Side Effects of Turning Twenty For a Girl
“Happy birthday to you”, everybody sang in chorus. It was my friend’s birthday. She turned 20. “Wooaaah! Teenage is over man”, she said excitedly. “Congratulations beta, you are finally 20 now. I think it’s the best time to get married. I will definitely talk to your mum about it. God bless beta”, said her mother’s friend. What an appreciable gift she got on her 20th birthday! I think it was all enough to spoil the day. She had turned 20 not 50! How can someone even think of marrying a girl aged 20 in this modern era? And with the cherry on the top, she would even talk to her mum about it and then her father and then maybe the whole society! It seemed like she would marry my friend tomorrow if she had the power and right to do so. Amazing ambush. I never knew that turning 20 was such a disaster for girls! I went back home and told my mother all about it. “Relax! You have all the time till 25 to study and achieve all that you want to in your life. So don’t worry girl. I won’t let all this happen to you ever.” She stupefied and dazed me with her words. I never felt so blessed before!
After few days, I went to my grandmother’s home.” Just a year more and you’ll be married Atima”, my grandmother exclaimed. A year more? Isn’t that too much? What will I do even in one next year? Marry me today because that was my holy grail, my only aspiration, my only dream! I was vexed and indignant. I didn’t utter a word but maybe my weird stares and anger came across my face and she understood my irritation. I never heard her saying this to my cousin. He is elder to me. He turned 25 this year. Why are people not getting him married? Why all are so worried and concerned towards me and other girls of my family? Why? These are unanswered and unsettled questions that my heart still asks. My mind is full of aggression and certainly not in a situation to respond to this topic. But then, where will I get my answers from? Where we born to get married only? Don’t we have our dreams and aspirations? Why is everybody living in the rush? “Move on!”, came a voice from inside. Next day, I went to my college but my mind still pestered and irked me with those questions. Surprisingly, I started noticing more of married girls in my college. ‘Chuda’- a traditional set of bangles worn by women after their marriage for few months- was more visible to me and was the center of attention for me oddly.
It is rightly said, “The greatest tragedy in life is that some thoughts go unanswered as they go unasked”. I didn’t know why femininity seemed so stifled and smothered to me. But the regressive mindset of this tyrannizing society and their subjugating and repressing attitude made me bridle at them. Today, I look at myself in the mirror only to realize that I never feared marriage and this constitution more than I do at present. How can I and the entire femininity be benefited if married early? What good will it do to us? Crush our dreams, ruin our liveliness, and snatch our freedom from us and on the top put a baggage of responsibilities and expectations on our shoulders. Anything else? Any more benefits does it have? With these unanswered questions and the quest to get answered, my journey continues. My desire to wait for the time when people would encourage their girls to live their lives allowing them to accomplish their dreams still prevails. Life is an unanswered question, but let’s still believe in the dignity and importance of the question– is all I can end my thoughts with.
———— About the Author: This article is contributed by Atima Dhall, our intern. Atima is an under-graduate from Shyama Prasad Mukherjee college, Delhi University. She aims to conquer the world with her writing and sights at instigating people to differentiate between black and white,i.e. justice and bigotry. With immense optimism and buoyancy, she scrutinizes her society and intends to work for its betterment through her writing.