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The never-ending questions!

“You married a Christian? Have you ever wondered what any children you have would be?”
I have to say this one stumped me. Not because I’m naïve enough to think nobody (nobody who matters) would have thought of this but because I genuinely didn’t think anyone would voice it and ask me. Staring at the supposedly well-meaning relative who asked the question, I had to bite my tongue to keep from sticking it out at her and saying, “Mind your own business.” Mainly because we were at a public function and there were a lot of people listening in.
Which brings me to what this post is really about. What gives people the right to ask personal, inappropriate questions of you? Who says they can cross the line and invade your personal space? Why is it so hard for people and society at large to respect someone’s right to privacy?
When are you going to have children? What are you waiting for? Why did you marry a man who spends six months of the year away from home? How do you know he’s faithful to you while he’s gone? I actually smiled and answered that one with “The same way he knows I’m faithful to him while he’s gone.”
To which, I was asked, “Is that what your romance novels call having faith in your relationship?”
I replied, “It’s what I call having confidence in it.” This last question, mind you, was asked by someone of my generation, someone I had until that moment considered a friend. Needless to say, she didn’t stay a friend. Especially since she continued to belabor the point.
While we could brainstorm ways around these nosy parkers, I’ve realized it’s pointless because they will never change. But we can. We can either let them agitate us or we can learn to handle them. Easier said than done, sometimes.
I often wonder how they would react if I countered with an offensive, intrusive question of my own. I’m tempted but I find it hard to lower myself to what I consider terrible manners. As a very private person, it took me time but I’ve learned to stop being outraged and angry and to laugh instead but this one question, “What will your children be?” steps so far over the line that I find it hard to just ignore and walk away. So I’ll answer it. This once.
“What will my future children be?”
“Good human beings. That’s all I hope and pray they’ll be.”

12 Comments

  1. Devika Fernando
    April 6, 2015 - 4:38 am · Reply

    Absolutely love the answer! This would look great in a magazine or newspaper. :-)
    And I’ve experienced similar questions by people when I decided to get married so young (and to a Sri Lankan although I’m (more of) a German citizen)…

  2. Adite Banerjie
    April 6, 2015 - 8:58 am · Reply

    You’re a wise one, Shilpa. It’s only after years of suffering through such questions with gritted teeth, and acquiring an extra few grey hairs in the process, that I have learnt what you already know. Ignore them or laugh it off with an even more offensive answer! :)

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