After my own wedding four months ago, I was prepared for the usual range of comments from peeps -- ‘You look so happy’ / ‘Love marriage or arranged?’/ ‘Hmm… post-wedding glow, haan!’/ ‘You’ve put on weight’. In fact, I welcomed them, and even enjoyed all the attention I was showered with. But it was one peculiar question that I was asked by four seemingly well-meaning acquaintances on four separate occasions that knocked my socks off. Every single time. It went something like this.
Acquaintance: Hey, I saw your wedding pictures on Facebook. Congrats.
Acquaintance: Hmm…so are you still singing?
Me: Haha, yes, of course I am. (Wait a second, what is that question supposed to mean? And whatever happened to subtlety and politeness!)
I wish I had snapped at him saying that my vocal cords did not go into an instant coma the moment I uttered ‘I do’ at the altar, but like always, my quick wit failed me just when I needed it most.
Now, if I were a hot, successful actress I would understand why these comments would make sense. Isn’t it common for Bollywood heroines to quit showbiz soon after marriage? Singers, on the other hand, have had the good fortune to escape such remarks. But I am neither famous nor a full-time singer. Which leaves me with only one residual argument why I was asked this question on multiple occasions – maybe I am considered too much of a well-mannered middle-class girl who is allowed her share of fun but expected to come around sooner rather than later.
Keeping aside the fiercely feminist argument I am tempted to make here, I wonder if a (female) doctor or a pilot would ever be asked whether she’d still be practising her occupation post marriage. But considering this is India, chances are high that she would be. The saddest part is that the people who asked me these questions weren’t from another generation or a social milieu that considered music an inappropriate profession for women, or good only as a private hobby. One of these guys was an artiste manager who had got me a few gigs in the past (yes! the irony is just epic, innit?), and another, a hipster friend who I had reconnected with after a long time. The other two were professional acquaintances. I confronted the hipster pal, who was relatively closer to me than the others, saying, ‘What sort of a question is that? Why is everybody asking me that question!’. Mr Cool responded with a wise statement: ‘Marriage can change a lot of things bro’. Sure, it can.
I am still waiting for the artiste manager to get my band a gig at one of the many outlets he programmes music for. But by the looks of it, I guess that won’t be happening anytime soon.
Funnily, in my case, some of my most awesome music milestones happened post the hitch. I started recording my debut EP only a couple of months ago. And turned lyricist for a musician friend’s upcoming album too. Not to mention the Telugu and Tamil songs I will be recording for another project.
Meanwhile, I am still thinking of a better comeback to that mean question if anyone asks it again. How about ‘No, I am not singing anymore; have turned item dancer instead. It’s more lucrative bro.’ ?