Wednesday, 4 December 2013
When you get asked the same question again and again and again…..
As a childfree person, you know the question that gets asked of you again and again. When you get the same question ad nauseam, it makes you think real hard about the decision you have taken after thinking real hard. My answers, and perhaps my thought process, have evolved over time and I’m sure they’ll keep evolving until people stop asking me.
The following conversations are all real (except where indicated):
Question: So why don’t you want children? (this a couple of months into marriage; I am 29)
Answer 1: Umm… I don’t feel like it.
Response: Don’t worry. You’ll feel like it. Everyone does. Just remember, your clock is ticking!
Question: You don’t want to take any responsibility in life? (At this point I was taking a break from work and generally chilling; Age: 34)
Answer2: Well the truth is I have decided to take the responsibility of reducing the world’s population.
Question: But seriously, I still don’t get it. Why no kids?
Answer3: Well since you asked, let me ask you, ‘Why did you decide to have children?’
Response: An uncomfortable silence with an embarrassing smile; occasionally, ‘because everyone does, because we’re meant to’ or ‘because I don’t feel complete without children.’
Question: I ‘m sure you don’t fit into this category but you know most other people these days are not having children because they want to lead an extravagant life. Very selfish and self-absorbed, don’t you think? (This is from someone at a women’s empowerment conference who wore a permanent ‘holier than thou’ look.)
Answer4: Well, we have limited resources these days including water, so don’t you think it’s selfish to have children? And anyway, isn’t it good that such ’self-absorbed people’ don’t have children? Imagine what kind of parents they would make. But don’t you think we should be breaking the mould of what being a woman really means? So, what about you? Why don’t you adopt instead of having children?
Question: Don’t you like children?
Answer5: I don’t mind playing with children as long as I can return them to their owners, oops parents.
Question: Ok. Why don’t you have children?
Answer6: Isn’t it time we flip the question and start asking, ‘Why are you having children?’ The resources and infrastructure in most cities in India can’t handle the current population. So shouldn’t people be taxed for having children at this point? Shouldn’t we be questioning the need for more? How many people think before having children? We have progressed to the question of ‘when kids’ but not evolved to ‘why kids’. When will we get there?
Question: Isn’t it selfish not to have children?
Answer7: Give me one unselfish reason (other than stupidity) why people have kids. Or indeed, why people do (or don’t do) anything in life.
Question: No children? How long have you been married? (A persistent aunt who asks me this every time we talk over the phone. I never know what to say... I’m 37 and she still hasn’t lost hope. It’s time to create a hopeless situation.)
Answer7: ‘Yes Aunty. You are so right. I’m “trying” for the last 9 years including a year before marriage. We try everyday – morning and evening. Sometimes afternoon also. All positions Aunty. But nothing. Sad no? But I’m not giving up. Actually, I have to keep the phone down – it’s our time to “try”. So bbye!
I haven’t had the courage to give this answer yet – maybe some vodka might help me with my delivery! No pun intended.
I would love to hear your responses to this question. A handy repertoire of some wickedly funny retorts would be nice to dish out at the appropriate time. So, what have you got?