‘Get Lost, Auntie’ – Ten Single Indian Women In Their 30s Share Their Stories - Homegrown

‘Get Lost, Auntie’ – Ten Single Indian Women In Their 30s Share Their Stories

There is plenty of fish in the sea, it’s true ... especially when you’re still in your 20s. What they don’t tell you is that a majority of those fish find other fish and by the time you hit the big 3-0, you’re left with a pitiful pond at the most, and its fish population is dying faster courtesy of groundwater poisoning. At least, that’s what the lady fish are led to believe. It’s interesting, isn’t it, how the exact same situation can be viewed with such polarity when looked at via the lens of gender? That society views a woman who is ‘ageing’ and unmarried with pity or disdain, no matter the successes of their path less travelled? Even friends in the same age group, coupled-up and sheltered in their security, end up viewing these single friends as the resident entertainer, whose sole purpose is to regale them with tales from ‘the other side.’ All their ambitions and achievements reduced to glass figurines – inconsequential and breakable unless they are displayed on the shelf of a “settled life.”

The conversation is a global one, yet, in India, it takes on a particularly hostile tone. While the modern, urban woman is repeatedly told she can do anything, it lasts only as long as her singlehood doesn’t. Once she enters her 30s, she is perceived as nothing more than a ticking time bomb, only diffusible through marriage. Rishtas and blind dates sourced by friends and family soon become a regular part of their lives, often followed by freely-handed courses on a compromise that must become the cornerstone of getting a ring on their finger.

For women who choose or find themselves in this bracket, it’s a life fraught with challenges. Yet, somewhere between the nosey aunties announcing that our sex appeal has ‘expired’ and the kinder aunties who make it their mission to “fix” our single-by-choice attitude with all the finesse of a gay conversion camp, there’s a whole breed of firebrand women—now more than ever—who refuse to succumb to these pressures.

Unafraid of being either vulnerable or successful, a timely Instagram post on our page led to endless musings, anecdotes, support and so much humour from single Indian women in their 30s (and older) who are as open to sharing their truth as they are willing to laugh at themselves. Ladies who are perfectly fine with admitting they long for love, as long as it’s on their own terms. And many who have had to endure a kind of societal violence for the journeys they’ve found themselves on.

Don’t take our word for it. We took deeply personal journeys with over 10 Indian women who did just this, questioning them on the endless stereotypes, the exhausting myths and the ever-changing realities. Here are their stories of struggles and triumphs as they embrace single-hood in their 30s.

I. Ipsita Tripathy | 31 | Digital Marketing Professional

“Suddenly my family has no interest in knowing what drives me, what gives me joy, and what gets me out of bed every morning.”

Ipsita was born and brought up in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. For the past seven years, she has been living and working in Mumbai, which has now begun to feel like home.

On Entering The 30s

“When I was younger I felt a huge need to be more social, and have a huge network along with the constant need to be busy. Now I embrace things that truly matter and prune the rest!”

Tackling Changing Social Pressures

“I was brought up by a ‘tiger mom’ who pushed me to focus on academics and extra-curricular, so I could score good marks, go to a good college and have a successful career. So, I did it all and on the way even found my professional passion — building brands. Somehow, the whole marriage and having children conversation never figured in my childhood. It’s in the past seven years that my parents who had once taught me never to quit doing what I love, suddenly switched gears to ideas like —

“If we find a suitable boy for you in a different city, you should quit your job and move.”

“Get married while you are still young and attractive.”

“All your friends are getting married, you will be left alone.”

Such attacks are followed in different ways from gentle nudging, emotional blackmail, and the last one being their refusal to talk to me because I won’t “settle down”. When the people who are supposed to believe in you, no matter what, sell you short (evinced by the marriage proposals shared with me), it is a bitter pill to swallow.”

On Marriage

“I think marriage is a beautiful concept that I am completely open towards experiencing myself. But it’s not a solution to all of life’s problems (although my parents think otherwise!).”

Biological Clock, Myth v/s Reality

“Motherhood is not everybody’s cup of tea – and it’s definitely not for me. Even if one does want children, one can always choose other ways to start a family regardless of whether your body’s anatomy supports it or not. What’s most important is that you are cognisant towards all that motherhood entails.”

Differences Between Single Men and Women In Their 30s

“For men, it’s the prime of their life, where they are expected to achieve their potential. Women, on the other hand, are treated like a ticking time bomb – someone who got ‘left behind’ and will ‘end up alone’.”

