Monday, July 17, 2017

No Country for Single Women.

I have said this before and I'll say it again, I love to go out and eat by myself. I love to go out and watch movies by myself and I love the most to shop by myself. All these are activities where others add little value. You are eating the food, not them. You are watching the movie while the other person stays quiet and watches the movie too, and you are buying stuff for yourself and so the only opinion that matters is your own.

These are some of the few things I enjoy doing when I need to take a day for myself. Six days of the week, you can't shut me up around people, but taking a day to recharge is important as well for me and my mental health. After having lived in the States, Nigeria, Spain and India, I have come to the conclusion that India does not endorse people who like to do things by themselves. In madrid, it is never hard to find a spot in the park or in one of the million cafes to enjoy the sun and the wind. In the States there is always a hike, or a kayak or a biking trail waiting for you or in the worst of cases a poor little starbucks that will give you respite from people. In Nigeria too, at least in the afternoons you will find cafes peppered with some book readers.

In India however there are no avenues designed for single people. There are no parks that you can do, nothing safe at least, restaurants don't even come for seating for one, and even the fanciest of cafes always have huddles of 3s and 5s that 'hangout' together. Even Paytm won't give you a movie ticket discount unless you are buying 2 tickets. I have looked far and wide in the last three months for my fellow young, single people. Where are you at?
Don't get me wrong, I don't want to come up to you and talk to you, I just want to crack a smile in acknowledgement that you exist.
And it's not restricted to women, my male cousin who just wanted to read a book and get a drink was asked 4 times no less if he really just wanted to eat alone by wait staff.

Of course, I've still tried to go out and watch movies by myself, failing to find a single other person who just wants to watch a movie on their own. At the malls, there are people with parents, people with boyfriends, people with spouses, friends, but unfortunately zero lone wolves. Travels for a young single woman is a different ball game altogether which unsafe from the get go takes extra pills of courage in India. There are a few hiking groups and trekking groups that get together on long weekends to nearby cities, but none so far have seemed to be safe or credible enough to grab my attention. My latest attempt at enjoying myself was going to the pool of a fantastic hotel and even there I was surrounded by double dates and a huge joint family. Sadly, not a single other single person.

All these observations over the last few weeks have gotten me to think - Are we as a society just so uncomfortable with people being happy on their own? Or are we just uncomfortable with being happy when alone? I have seen people in a couple or bigger group throw questioning looks at those who eat alone, do we scare you? Does our independence and confidence to enjoy things alone freak you out?

Disclaimer: When I say single, I mean someone on their own, it has nothing to do with your relationship status.

This song has nothing to do with the article, it's only here because I like it.

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