(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

“Are you a student or are you working?” asked a middle-aged woman who squeezed herself into the space between me and another in the women-only coach on a Delhi Metro train.

“I work,” I said, tugging a bit at my dupatta, which she was sitting on.

“Married?” she asked, still breathless from the dash she made for the seat after boarding the train.

“No.”

“Your parents must have started looking.”

“Really? You know them?”

“Girls should marry by the time they are 25-26,” she said. “Otherwise later they will only get widowers and divorcees.”