Dating was never my forte, and it’s still not my cup of tea. Thanks to the much strict and conservative upbringing, unlike most of my friends, I’ve never dated anyone, and never had the much-talked-about thrills and excitements of having a boyfriend in life. While everyone around was so engrossed in their love lives I happily embraced my solitude and hugged it tight each day, jotted down my thoughts and feelings into several blogs, made friends with lots of books, walked down the busiest lanes with no one to hold me tight, enjoyed watching every downpour of the monsoons bygone with no one to wipe off the wetness from my cheeks, and no loving shoulders to feel the tickle of rain drops dripping from my wet hair. Red roses and beautiful cards never arrived in my life, nor did cheeky and sassy calls and messages that kept the world around lively all nights, while I hugged my pillows and drifted to sleep with no sweet dreams to wait for. With that said I also must admit that I am in no mood to regret for not having these much celebrated pleasures. I’ve never felt they are all the must-haves in everyone’s life, nor do I think they are limited to a certain phase of life, and cease to happen beyond that.
Constantly mocked for lack of supposedly distinguishing feminine qualities and the richness of ‘natural’ beauty to become the head turner or the focal-point of menfolk around, my womanliness was always a fruit for thought for everyone, and it escalated to a very amusing extent where even my sexual orientation was under the radar of these infuriatingly nosy folks.
Many a times I found the uncomfortably frequent inquisitiveness constantly frustrating and bothersome, but thankfully managed to keep up with the annoying world around until now. Adding to my displeasure, certain generous womenfolk around even dared for some matchmaking assistances which I politely denied, adding more doubts to their incredulous minds. Little did I care about what the world had to say about me or my lack of dating skills, or any other of those mistaken thoughts that the world fostered about me.
But 30 plus and still unmarried? The world around concluded that there is something seriously wrong with me. While I am a bit beyond the much marriageable age of an average-minded community, like many other of those supposedly ill-starred women, I too have become the marketable product of a much hyped matrimony website that blindly promises to find the soul mates for everyone who is willing to pay them. Despite the fact that I had absolutely zero intentions to pin-up myself on one such sites and do a visibly embarrassing self-marketing, I was always reminded of the nerve-wracking loneliness that awaits me if opt to remain single for long. Furthermore, like every other parents, mine too have the very typical and conventional dream of getting me married off, and silence everyone who keeps them nagging with a repertoire of offensive questions dripped with uncouth sarcasm.
While I’ve been promoting myself online for about a month or two, I have to say that my business is by far rolling downhill, for lack of being the stereotypical woman who would be showered with endless marriage proposals. While I don’t intent to debunk any of the much staunch beliefs that create the benchmark to gauge a woman as a ‘marriage material’, I have been quite surprised by the number of men who create chocking verbal hullaballoos about their much idealistic partner preferences, only to reject women meanly for not matching up to the level of looks or richness that they’ve set in mind.
For being thirty plus, for lack of long hair, for choice of unconventional academic qualifications and job, for being vocal about my self-identity, for lacking cooking skills, for not being filthy rich, and for many other reasons, I keep getting a bunch of rejections each day, I cannot help but laugh my ass off over them. Much to the surprise of those perceptibly snobbish men, desperation has never hit me hard the reason why none of the back-to-back rejections have been strong enough to pour in the feelings of intense dejection and hurt in to my mind, but on the contrary makes me more stronger.
But I must say that I am more than done dealing with endless questions and sympathetic nods that I get to witness each day, along with scornful reminds about hitting the mega milestone, and walking past the big 30 without having a man by my side. It sickens when I get to see people making huge faces on knowing that I haven’t been ‘lucky’ to date someone find a match yet. As someone who has successfully pursued her dream of leading an independent life, it freaks me out when I get to listen to those pretentious well-wishers who unwelcomely barge-in and spit-out their piece of mind as if there is no tomorrow and I am left with zero chance for a happy relationship or a blessed nuptial. I’ve reached the saturation level of tactful replying to them, and many a times I break the barriers of decorum and give earful to those who are needlessly curious and unsympathetically sardonic.
I don’t know what the future holds for me, nor does the sympathising and scandal mongering crowd around me. While I am fine with waiting for the future to unfold for better, I really wish if I don’t get to see any more sympathisers and scandal lovers around me.
No matter how many training sessions I get to attend, there is one part of them that I find too much amusing and just impractical to listen to and practice. It’s nothing but the whole lot of hullaballoo on the need to consciously and consistently maintaining a supposedly accepted body language, which I believe is a nothing but a deceiving pretention.
The other day I was amid a training session when the instructor told me not to keep my arms folded across the chest as it indicates arrogance and bad manners. Although I was startled hearing that tad bit open reference on my posture, I must say that I didn’t have any intention to be arrogant or indecent amidst that huge crowd. I was comfortable sitting with my arms folded and was absolutely at ease. But the comment dragged me away from the easiness I had, and made me a bit extra mindful from then on. I became doubly cautious of how I sat, changed my postures often, kept head high and shoulder back enough from drooping, and tightened the abdominal muscles. These desperate efforts of mine, to be visibly clear with my body language, almost diverted my entire focus from the discussions that were going on, and my brain hardly registered any of the tips that were mentioned later, as it was already engaged in giving me the signals of alarm, whenever I shifted to the supposedly bad or unprofessional posture.