On Singlehood

“There sure are bad days – moments of self-doubt and insecurities which surface from time to time, but it’s not something that ‘finding Mr Right and settling down’ will solve. Life has its plans for me, and I’ve planned for it, and we are enjoying a wonderful co-existence.”

II. Krishna Khunti | 30+| Yoga And Meditation Facilitator

“It’s generally a global perspective that once a woman is in her thirties and if she is still single, then there must be something wrong with her.”

Krishna lives between the UK and India, coaching and conducting well-being workshops around the world.

On Entering Your 30s

“It’s given me the clarity and conviction to do only that which I really enjoy – all else can just fall away.”

Dating In Your 30s

“From the not-so-sure sure exploratory 20s, in contrast, my thirties have enabled me to be more sure about who I am and what works for me. I confidently walk away from meaningless interactions and choose to invest wisely.”

On Marriage

“Marriage is such a beautiful concept – the promises of a love undying, unwavering, uncompromising. However these sentiments don’t necessarily have to be realised through a formal government agreement – it could just be a vow from one person to another in whichever manner they deem fit.”

Biological Clock, Myth v/s Reality

“Women don’t have to give birth to become complete. Especially in today’s day and age, when we live on an overpopulated planet, with largely ill-managed resources and a large number of parent-less children, it would be wiser to adopt.”

Breaking Stereotypes

“It’s generally a global perspective that once a woman is in her thirties and if she is still single, then there must be something wrong with her. Like she’s too fussy and should get a reality check. Why would anyone ‘settle’ for a person that you will interact and spend the rest of your life with? Beats me.”

III. Utkarsha Padwal | 33 | Content Writer

“The concept that a woman would want her own space and life is an alien one to most people in Indian society.”

Utkarsha lives in Mumbai. She had a typical middle class upbringing where she was expected to study, work and then get married. She chose otherwise.

On Entering The 30s

“In my 20s, I was anxiety-ridden, insecure and didn’t know where my life was headed. Now, I am a lot more confident and know what I want from life.”

Tackling Social Pressures

“The moment I turned 24, everybody was suddenly concerned about my single status – the relatives, the maid, that random aunty you meet on the train. Every conversation was about it and every weekend was for ‘meeting boys’. I was already an anxious person, to begin with, and this constant pressure led to a breakdown. So, I decided to move out of my parents’ home. Since then, I have been blessed enough to be around positive people who would rather talk about their passions or making the world a better place than obsessing over marriage.”

On Marriage

“After going through the whole anxiety-inducing nightmare of arranged marriage meetings, I was turned off by the whole institution of marriage. Though today I am more open to it because I see it as both a fulfilling partnership and friendship.”

Biological Clock, Myth v/s Reality

“When I tell people that I don’t want kids, they keep trying to convince me otherwise! Please just trust that a grown woman knows what she wants! Not wanting children is a choice and people should respect that.”

Breaking Stereotypes

“The most amusing one – if you’re not married by the time you’re 28, you’re destined to become that ‘quirky buaji’ dependent on her family. An unmarried woman isn’t a comedy trope and she definitely is not a burden on her family.”

On Fulfillment

Being married or not being married at 30 doesn’t define you. Live life on your terms.

IV. Shahzeen Barodawala | 30 | Dentist

“I embrace my age and do whatever the hell I want anyway.”

A practising dentist from Mumbai, she doesn’t like being boxed up in a clinic. She has been working in Ladakh managing outreach programs and treating patients free of cost along with dental volunteers that come in from all over the world.

On Entering The 30s

“I embrace my age and do whatever the hell I want anyway.”

Dating In Your 30s

“My taste has definitely improved and I don’t have the patience for games. I’m done chasing boys, I’m busy chasing my dreams right now!”

On Marriage

“It’s definitely nice to have someone to grow old with but I don’t necessarily need to be married to have that! Marriage tends to add a responsibility – it’s something I’m not ready for yet.”

Biological Clock, Myth v/s Reality

“If I outrun the clock, there’s always science to help me!”

Differences Between Single Men and Women In Their 30s

“Well, you’re definitely hot property if you’re an older guy, definitely eligible for the younger ladies. But as a 30-year-old woman, I’ve not only missed the bus, the bus is nowhere in sight.”

Breaking Stereotypes

“The statement – ‘It’s too late for everything by the time you turn 30.’ I believe the opposite – to get up and make the changes you want to see, whenever you want to see them”.

