Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 7, Tuesday July 15, 2003






Spot light

The Single Life

The dictionary defines a bachelor as a person who is unmarried and has long since passed the age for wearing diapers. It's the life of a free spirit sans any bonding ties. It's a life free of hardships or so they say. In a bachelor's life the word 'NO' has little significance. Everything can be done or at the very least attempted. A bachelor's lifestyle is not like ten other persons. They can roam all day or stay up all night to write poems. For all anybody cares they can be sleeping in Kamalapur railway station or dream of rolling on money all day.

The bachelors often reside at home with their parents. The males are usually viewed aimless while the females are seen as some willful old temperamental crone. More ofter than not they are treated as black sheep. Even if family members do not feel this way society with its over-large mouth has a lot to vocalize.

Bachelors of course, cannot be bothered to pay any heed to such remarks. Their belief lies in leading a life without the aid of any partner no matter how difficult it may be. Those with a modern ideology do away with religion, society and what anyone else has to say. As for those who do bother they prefer to lead their solitary lives in their shells. Many reasons exist for someone to chose either variations of bachelorhood. Reasons can be failure in love, family problems, self-sustenance, extreme difference of opinions between the sexes or a certain concept of freedom related to being single. There are many other reasons as well.

Saif Ahmed is an employee of a reputed organization in the city. He's a die-hard bachelor at 40. It is his strong resolve never to marry. He has started working before completing his education. Work is so important to him that matters like marriage are a distant thought.

He has seen his friends and colleagues getting married. He considers himself lucky from observing how couples have many difficulties. He is free from the binding relationships, free to be whatever he wants.

He's given most of his income to his parents and the rest he uses as he pleases. Living in a relative's house, he does pay a form of rent. The rest is spent on books, trips and recreation with friends. He can spend money any way he wants because according to him married men constantly have to answer to their wives. That's his personal observation. He considers himself happy for not needing to confer with anyone on any matter. The only problem is facing the family when they pop the question regarding the 'when' and 'why not' of his marriage.

He says facing such queries is a result of the social conditioning. It is as if people have to be married. But at such a late age it is difficult to find a wife who can also be a perfect friend.

Bachelorhood is the best alternative
The concept of marriage is a silly one. Just how many married couples have a relationship entrained on intimacy and maybe even a bit of romance? These days it seems most of the married people live their lives in a catatonic state. Their hearts and minds are often elsewhere, not necessarily with another person but more likely perusing another life style.

Take the case of Lovely. She is 41 with a mother, sister and three brothers. Her father passed away when she was young. She earned her Bachelor's degree and had various jobs to support the family. Her life revolves around her family. Her brother now works in a private bank and two of her sisters have gotten married. There's less pressure on her now and she can concentrate on her life. But she is at a stage where she cannot even consider having someone as a life partner. She has achieved a certain amount of respect and status in life. Similarly a man would not easily express his feelings to her in view of this. It's one of the regulations society abides by. It's tough to find someone with a complementary personality. Why unsettle her life by committing to something as crazy as marriage?

Zahirul is a very impatient 30-year-old bachelor. His aim in life is the continual pursuit of all things related to his career. He lives like a king in his own rented flat. Working in a media agency allows free reign to his artistic talents. As a result his conceptions vary from that of 10 others. He has found contentment in his work. There is no need to look after anyone so he is free from constant parental nagging regarding marriage. Whatever he earns can be literally blown away. He can run from here to Timbuktu at a moment's notice. He is leading the fantasy life of wanderlust.

He believes that the bachelor life lets him pay more attention to his work. Marriage will create a barrier to his art. He does not feel alone because of the countless friends. Who needs marriage?

There are many people who live in beautifully decorated homes or apartments. What's missing is a partner although it's hard to tell at a glance. Owners of these homes lead a structured life with a hand in developing the community. The person often has a commitment towards society. The person stands out among others. But to reach this state requires a lot of work that at times blew into oblivion all other facets of life. The intoxicating lure of career makes them miss out on a lot.

Take for example the case of celebrities. There are plenty of celebrities who are still single despite being 40 or 70. It does not matter whether the fields are art, literature sports or politics.

They've remained bachelors forever because there was no time to think of this when there was time. Ironic, isn't it? Could be they never found someone to marry or the one they found they lost. Celebrities don't want to speak of their reasons for bachelor hood. They would rather keep it behind closed doors although most admit that to get where they are now, they had to pay a price. Reaching their apex they often realized there wasn't any appropriate partner available.

Opu, Aleh and Mamun used to work in different fields. Once they use to live in a rented room near Motijheel. Furniture in the tiny room included three beds and a couple of chairs along with the necessary glass, pots and pans. They would often set out at 8 or 9 am. A maid would came to cook and clean. The three of them took turns doing the shopping. Among rules they had to obey there was the payment of rent before the 5th of every month. Another included returning home by 10. But often they would have to stay out later than 12 after midnight due to work.

They did have wishes of a married life but it was kept on hold in favour of a career. Marriage did eventually take place but much later. For them their bachelor life was a gem to be treasured. The memories of a life led without explanations.

Memories of spicy hot food prepared by the maid and the resulting application of sugar to soothe the burning tongue. There were the many chatting sessions with friends.

They are all well-known personalities now and when they meet they let out a sigh of remembrance at the days left behind.

There's a saying that a bachelor lives like a king but dies like a dog. Bachelors have few responsibilities enabling them to lead a carefree life; giving them the courage to overcome many obstacles without having other thoughts occupying their minds. Add to this a strong self-confidence. But at some point of time this strength and confidence breaks down. The ravages of time take their toll on the body and turn it into a crumbling leaf. If not financial then definitely the mental difficulties reign supreme in the last days of a bachelor's life.

They sometimes face financial straits for having spent money wantonly in their youth. Many do not have much savings left. No one is left to share the pains and sorrows leaving one to remain embroiled in suffering till death comes knocking. It's a shame to have lived such a lush lifestyle but die alone. But of course there are other optimists as well.

By Sultana Yasmin
Translated by Ehsanur Raza Ronny


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