While I don’t disagree on the necessity of a strong body language, I have this slight disagreement on making it a yardstick to judge someone. Body language is an essentiality in workplaces, and I don’t intent to deny or argue on that, but have just one question to ask – If being myself makes me powerful, confident, and energized, is there a need to accept these globally recognized norms and protocols, only to temporarily duplicate myself, and later unconsciously slide back to how I am. While I may forcefully make myself go by the accepted rules, it wouldn’t actually take me long to get back to the usual way of speaking, sitting, or standing.
This makes me wonder why people are keen on judging others through postures which may not depict them correctly. While well-known trainers and corporate program instructors advocate these ‘must-follow’ steps, most of them often forget that these much-talked-about practices are subjective, varying from person to person, depending on their body make-up and even the previous injuries that might have affected the postures.
If a posture can affect how someone perceives an idea about me, I would call it a misjudgment, for varied reasons. Being someone who has been in the IT industry for 6 continuous years, sitting hunched over at a computer the entire day, I suffer from major problems with my back and shoulders, and also get severe sinusitis headaches on and off. Hence I keep shifting postures in-between, while attending meetings and conferences, which in no way means that I intent to be unprofessional, arrogant, or rude.
While I agree to the fact that body language is a crucial nonverbal sign, it should never be taken as the only benchmark to judge someone. While most of us keep trying to embrace the accepted body language norms through attention and constant practice, the energy, resilience, and confidence of being oneself is way different from forcefully making the body do things that we can never practice continually. As much as I know I can wow someone being the way I am, I am also aware that my body would speak volumes about tons of uncomfortableness, if I am forcefully made to sit, speak, or do things robotically.
The strongest body language is about being oneself and accepting what it takes to boost ones confidence, competence, and charisma, along with gaining the ability to gain a commanding presence. This is never the same for everyone. The aura of confidence that one has will remain only by being oneself.
Does age hinder you from enjoying your life? Does it make you feel like a worthless bum? If you say yes to both these questions ‘How Old Are You?’ the movie that I saw yesterday, would change your perspective in just two hours.
A milestone in every woman’s life, but a source of considerable anxiety and depression, turning thirty or the impending transition from the supposedly ‘youthful’ twenties to the hard-to accept ‘adult’ thirties is the worst of a woman’ s fears. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of people around me who freak out too much on turning or being thirty, and deal with all the sudden and unnecessary existential crises. An indispensable journey of life that no one can stop as per their whims and fancies, thirties arrive in everyone’s life, and can be pretty awesome if one has the right perception and willingness to accept and enjoy that settled and matured stage of life. But the fear to grow old begins with thirty and burgeons day and after day, making us go desperate for everything that we feel would give us the so called ‘juvenile effect’ and bring back the twenties in to our looks.
No matter whether it’s a few wrinkles around the eyes or a couple of extra pounds on the body, every age comes with an amazing step forward in life, for which we should be thankful for, instead of pouring out grumbles and curses. Nevertheless, age crisis eats up most of our thoughts and we end up being frantic to polish our outer selves in whatever ways possible, to look ‘younger’ or so do we believe, thus killing our innate and god-gifted potentials.
This destructive road of thinking was the theme of the movie and the protagonist, a thirty something woman, the butt of ridicule of the entire family and society, is seen transforming herself into a woman of substance, strength, and ultimate vibrancy by the end of the movie, when she, who remained shy to reveal her age turns fabulously confident enough to say that age doesn’t matter at all, as it’s nothing but just a number. A chain of events wash away her confusions, anxieties and insecurities, making her shed her self-flagellations and rise up to become a much revered personality, thus gaining immense respect and admiration, even from those who gang-up to shower ridicules on her.
While women turn distressed and freakish on turning thirty, I haven’t ever seen a man undergoing the same desperation on stepping in to his thirties. While the protagonist of the movie tries her best to be keep up with her younger looking husband and vivacious daughter, her husband is shown as a very easy going and self-centred man, and an absolute naysayer, who leaves no stone unturned to belittle and poke fun at his wife for being in her thirties. For most of the women the biological clock starts banging its hammer by the age of thirty, and our protagonist is no different. With more of a sedentary and lazy life in a government office, she has no knowledge of the world outside, other than the trashy conversations of the serials and novels that she reads.
Surrounding her is a group of scandal mongering women and men who live and breathe only to gossip and say ill about everyone other than them. The situation is no different in real life as well. Most of the women forget to set strong boundaries and dedicate their time for people who genuinely care about them. Thirty or not, mediocre friends and miserable colleagues are a real pain in the ass, and should be nipped off right from the bud. Instead, having people who can better our vision and love ourselves for the way we are can work wonders in our lives. This is very effectively depicted in the movie, when a long lost friend of the protagonist motivates her and changes her entire outlook about life, by helping her start dreaming all over again, and inspiring her to chase her dreams with all her efforts. While her narcissistic husband pays a short visit from Ireland and indirectly admits that he wants her to accompany him and help him avoid the cash crunch of paying for a servant, the protagonist boldly denies and gives befitting reply that almost silences him. As the movie draws close and we see her family dining with the honourable president of India, leaving a wonderful message that age is never a benchmark to judge someone, nor is it a hindrance on our road to achieving big in life.
With that said I must say about the immediate impact of watching this absolutely motivational movie. A woman who sat next to me, a thirty something housewife and mum of two kids, couldn’t stop saying this as we stood up to leave– “I feel as if I have many more things to do in life.”
Above all the namesake accolades and write-ups, those words are the genuine acceptance and appreciation that the movie and the makers can get, and ‘How Old Are You?’ is well-worth all that and more!