V. Ruchika Dahiya | 30+ | Content Developer

“Turning 30 has meant fewer insecurities, more confidence, newer experiences, better friendships and more clarity on my goals!”

Ruchika has been working with Indigo Airlines for the past decade and she currently lives and works in Gurgaon, Delhi.

On Entering The 30s

“Although it was initially scary, now turning 30 has meant fewer insecurities, more confidence, newer experiences, better friendships and more clarity on goals.”

Biological Clock, Myth v/s Reality

“The biological clock may have been a big thing 20 years ago but it isn’t so anymore. If I’m meant to have babies, I’ll have them, if not I will adopt!”

Differences Between Single Men and Women In Their 30s

“Society seems to think it’s okay if a guy focuses on his career till his early 30s and then wants to get married at 32. But if a woman is in her early 30s, she won’t get as many ‘good matches’ and should resign to her limited choices — old balding men or divorcees.”

On Singlehood

“Honestly, I love being single. I am my happiest and most carefree self when I’m not dating anyone. Though at the same time I also do look forward to having a companion that’s not necessarily friends and family.”

Breaking Stereotypes

“If she is over 30 and single, she’s a spinster for life. I think that one is the funniest.”

VI. Shruti | 29 | Media Professional

“Personally, I think marriage is both an outdated and overrated social construct.”

Shruti calls Kochi home. She is agnostic, a cussing feminist who prefers an unoccupied womb. She also loves cuddling puppies, binge-watching TV shows, and consuming unnatural amounts of meat, cheese and chocolate.

On Marriage

“Personally, I think it’s both an outdated and overrated social construct. If you really want to be with someone for as long as you can (forever is a bit of a stretch, I feel), why not just let it be as it is? I don’t see the need to involve legalities and the 3,000 odd relatives I don’t even talk to. Though it’s easier for me to have these beliefs since I don’t want children and raising kids in India without being married is very hard.”

Biological Clock, Myth v/s Reality

“I’ve never wanted kids as long as I can remember. As for the whole biological clock thing, it’s complete BS that forces women to have kids when they aren’t ready! Fertility does decline over time but it’s not as bad as people make it out to be.”

Differences Between Single Men and Women In Their 30s

“A 30-year-old single man is seen as marriage material – mature, financially stable, smart, handsome, bonus for the yummy salt pepper hair. Whereas a woman of the same description is viewed as an old hag – no one will fuck her dried up vagina, slut, stuck up, choosy westernised bitch. The double standard is absolutely infuriating.”

Breaking Stereotypes

“Recently, I went on a trip to Europe and I can’t express how liberating it was to be surrounded by people who didn’t flinch at how old I was, who didn’t ask me if I’m married if I’m looking for love if I want babies or why I’m single. I fucking despise these questions. Do I go around asking people why they got married? As much as I’m thinking it in my head. No, because that’s none of my business. I wish uncles and aunties in India would get the hint.”

On Singlehood

“Love it. I can live my life on my own terms and there is nothing sweeter than that. Don’t mind the occasional companion, obviously, because it can get lonely sometimes and I’m not ashamed to admit it either.

VII. Suhana Medappa | 35 | Communications

“The 30s have been exhilarating – I have developed a fantastic rapport with myself.”

Suhana is passionate about art and meeting people from different walks of life. Currently, she manages the communications team for a health and wellness company in Bangalore.

On Entering Your 30s

“Right through my childhood and 20’s, my internal dialogue was always at odds with Indian societies expectations of women. I’ve been told that I’m too opinionated, loud, masculine and aggressive – all of which that doesn’t help when ‘boy hunting’. So, I spent a long time accepting myself. The 30s have been exhilarating, with developing a fantastic rapport with myself and I am truly grateful for it.”

Tackling Social Pressures

“I’ve never faced any pressures as such, but since the last few years I find it very endearing when relatives and friends want to set me up with someone.”

On Marriage

“I have mixed views on marriage. For the most part, I think it is a very tough and unnatural institution. Finding a partner you want to compromise for is key. I’m not averse to it but I’m not actively chasing it and I’m not sure I can sustain it.”

Biological Clock, Myth v/s Reality

“It hasn’t bothered me so far. I sometimes think that one fine day my mind will wake up and scream ‘I want babies!’ but that hasn’t happened yet. My artwork is my baby as of now, and I’d like to devote as much time to it as I can.”

