Inevitable. Unavoidable. Age-appropriate. The normal progression. Any discussion between a late 20's man and his family/friends/associates inevitably and unavoidably drifts into his marriage plans, more specifically, the lack thereof, and always advocates getting married as an age-appropriate and perfectly normal progression of events in said late 20's man. Not to forget, inevitable and unavoidable. Alright, I think I used them enough already too, I just wanted to emphasize how often, repetitive and boring these discussermons become, and you would probably register this point by noting that I have created a whole new word just for it.
The fact remains, that every walking, breathing, earning man in his late 20's is perceived by our society to have an expiry date tattooed on his forehead. And a countdown timer, much like those in game show's, hovering over his head, making louder, more threatening sounds as time goes by. There is a deep rooted fear that once the timer reaches 0, or in this case, 30, this man is done for. The neighbors will talk! What will people say! How will we find him a suitable wife? And other such drivel seem to justify his family's need to get him married, or as they say here, settled in life. Free will continues to remain a theory best left discussed as objectively as possible, inapplicable to all men in their late 20's. And it isn't fair on this man. He got through college, and many of his friends got married the minute they had graduated. He had to endure their weddings, and his parents incessant grumblings about when he'd get 'settled'. Then he was recruited, and started contributing to society by paying taxes, even though TDS is hardly voluntary. And how did society repay him? Even more friends of his got married, those who bit the bullet earlier, as they graduated, even had the gall to make babies, and thrust them in his face. The parental grumbling had by now made way to their pointed barbs, some 'random' remarks about cousins getting married, distant relatives getting the pleasure of holding their grandbabies in their arms, and playing with them in the park, you get the picture.
Then, the unthinkable happens. Our late 20's man decides that he's had just about enough of all this nonsense, and get's himself a girlfriend, to distract him, so to speak(feminazi's please pounce, I might get a date out of it). Not to be confused with all the prospective wife talk that we did earlier. Said girlfriend is now known to all in the man's family, as 'that' girl. As if her character is somehow in doubt, her origins disturbingly suspect, and her very presence in his life akin to stage 4 cancer. Of course, all of this makes our hero(see how I mould his character and make you feel for him) very, very sad. In his despair, he argues with his family, and weeps on 'that' girl's shoulder. The consequences of this arguing and subsequent weeping please his family to a very great extent. I should explain that now, you see, when late 20's man, or as we now know him, our emotional hero, weeped night after night on his girlfriend's shoulder, while she did the decent thing, and massaged his emotions, what she was really after was a very different kind of massage(now its getting weirder). And some fun in the sun, shopping, weekend trips and..., you know what I mean. So, after a while, she get's tired of washing the saline smears from her shirts(tops, is it?), and tells our hero to buzz off. In the most delicate fashion, of course. We wouldn't want people to think she was in it only for the fun, and expose her shallow outlook, deep seated insecurities and overall 'just not cricket'-ness. Hence the pleased-as-punch parents, who have since renewed their search for the 'suitable' wife, and, who are certain that their son was saved from 'that' girl's evil charms only because they fasted every Thursday, and spent every waking hour praying to a whole battalion of Gods.
What they fail to realise, is our hero, and be rest assured, he is one inspite of all that has befallen him, is now an angry, bitter, cynical man. Angry at himself more than anybody else, for his failure to control how his life has been treating him, and where his life appears to be headed. For that is all that a man in his late 20's truly desires. Not a girlfriend, not a suitable wife, not a huge house and fancy car, not anything else. Our hero lives in a world where his earning potential should be peaking, or at least pretend to be. A world, where his peers are constantly one-upping him by getting married, making babies, moving to foreign countries, sending him endless picasa albums of said foreign countries, commenting on his facebook profile about married'y things, or about babies, about the different tax saving mutual funds he should consider, about real estate opportunities that if missed, will surely be the end of the world, and everything else under the sun. Our hero, who is quite angry, but doesn't show it, who is now determined to storm silently and alone into the darkness that his future appears to be, is quite literally, a lonely man in a crowd. And his way of handling it is to further isolate himself, and keep all interactions with other people at a bare minimum. When he returns home, his only words are a 'good night' here, and a 'food was great' there. When he finds himself in an event of a social nature, he finds solace in his smartphone, a dark corner and a glass filled with whatever poison appeals to him that night. He does shake a few hands, make the rounds and make sure people remember he exists. But, after a while, he is always alone. Sometimes, he feels the need to reach out to old friends, but then remembers they are probably making more babies, or travelling to other foreign countries, and as rapidly as the thought of reaching out came to him, he shift-delete's it from his mind.
I don't know where I am going with this account of our hero's life. I don't know because, our hero hasn't told me yet. Remember, he is now intensely addicted to being alone, untouched and unbothered by the rest of his world. So much so, that he has even stopped listening to that little voice in his head, that tries occasionally, to get him to shrug away his fears and walk amongst those who have inevitably, unavoidably done so themselves. It being a very age-appropriate thing to do, and just a natural progression of events. Bah! Why do I even bother.
Disclaimer: Remember people, this is fiction, it has no reference to any living man in his late 20's, and is certainly not a self-potrait, however much your mind may try to make it appear so.