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Wikipedia defines this word as ‘leftover women’ ; women who are not married, being in their late twenties (me) in Asia, India and North America. Like the word ‘spinster’ wasn’t enough, they needed to find another word to describe our singleness and stag entry to parties. Thanks a lot!!

I have been thinking about this post for a really long while and I realized that this one had to come across as a fight back to the society that has shunned us and made women like us feel small and unwanted. Let us see how well I go on with that without deviating. (Note to self!)

My flatmate and I recently had a big showdown with our landlady who was telling us that if we wanted to have boys over to spend the night, we had to get our parent’s consent. For a minute, I felt like I was in school again, asking for permission to spend the night at a girlfriend’s place, waiting for that nod just like the PASS against your roll number in college. I was again taken back to one of my married friends’ comment when I didn’t get permission from my parents to attend their anniversary party because it was after dark (my father thinks that rapists prowl around after the sun goes down, not before). She said, “Thank God! I’m married. I don’t need to worry about getting permission anymore.” I laughed at that thought, thinking how much freedom being married brings when in actual reality, aren’t I not free… from the shackles of that institution and everything?! Just thinking out loud for the benefit of all those married people with babies who are reading this and cannot step out and see this from our eyes.

It’s bad enough that every second person I meet wants to know whether I’m married and have kids but now, if I’m not married and staying in an apartment without parental supervision (our door is guarded by a CCTV camera to capture footage of who broke into our house the next morning – what else does it do?!)… I need to call my parents back home in a different city to ask whether a colleague of mine can stay over because it is too late for him to go back home?!! I’m 26 years old… old enough to be married and giving birth to babies but not old enough to make a call on who gets to spend the night at my rented apartment?! I’m laughing at my plight. Please laugh along. It’s the least you can do.

This is my youth… what’s left of it at least and you want to take that also away by bringing in stupid rules and terms?! I’m a leftover woman, like one of those lonely, last packs of product on a dusty shelf in a departmental store where everybody passes and pities it but doesn’t take it because it is the only one there. (thinking it might be left there on purpose for cause of being defected) Dumbasses!!

I’m staying away from my family and friends, willing to make new ones at 26. I’m willing to change my profession because I wanted to give my heart a listen and follow its instructions. I log in on Facebook and am that silent liker of others’ lives as they go happily and steadily by, getting engaged, married and becoming parents, and posting pictures of their bitter sweet happiness. Sigh, I’m so happy for them that it makes me want to cry. My clock is ticking and my body is beginning to have strange hormonal changes when kids make me teary eyed and maternal, without having people tell me how I should have kids soon or I’ll suffer complications. I’m only 26, you nosey-parkers! Do me that much of a favor and don’t keep giving me advice which I clearly can’t use because… guess what… “I’m not getting married anytime soon!”… unless of course you want me to be a single mother, which again you will have issues with. There is no winning with you, society!!

So, yes. I’m a Sheng Nu. I have a life to live before I end up losing it to whatever it is you guys seem to be harping about. If you still want to know when I’m getting married; please talk to the pandits (Indian fortune-tellers/ men with magical powers), who seem to think I’m getting divorced sometime about now anyways, from my last reading!!

A frustrated, 26 year old.