. Her brother eventually marries and moves out. One night, her elderly mother sustains a fall and is unable to get up on her own. The girl watches helplessly. She struggles and attempts to help her mother, but is unable to. Finally, she calls up the doctor in the neighbourhood.
Following that incident, the doctor visits her often. He observes her and finds himself attracted to her personality- her acceptance of her circumstances and her rich inner world. He expresses his interest in marrying her. For a moment, everybody is happy. But the girl refuses politely, sincerely thanking him for the truth in his love. It is left to the viewer to comprehend her perspective. From her perspective, she is already in acceptance of her circumstances. Marriage is a ‘hope’ that will tow her to better circumstances. But as the years go by, will the doctor be able to put up with her paraplegic state? Will he be able to sustain his current optimism as real life unfolds and he comes face to face with the darkness and horrors of her world? Wouldn’t life become a drudgery for him? It would only be human then, to feel the agonies and frustrations. That would shatter her.
Today, she has the happiness of having run into someone who gave her a sincere token of love. She will cherish it forever. From this safe distance, he sincerely loves her. But from a closer distance, it would only be a test of how much he could endure. And she was unwilling to take that risk.
We all have our dark worlds. Left to us individually, we have learnt to accept it and adapt to it. It actually makes us attractive. From a distance, people are attracted to this happiness. But it is when you invite them into your dark world that they run away, frightened. They cannot cope with it. They do not realize that our happiness is despite the darkness of our worlds….that our smiles are the result of the battles we have won with the demons of our dark worlds. Knowing this really well, why would I want to risk inviting somebody into this world?
A more detailed description is beyond the scope of this blog. Do I hate men? Of course not. I only hate traits, and not people. Do I hate marriage? No. I think that of all the systems man created, marriage is the most beautiful. But then, marriage is not everyone’s cup of tea. That is all I wish to say. Yes, being single comes with its own pains and hardships. But if you still wish to condemn, condemn the God who created a being like this…. 🙂