The Color of Grass

Three years ago when I went through a painful divorce, what my boss told me (to relieve my stress) sounded quite similar to what I read today – “I envy your lifestyle, man. You are free.” Yes I have lived that life until very recently, and I know this is a stereotype. When I saw a fellow-blogger getting the same kind of comment from one of his mates, I couldn’t help writing this. Something that started off as a comment on the blog slowly grew inside me to take the form of this entry. Thank you for inspiration Kenneth. That was quite a nice post.

What matters is that you enjoy whichever style of life you are in: Single or Married
What matters is that you enjoy whichever style of life you are in: Single or Married

But such freedom comes with a cost. Just like Kenneth’s father said about being alone during Christmas season, every single guy/gal goes through their own set of troubles because being single is ‘un-cool’ and sometimes very ‘un-family like,’ especially in a place like India where I live. Over a period of time I revived friendship with many of my old friends who are single. Whenever any one of them visited my city, they would call me and I would go meet them for coffee.

And unlike my married friends, I never ask them that unwelcome question married people in India ask their single friends: “So, when are you getting married?” Perhaps that’s the reason why these wonderful individuals keep a close bond with me, even though I got married again later. We were never a group, because I like to maintain personal contact with each of them separately, and none of them visited my city together at the same time.

And because I have walked both roads, I know there are different levels of bliss in being single and being married. You cannot compare them, or think which of these situations is “better.” When I was single, I was incredibly free and totally alone so much to the extent that I sometimes had to shout out from the loo “I’M COMING, PLEASE WAIT” when the door bell rings, or ask the mail delivery man to drop off everything at my office address “because I’m in office when you visit for delivery and there is no one else at home.” That might sound silly, but sometimes you have no other option.

Post marriage, I have to call my wife and keep her updated if I’m hanging out with colleagues after office, or if I need to stay back in office late to attend a conference call so that she wouldn’t wait for dinner. She may not agree to that at the drop of a hat. Naturally. Sometimes that makes me feel terrible, because you are not free to do what you instantly want and you demean your partner if you try changing plans at short notice. It is a balancing act, and gives you immense happiness when things work well.

I sometimes just pick up the phone and call my wife to tell her that I got a positive response from that client I’d been following up since months. And she smiles back saying “I know you are going to get it… something inside me gives me that feeling.” And that makes my day. There was never anyone there to share such simple moments of happiness when I was single. Getting that call from that customer would have been my personal moment of pride or happiness which I would have nurtured for a few more days and have let gone. Also I would stay up late nights, sometimes for many days in tension when something goes bad at work… just because there is no one to speak to and share my worries.

No matter which side of the river you are right in now, the grass always appear green on the other side. At the end of the day, what matters is that you enjoy whichever style of life you are in: Single or Married. And yes, if you are single I won’t ask you if and when you are planning to get married.

What differences did you feel in being single and being married? Do share your story.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Manu,

    Truly a remarkable and incredibly honest perspective. I really enjoyed reading this as I have two really close friends going through divorces right now. It is a heartbreaking affair to see families split apart. I can appreciate what you experienced in your singleness as I could not imagine life without my husband and kids as a regular part of my everyday. It is sometimes hard being around my single friends because based on conversations, they appear to long for what I have. It is not in a sense of jealousy, just a longing for meaningful and concentual companionship. I want that for them as well. I can’t think of any single friends that I have who don’t desire companionship but also find value in their singleness. It’s a tough balancing act as you suggested. Great post and I pray others read as well.

    Blessings and Inspiration,



  2. mummystimeblog says:

    I enjoyed this post… and well said!


  3. stacilys says:

    I was single until less than two weeks of turning 30. I really needed to be single for that time in my life. And I lived in that freedom of being single and not having to answer to anyone. I also had a lot of self-discovery to do at that time and ton of garbage from my past that I needed healing from. However, by the time I was 28 I knew I wanted to be married by the time I was 30. I also knew I didn’t want to marry a Canadian (I’m Canadian). I some how knew I would marry a latino. I moved to Brazil, met my hubby and was married before 30 (as stated above). We have two cuties now and, although marriage can be tough, and it is hard work, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
    Heyyyyy, you know Kenneth from Culture Monk? I love his blog. I was even on The Kenny and Kylie show that he and another blogger air every Sunday. I also noticed that you live in India. I’ve been to India twice. Was there for a month in 2000 and then again for three months in 2008. Where abouts in India do you live?
    Great to ‘cyber’ meet you.


  4. A thoughtful and thought-provoking post, Manu. I married at 22, divorced some 10 years later, spent 10 years as a single parent who wasn’t even dating, and have now been married for 12 years. Life alone or with a partner is so rich, varied, full of nuance, so flat and so hilly, so unexpected, so full of choices, changes, longings, and regrets, that only an artist or poet or dancer or composer could capture it. Or so I imagine, today. Still, asking the question — What IS the color of the grass on the other road, the road we’re not taking? — asking the question is an artistic act in itself. For that, Manu, I’m grateful. Oh — and I’m grateful for your likes of my posts, too.


  5. sonniq says:

    Adding my 2 cents. I married at 22 long enough to have 2 children and separated before the second was born. I got tired of his drug usage and not being able to keep a job. I lived with a man for 2 years and ran screaming from mental abuse. As a working musician I was on the road with my kids ( not a great way to raise a family. I never liked living alone. I would look longingly at couples and wondered how they did it? I married again. At 5 years I had enough but struggled through another 5 years with him – then I left and divorced him. I swore I’d never have another relationship. But . . . 15 years ago I met the man I am married to now. One of us is going to have to die to separate us. The lesson I learned – don’t try to change the person you love. All the bad habits our quirks – don’t try to fix them – don’t criticize how the do things – always say please and thank you even if you’ve done it 1000 times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. manuchettan says:

      Wow! Quite some experience there. Great to know your thoughts.
      I had a nice time living alone, though I felt lonely many times especially when I’m down with fever or things like that.
      Yes, as you correctly said – don’t try to make an impact. Rather try to accept the person for who he or she is.

      Liked by 1 person

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