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Monday, April 12, 2010

When I am alone, not lonely

A few things always piss me off no matter how much self control I practice. The top most among them is the question related with my marriage. When are you going to get married? Isn’t your age ripe enough to settle down?
I don’t get the premise of this question. I mean why is it so important to get married? Should one get married because everybody else is getting married? Or should one assume that life is going to be hell if s/he doesn’t choose to get married before the deadline?
Now there is no concrete evidence which says married people are happier than the unmarried ones. There are happy and unhappy people in both categories. But I feel the question of marriage has its root somewhere else. I feel it has more to do with man’s eternal quest with loneliness.
Most of us feel lonely. We try to fill up the space with friends, hobbies, parties, outings and one dozen other things. They give us relief but not permanently. We have a hope that these must be at least one element which remains in our life forever and which can make us avoid feeling lonely.
Marriage comes as an answer. It gives us the hope that there would be someone who would always be there to share our happiness and grief no matter what happens. It shows a small ray as an escape from loneliness.
But what if somebody doesn’t feel lonely when people are not around him? Such people may be less in number but they do exist. I guess I am one of them.
If I count the happiest moments of my life, most of them were enjoyed in solitude. I loved reading some great book, I painted something or I just sat and did nothing. None of these required the presence of somebody else.
I was alone, not lonely. The difference is subtle but important. Being alone means being satisfied with oneself. Lonely means dissatisfaction with oneself and the need of others.
I would like to say I want to spend six out of ten hours with people and other four with myself. Marriage doesn’t seem to be helpful in this direction. It snatches away my opportunity of being with oneself.
So, is there any respite for people like me? The structure and demands of our society don’t give a favourable answer. They want us to be consistently with somebody else. They don’t respect space.
Maybe that’s the challenge. Either I remain unmarried or I devise a married relationship with proper scope for solitude. But I would like to be alone in either case. Because loneliness gets the best of me only when I don’t get opportunity to be with myself.

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