Monday, September 30, 2013

Do you suffer from 'good news' syndrome?

Questions – I like them. I like questioning and I like being questioned. But, there is one question that I loathe. There is one question that I wish that nobody asked me. There is one question that is posed to every married couple in our country. Yes, you guessed it right! The one that I have named as the ‘good news’ question is what that I face with so much awkwardness. But why should I be embarrassed? It’s because I’m 26, I have been married for seven years and I haven’t planned for a baby yet. It might absolutely sound simple or even trivial to a person, who is busy with his or her own life. But it might look like a crime to many, who think that it’s the sole responsibility of a woman to become a mother. And that thought is what that I try to set straight with this piece!

A couple of years ago, my mother went through a minor surgery and my father was admitted in the same hospital at the same time to treat his broken leg. My father’s colleagues visited them. While we casually spoke about many irrelevant things in the hospital, one of the visitors nonchalantly asked me, “How is your husband?” I replied politely. The man then rubbed me the wrong way. “Do you have kids?”, he asked. My response was negative. He then shamelessly asked, “Why? When would you tell us the good news?” What did he expect me to tell him? I was taken aback by his audacity to ask such a sensitive question to a woman, whom he didn’t even know well. I chose to ignore the question. But why would anyone cause such a rude shock? So, that was one case!

Then come my Facebook well-wishers, to add insult to injury. There are few friends on my friends’ list, who ‘like’ my posts or chat with me, when a film of Rajinikanth releases. Such is the rarity! Or there are people, who wouldn’t exchange pleasantries when I bump into them. But, those are the ones, who act like major extroverts in the virtual world. They catch hold of me on Facebook and I detest those rare occasions, when they try to build conversations unwarrantedly. I always wonder how insensitively people can begin a chat. The webtroverts say ‘Hi’, ‘how are you?’, ‘How is life?’ and tada! They jump the gun! ‘When are you going to give us good news?’ Now what should I tell these people, who don’t share a bit of my life? What should be my response to those, who pretend to don the hats of sympathisers, but end up being gossip-mongers? I ‘like’ babies’ pictures on Facebook and these people openly comment, “Oh, you like this baby? You should have one.” How! How could people go down to that level!

Tamil films and serials don’t seem to stereotype people. People, by nature, seem to become blind while following few customs. One of my aunts, who might come across as a Tamil-soap mamiyar, comes home for an occasion. We chat away to glory, talk about Tom Dick and Harry and finally, she chooses to ask how I like my job. I go on with my monologue for few minutes before she stops me impatiently. Then she chagrins me with the ‘good news’ question. She says, “What’s the use of working like this when you don’t have a child? You have to have a kid. There is nothing more enjoyable than motherhood. If you like what you are doing, when will you have time for all that?”

Phew! I should also write a couple of lines about some bestest friends, who show their TLC through the question, "When will I become an aunt? When will I become an uncle?" Bloody, these friends of mine are old enough that even a teenager can call them aunts / uncles. :) And again, they try to play the role of a gynaecologist to shove their half-baked medical knowledge on me. "Don't push it too long. You might not be able to have a baby at all later!" Now who wants such free advice when this world already has narrow-minded gynaecologists galore. (That's a different story. I will write a blog about doctors, who still belong to stone-age) Finally, the worst thing about friends, who persuade me, is they all believe that my husband and I don't give a damn about life and we end up spending all our money on curd rice, icecream and cigarettes, so they have to take up the onus of 'reforming' us! :P

I always struggle to assimilate the fact that those who don’t know anything about me, who don’t even know my husband’s full name, who are unaware of my lifestyle, who don’t bother to pay heed to my ambitions, who don’t give a damn about my financial conditions, choose to force-feed me with their futile and uncalled-for suggestions.

Yes, I clearly understand that parenthood is beautiful. But, why is it that people refuse to accept that some might choose to bask in its warmth and some might choose to go with the flow of life. So, why would anybody who would want to sound sensible, discuss such a private theme quite casually? Why doesn’t it occur to people that it’s indecent to discuss others' personal lives? When a couple takes some time to move to their next phase of life, they have to be given that space to contemplate and decide. A couple, who are married for a long time and who doesn’t have a child, in my opinion, should not be pitied and the assumption that they have some medical challenges, should be eliminated. Just because a woman postpones or skips motherhood, her choice doesn’t make her less feminine nor does she become an object of ridicule and so should be the case for a man!

Life seems to be quite eventful and it’s already filled with myriad of challenges. At the same time, there seems to be a million things that fascinate and many more things add value to this precious life. One should appreciate that having an issue is certainly not the prime focus of life or the only source of happiness for some. All that anybody would expect from society is less intrusion and more openness towards others’ opinions and decisions! So, the next time, when you see me striking a pretty pose with a baby, please don’t ask me the ‘good news’ question. :) Because, I will make you read this painful blog again. :)


  1. This is the sad truth about our uncivilized society.

    Draw your attention to the last section of my article:

    You don't have to answer such irresponsible questions. Instead, bombard them back with questions, and mind you, you won't be rude. Only shake them up.
    1) How does that change your life?
    2) Is my decision connected with any of your decision making?
    Punto... move on. No more discussion on that topic.

  2. Very well said, Sriks. Thank you :)