Alright, now begins the hard part. Navigating a sea of uncles, aunties, concerned family friends, and your married older cousins who just want to see you burn in hell. All this to avoid the god-forsaken question: “Beta, tum shaadi kab karoge?”
Unless you’re one of those girls who just absolutely cannot wait for her fairytale wedding (totally cool btw, you do you), these are the thoughts that would run through your head at one point or the other, throughout the duration of the torture fest:
1. Game plan: “Be invisible.”
Don’t mind me, I’m just going to blend in with this crowd. If they can’t see me, they can’t ask me anything, can they? Genius!
2. Oh no, I’ve been compromised. Hide! Hide! Hide!
Yep, your not-so-favourite aunt’s steely gaze has found you hiding behind the dessert counter. This is how it ends. Tell my doggo his hooman loved him.
3. Can I just smile and wave and make this go away?
Maybe if I pretend to be a sweet innocent little girl like I was a lifetime ago, I might be able to trick them into seeing me as that tiny toddler who fell face first into a pool of mud on her first day of school. No?
4. Alright, here it comes. Brace yourself, woman!
You know it, they (your ‘well-wishers’) know it, even the guy serving butter chicken at counter 5 knows it. You can see it in their eyes. That glint, with an ever so slight smile. They’re basically prolonging your torture at this moment. Just get it over with, will you?!
5. Maybe, just maybe, they won’t do it this time. That could totally happen, right? Right?
A false sense of security wraps you up in its warm welcoming arms. After all that reminiscing about how sweet and adorable a kid you once were, you hope they’ve forgotten that according to them you are of ‘marriageable age’.
6. Aaaand… Boom! You’re hit!
“You’re next! We’ll find you a nice good looking NRI guy and get you married off within the year, alright?” Nooooo… Just one family gathering without you guys planning and plotting to pack me off with some random dude. Is that too much to ask?
7. Shit! What do I answer? You’d think I’d be a pro at this by now. Well, apparently not.
You’re sweating. You can’t move a muscle and yet you’re shaking. You can feel that panic attack coming on. That fake smile is practically plastered on your face right now. It’ll still be there when they lay you in your grave. “She died due to the anti-shaadi syndrome. Serves her right.”: You’re tombstone will read.
8. Maybe I can give them one of the answers from that “10 witty comebacks to the shaadi kab karoge question” article I read on Facebook.
What was the first one again? Oh no, not that one. At this point, they may even be ready to let me have a lesbian wedding. What will my tinder matches do then?! Actually… No. Let’s not go there.
9. Oh, no! They’re all still looking at me. Mom, help!
You lean on your non-existant telepathic skills and send cries of help to your mom who’s all the way on the other side of the room. Come on, mom. Palat, palat. Dammit, why am I not Raj from DDLJ?!
10. She’s coming! Wow, maybe I really do have superpowers!
By some stroke of luck, mom actually does make her way over to you and the circle of predators who’ve trapped you. Yaaas queen, yas! Get over here sooner, unless you want a puddle of sweat for a daughter.
11. Et tu, Brute?!
Mom! You traitor! I summoned you here with my brain waves to help me out, woman! Not join in with the enemy team and pile onto the ‘shaadi‘ mania. No! Stop looking at me with those googly eyes imagining me in a 60 kg wedding outfit.
12. Alright, it’s all up to me now. A girl’s got to do everything by herself around here, I tell you.
Okay, buddy, you got this. You’ve managed to escape these shaadi-hungry vultures all this time, you can do it again. You totally have this under control. Alright, enough with the pep talk. Give them an answer before they think you’re having a stroke, or worse, that you ‘sharma gayi‘ at the prospect of impending matrimony.
13. And, BAM! She scores! *standing ovation*
You give them the well-crafted, loophole-free, bulletproof answer that you’d been saving for code-red situations like this one. (No, I’m not going to tell you guys what mine is. Can’t have it become too popular and be the next ‘Yeh bik gayi hai gormint‘.)
14. Phew, that was close. I need a drink.
Like a wounded war veteran, you retreat to safety, to nurse your injuries. With a plate of that keema biryani, of course. What? A girl get’s hungry!
15. Never again!
As you wolf down on your questionably tall plate of food (looking over your shoulder for another sneak attack), you vow to yourself: “Never again! I will not be attending another family gathering in this lifetime.”
Then, you remember. Next month is your niece’s first birthday party. F***!!!