On Singlehood

“Being single is amazing. I enjoy this freedom immensely. There is so much to do and so much to learn. I enjoy a lot of time to myself and spend the remaining time with my loved ones.”

Breaking Stereotypes

“That there’s something ‘wrong’ with you if you haven’t found ‘the one’. Earlier, I felt bad or took it to heart but now it’s amusing!”

VIII. Saloni Shukla | 32 | Actress, Dancer And Model

“Every day, I wake up looking forward to more life!”

Saloni practises a laid-back lifestyle of slow and ethical living. Currently based in Mumbai, she’s always in search of new destinations, new things to do and new waves to ride.

On Entering The 30s

“I had a long list of things to do for myself before I could take on responsibilities like getting g married, having children and building a family. As of today, I have won a bronze medal in a state regatta, learnt to surf and snowboard, started learning ballet and I am currently pursuing my MA in Kathak. I did all these things post my 30s!”

Tackling Social Pressures

“My mom and dad raised my brother and me to think and act with love, passion, and compassion in every sphere of our life. Hence, I never felt the family pressure to get married. Sure, there is always that one nosey Pammi aunty who is terribly worried about my single status and will coax me to get married every time I see her, but I just want to say to her – Fuck you, Aunty! because the 30s are the new 20s and life is only starting up for me.”

On Singlehood

“At the moment, I am dabbling between being a filmmaker, a classical dancer and a model. I have a wide social circle with rich relationships, so honestly I never really do feel the absence of a partner. Though someday I would love to have a family and live on a huge farm!”

IX. Shilpa Shah | 37 | Teacher

“Being single – what’s not to love?”

Mumbai-based Shilpa worked in the corporate field for eight years before pursuing her love for teaching children and being a pseudo-child herself! In her spare time, she paints.

Dating In Your 30s

“Personally, dating has been hard work for me because when you are an ‘80s/ ‘90s kid, it’s hard to find a partner who shares a liberal outlook to life – one which involves priority to work, travel and a sense of not being tied down. These are essentials to me and finding them in a partner is not all that easy.”

Tackling Social Pressures

“If anything, my parents have become more liberal after I made it clear to them that I didn’t want to get married or have children. They appreciated my honesty, to the point that they proudly tell other family members that they have a career-driven daughter who has absolutely no intention of settling down. The only pressure I face is that I need to prove myself in my career.”

Is Marriage In The Picture?

“Marriage for me holds really no importance – if it is to happen, it will, if it doesn’t, I’m more than happy to stay single or live with a potential partner.”

Biological Clock, Myth v/s Reality

“If I had a rupee for every time someone told me that my biological clock is ticking, I’d be a millionaire! People just never stop to think that I actually don’t want children of my own even though I love working and taking care of them.”

Differences Between Single Men and Women In Their 30s

“In Indian society, women who are over 25 and not married are considered to have some kind of defect or a promiscuous past – that’s why they’re single. Cut to my male friends who are in the same or similar age bracket as myself they’re considered the ultimate bachelors, living the good life and being able to date as many women as they want.”

On Singlehood

“Being single — what’s not to love? I have taken up several courses, travelled the world solo, and made a great career for myself too! The fact that I have achieved all this without being dependent on anyone makes me feel absolutely brilliant.”

On Expectations

“As someone who’s dealt with judgement all her life – here’s what I want to say: Society just wants us to cave in to pressure because of the ‘culture’ we belong to. Your happiness counts and if that means no marriage and no kids, take the courage to live life on your terms.”

X. Ankita Mahajan | 30 | Teacher

“It can be hard sometimes because there is no one to take care of you.”

Originally from Chandigarh, Ankita is a French teacher who now lives and work in Pune.

On Marriage

“Personally, I cannot go through an arranged marriage. I don’t really like the idea of someone telling me who am I supposed to live with.”

Biological Clock, Myth v/s Reality

“I agree with society on this one, while it might be biologically possible to become a mother late in life, I wouldn’t want that gap between my children and me to be too wide. Also, I don’t think the prospect of a happy marriage and motherhood is mutually inclusive at an older age.”

On Singlehood

“It can be hard sometimes because there is no one to take care of you. However, I still like my freedom, as I am the kind of person who likes to keep to myself. Concentration on academics, taking a yoga class or going on a trek – these are the things that give me pleasure for which I don’t necessarily need a man’s company!”

If you enjoyed reading this article we suggest you read:

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