Sologamy: Self-love ties itself up in knots

A lot of folks were getting their knickers in a Gordian twist because they didn’t know such a practice is in the realm of probability

By Sushmita Bose

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Published: Sun 5 Jun 2022, 11:14 PM

All hell broke loose on a number of WhatsApp groups (that I am part of) a few days ago when there was a news flash about a 24-year-old woman called Kshama Bindu — hailing from Vadodara (though I still like to call it Baroda), Gujarat — is getting ready to marry herself. A lot of folks were getting their knickers in a Gordian twist because they didn’t know such a practice is in the realm of probability; some exclaimed Gujarat is breaking the glass ceiling on the human behavioral front.

So, as much as I hate getting pulled into WhatsApp group chats, I had to tell them, hello, it’s been around for a while, and it’s called sologamy — look it up, there’s even a Wikipedia page (the litmus test of being ‘de facto’) on its evolving etymology and sociology. In fact, a travel company in Kyoto started offering sologamy packages way back in 2014, so sologamy predates the iPhone 6. And much, much before it became a real trend, a couple of years into the third millennium, there was Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City conducting a pseudo-wedding with herself when she was taking a break from men.

Come June 11, and Kshama Bindu — who’s been crowned the first Indian ‘sologamist’ by the media and social media — will be decked up in bridal finery, and taking part in a traditional Hindu wedding, wherein all tokenisms will be in full flow. But obviously there won’t be a groom, and she’ll be saying the Gujarati equivalent of ‘I do’ to herself. I’m also assuming this wedding will not have any legal standing, because, so far, sologamy has had no history of possessing locus standi — which is fine really, because neither do commitment ceremonies or engagements or Barbie’s nuptials with Ken, and if people still want to dress up, call in the caterers and dance to music, so be it.

The real fun started (at least in my eco-system) when Indian politician and Boston University alumnus Milind Deora tweeted the following — with reference to the Gujarat sologamy: “I have said it before — ‘wokeness’ borders on insanity. Let’s hope it stays far, far away from India.”

It’s remarkable how the term woke-ness is factory-fitted to anything that seemingly breaks through the clutter (other than the fact that Milind Deora sounds thoroughly inane when he equates sologamy with insanity). Greta Thunberg is ‘woke’ because she cares about the environment — and she works assiduously, by all accounts (even if she has her share of detractors), to that end.

But does that mean the Gujarat sologamist is woke because she cares about self-acceptance, and is “the first to set an example of self-love” in India?

Let’s see why sologamy is being considered woke, because a lot of conversations on social media has been about linking the two. In 2017, a woman called Erika Anderson tied the knot with herself in New York. At that time, she had been quoted as saying “I would describe it [sologamy] as women saying yes to themselves… It means that we are enough, even if we are not partnered with someone else.” Similarly, Kshama Bindu has said, “Self-marriage is a commitment to be there for yourself and unconditional love for oneself. People marry someone they love. I love myself and hence this wedding.”

She also said, “I never wanted to get married. But I did want to become a bride. So, I decided to marry myself.” But here’s the thing: at 24, it’s not the end of the marital possibilities road for her, and since there is nothing binding about sologamy, she may very well choose to tie the knot — with another human being — five years, or 10 years, or maybe even 20 years, down the line. Isn’t it too premature for attribute ascribers to be jumping to conclusions?

I don’t think there’s anything woke about sologamy. It’s probably just an attention-grabbing tactic. Else, why would someone inform the press about an intensely personal decision and helpfully hand out quotes and supply photographs? Who knows, she might emerge the next big social media influencer once she livestreams her “wedding” and declares unconditional and unending love to herself?

Attention-seeking, like modern-day attention spans, is fleeting. People — yes, the same ones who claim they are inspired by woke movements — move on seamlessly to a new thing without even a look back. There is a very good chance that by the time this sologamy is called out for the bluff that it is, they would have forgotten about it.


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