Single, Stylish and Salmanisque

Roopank Chaudhary rejoices the bliss of being single in the city

Having moved to Bandstand a few months back, I now live somewhere between the two colossal celebrities – Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan. Given the current conflict between the two stars, I had to take sides and have quickly paid allegiance to Salman Bhai. Not for any other reason but the fact we have something more in common that just our area of residence. Our marital status and what a source of pride it is turning out to be.

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For a girl, there are many things that go into play for being envied by other girls. Looks, attire, the net worth of her beau, a successful career, stunning body, etc. – you will need a combination of a few to get other girls giving you the green-eyed look. For a reasonably successful guy, it’s far simpler. Remain single. That’s the happy conclusion that I have come to, basis the kind of reactions I have been getting from guys over the last few years. And this analysis is not just restricted to my ‘monkey-sphere’ – it extends to the male species in general.

My office and friend circle is full of married men, some ‘just become’ and a few ‘long become’ dads, who lead a mundane existence of a 10 hour job that has to be maintained given the household responsibility they carry on their sagging shoulders. They rush into work in the mornings, crib and grumble about their lives and wives in the day and then rush back to their houses in the evenings (perhaps they really look forward to their families – fair enough). But during drunken parties and boys night outs’ (which technically is their only ‘hall pass’ to any boyish enjoyment) they tell me a hundred times how lucky I am being a bachelor; they derive vicarious and vicious pleasure about my escapades over the weekend, and on my current dating list (however outdated that might be). They look at me like a demi god, who still lives life his way, and has ample opportunity to set the social stage on fire and has more multiple partners at any given point than they can ever dream of in their dreary lives. Needless to say, this feeling of power and a cult status is nothing to complain about, and I do nothing to break the façade of fortitude that is bestowed upon me thanks to my marital status.

Then there are guy friends whom I meet after a few years or strangers who I get introduced to at parties. And then there are Uncles and elderly relatives who might get down to ‘guy’ talk after a few whiskies. ‘Oh you are still single (read: happy) eh? ‘Lucky bastard. How cool is that’? Most of them with that envious streak in their eyes and the grudging admiration in their voice as they realize that I am part of the elite ‘haves’ while they in their conventional conquests of wife, family, household etc., are now relegated to the ‘have-nots’. And money has no role to play here in this socio-demographic-marital divide in our country!

It may be argued that such envious reactions and mindsets are gender specific – there are rarely any girls or girl (friends) that I meet / know who would consider my current status (quo) of singlehood praiseworthy or admirable. But then, men are from Mars and women from Venus, right?And as I mentioned before, a guy’s frame of comparison in life is with another guy, not a girl, right? How much money he has made, how successful he is at his job, how hot a girl he is dating and or how popular he is (ridiculously such comparisons can now be made, monitored and measured easily on mindless mediums like facebook and linked-in)– that’s all relative to  another guy, not a girl. So the argument stands.

But what often makes me smile is the irony of the whole situation. Yes I love the freedom, the ability to live for myself and the option of making each weekend as unique and colorful as I want it to be. There are times when I look at the beaten and battered married pack and feel safe away from it.  But then, there are Friday evenings spent late at work because I have no plans and no family to go back to. There are Saturdays spent on grocery shopping and maid hunting and dry cleaning and overseeing electricians and managing plumbers because I only get time for that on the weekend. Or that I may not have a rendezvous fixed up with a hot model each Saturday night because being single doesn’t mean you always have options aplenty. I may be sitting home over the weekend watching and envying Charlie Harper and his single life because I may not have had a plan to hit a bar since all my damn friends are married and cuddling upto their kids. And that it’s not cool to be ordering cheap takeaways for food when my maid decides to play hookey. And that I come home to an empty home on most hectic weekdays after a grueling session at work; there isn’t a PYT waiting for me every time (contrary to popular married man belief).

But then, I am not complaining. There is some happiness I derive out of being single and however much the gap maybe between their perception and my reality, this works for me. And especially so when my coveted lifestyle and life stage is viewed with so much envy and jealousy by my brethren.  I feel the same way about Sallu bhai – and in all probability in his case, my perception and his reality might be very close. But then, there might be the same ‘grass is always greener on the side’ syndrome at play in his stardom styled life as well. Whatever the case maybe, I do know that somewhere I fall in the same league as him, atleast as far as popular perception stands.  And for the time being, being single in the city is a good place to be.

Roopank Chaudhary

Roopank Chaudhary

Roopank Chaudhary currently works as Director – Financial Institutions (FI) at a MNC Management Consulting Firm in Mumbai. Previously worked as a Corporate Banker at a MNC Bank in Delhi.