Settled

Last weekend I attended my best friend’s wedding and in the process applied mehendi. Today, as colleagues inquired about all that henna, I pranked them into believing my fake engagement story. After being told the truth, a colleague expressed how deeply and truly happy she felt upon hearing that I had finally settled.

I don’t know if this is among the top 3 things Indians say but I hear it often – “Settle” instead of “marriage”.

Ever since my older sister got married, people say to my mom “Now, only Tomo has to settle”

Relatives (God save the relatives!) ask me “when do you plan to settle?”

My married friends, who I know genuinely care for me, say “at least start thinking about marriage and settling down”

Truth be a bitch to all you married people – we single ladies feel as settled in our singledom as you in your lifelong companionship. Asking us to settle down is like us asking you to have more babies.

It’s the most annoying request we have to put up with. You need to understand that marriage is not everyone’s top priority. I am an independent woman with other ambitions, I love my career and my life after work. I care for my family and am content with the way my life has turned out so far. So, having a man to validate my stability or happiness isn’t even the last thing on my 56-item bucket list.

Then, there is all that talk about getting lonely as I get older. In my understanding marriage can get lonely, boring and frustrating too. So does parenthood. I don’t believe it’s bad for me but in my opinion, I am not ready for it. I’m a lot more free, happy and sane in my current situation. At the end, there’s nothing that you can gain or lose from my marriage, unless you’re my husband. If you like surfing through wedding pictures on Facebook, there, that’s gain # 1.

Even if it seems like it, this post isn’t a rant against marriage. I do plan to marry when I have a solid reason for it – the only reason being I’ve found THE man. Maybe, I won’t see the need to marry even then. And yes, if and when I get married I’m not going to feel settled. I’m more likely to be happy for a new reason.

I feel settled now.

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Oh my dog.

I am a dog person. I have had the most beautiful, loving, caring and adorable dogs in my life and that’s why I am enraged about Yulin and China as a whole. I always knew that dog meat is common on menus there. My colleagues have told me all about it. What I didn’t know until now was about the “festival” and I never had seen pictures of dog bodies piled up in butcher shops before. Worse, for the first time I saw dogs stuffed in cages and the sadness in their eyes took my anger to a whole new level.

So, here’s something I wish to debate on. Fellow non-vegetarians, please please don’t be mad at me for saying what I’m about to say.

Every time I signed a petition against Yulin there was a big question in my head regarding my own preference for meat. I eat every animal that is accepted as food in India. Chicken, quail, turkey, mutton, beef (rarely) seafood etc. I’ve been to Mosque Road in Bangalore during Ramadan but never liked it because of the heaps of meat, people and lack of hygiene. I never returned after my first visit and never ate there anyway. SO…my conscience questions me – why is Mosque Road OK and Yulin not? Both serve tons of meat. We’re not talking about Chicken, camel, seafood, sheep and quail V/S dog, we’re just talking about animals in general. Why is it fair to kill one animal and protest the killing of another. My only answer is – “Mosque road is NOT serving crispy dog. Nobody should hurt a dog!”

Other questions flow – why don’t meat shops shock me the way pictures of the dead dogs do? will I ever sign a petition against sale of cattle and poultry in India? My answer is – No. I will sign petitions for proper transport of chicken and livestock. I would also sign petitions to keep alive animals in separate rooms and out of sight from dead ones that are hung up in rafters, chopped to bits and sold to customers. The local butcher will vouch for me because we have had arguments regarding this matter. However, when state governments banned beef in India, I said people in this country have the right to eat what they want. However, I wouldn’t say that to China and demanded for a ban instead.

So here’s my conclusion on this topic. We are programmed to accept our culture and other cultures PROVIDED they match our ethics. That’s why we will never accept China’s eat-everything-that-moves (including-dogs) food culture. It’s OK for us to celebrate thanksgiving by serving up thousands of turkey and turn all kind of cattle into kebabs to feed 20,000 self confessed carnivores at mosque road for 30 days BUT no 10-day DOG eating festival please. If I had to be true to myself, without being partial to dogs, I believe I’m being unfair to all the animals I eat when I support one animal over the others. It’s hypocrisy, even if you say the world sees sheep as food and dogs as pets. The fact is somewhere, in crazy China town, dog = nutritious food.

I wonder if this kind of conflict has occurred to non-vegetarians who protested against Yulin. We’ve seen butcher shops and the scene is no different from Yulin. I’m so conflicted that I quit eating meat a few days ago and I doubt I’ll return to it anytime soon.

Oh by the way, I still have no respect for a culture that doesn’t respect dogs. I might be a hypocrite and not accept a certain kind of non-vegetarianism but my stand against the dog eating “festival” hasn’t changed and I’m thoroughly disgusted.

Comments please.