Stranger Danger

So how does this arranged marriage thing work exactly? I know that there is the match-making rishta karaane waali aunty and relatives and matrimonial sites involved. And then one sends photos and a proper bio-data.

For those who don’t know the insides working on how to meet your dream guy/girl (desi arrange marriage version), allow me to explain. I am relatively new to it as well. Not foreign to the concept but I am an actual participant this time so I get to know the deets. Somewhat. Anyway,so what happens is, the parents tell everyone that their daughter/son is of age and that they are looking for a groom/bride. So those who are hiding and withholding back their eligible kids, bring it on. Some parents even put up their sons/daughters for auction on matrimonial sites where interested people view the profiles and sell off their sons in return for daughter-in-laws and vice versa. And then there are rishta aunties : you know those aunties whose eyes are magnified under glasses and who eye you up and down and they only attend parties to see which sheep are good for purchase. They get paid if the proposals come to fruition. To be honest this match-making tendency is a genetic trait in all desi aunties and they love pairing any and every boy to any and every girl even if they don’t get paid. It’s a charity work. Us kids are the charity cases.

desi aunty

Once both parties are set up, comes the exchange of photos and biodata. The bio-data is just like a resume you would send for a job and I guess it makes sense because of course I am applying for the role of a wife (duh) and if they approve of my bio-data, I get accepted. You also have to mention the qualifications of parents,how many siblings (what they do,if they are married) plus jobs and contact details of paternal uncles (I know,weird). And all this I get.

proposal

Next comes the formal meeting. How do you know in the meetings and phone calls prior to marriage if he is the right person for you? Even a drug-dealer looks innocent while on trams and trains. You can’t tell if the person is being genuine or not. Plus what questions do you ask? How do you tell if he is an underground criminal or hiding a girlfriend underground? How do you tell if he is wearing a wig or is that his real hair? How do you know whether he is not that weird psycho protective one who won’t allow you to blog after marriage? What if he has an annoying habit of biting his nails, or scratching his ear incessantly, or spitting at every corner? What if he has those racky coughs or snores loudly or laughs weirdly like hyenas? What if he smokes?Is it ok to ask whether he knows how to cook? How much he earns?Does he have a short temper? (I guess after all these questions, I will have the short temper question answered 😛 ) How do you know if he doesn’t really want to marry but his parents want him to? How do you know if he is being forcefully married? He would hate me then. Also do you look him in the eyes and talk to appear confident or is that considered brash and bold by desi standards? Do you ask too many questions in the first meeting or leave it for later?I mean will there even be a later? And how do you know you have clicked? I have too many awkward situations in my life to handle that happens involuntarily and then this??? This is straight up jumping into the most awkward pretentious situation ever.

I guess its the fear of the unknown.I am not bashing the concept of arranged marriage but it doesn’t look too promising either.Most of my friends have been arranged married happily. And in sha Allah I will too. The destination is out there. It’s the journey that scares me. This whole process of getting to know the right guy. Of making him the right guy for you. Of leaving your family behind. Of entering into a brand new family.My friends have done it. Millions of other girls have gone through the process. It won’t be that bad right? Right?

rishta pic

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The One

When I tell my friends of my parents actively searching for a guy for me, they seem confused. “But how do you know that he will be the one?” You don’t. You make him the one for you.

Arranged marriage is a weird concept to white people. Dating is frowned upon in my culture(Bollywood creates false image of acceptance of love.Those aunties that click their tongues when they see you talking to the opposite gender don’t make the movies.It’s the desi uncle who love masala and spice)and forbidden in my religion. It is hard when you have clash of cultures, religions and people in a group. One of my non-desi non-muslim friend has a boyfriend, one of them is a muslim desi engaged to be married and I am the single muslim desi. So while both of them are busy texting their significant others, I am deciding on what snacks will be awaiting me when I reach home from uni. Not that I am complaining coz hey, the sight of food pleases me just as much. I get all mushy too when I see steaming pizza and we never fight like ever. Food and I are just meant to be.

pizza

These days all I hear about are proposals and marriage and my friends getting engaged, my cousins getting engaged, when the marriage date is getting fixed and which aunty is searching for a boy for their girl or a girl for their boy. Maybe I grew up and that is why these topics seem more pronounced to me because all of a sudden the theme changed from career to husbands. And I wasn’t prepared. I am still in the career mode. And while marriage won’t put a full stop to that dream of mine, it will most definitely be a life-changing experience. And I hate changes. Well, changes are good or I would get bored of routine. But not my life change changes. The plaza gets renovated, the apps get updated and my house gets repainted, that’s all cool. But changing house, families, living with new people, it will take ages getting used to it. Even though it has been 5 years since I moved to Aus, I still wake up in the morning and wonder where am I? for a few seconds. If 16 years of living in Dubai did that to me, you can only imagine my reaction 22 years living with my family will have on me. I shall wake up and scream at my husband and ask “Who are youuu??”

rapunzel

My parents will celebrate their 27 years of marriage in October. When white people reach such jubilees in their time of spending together, they get asked what is the secret? Desi people have unlocked the secret ages ago. The secret is live together,STAY together (no matter what, even if the husband is ugly). I can’t say for desi people my generation now though. Divorces are getting common in my area too unfortunately. And as cliché  as that sounds, I feel social media is partly to blame. Wives are in competition of which husband gave the best present and who is more romantic and where did which couple celebrate their getaway.You know, that competitive desi mentality lol. Its ruining marriages now.But that is just the tip of the iceberg.Other factors account too.

Now, when I am at that age of what is supposedly every girl’s dream of meeting the one, it doesn’t seem all rosy. Books and movies don’t offer step by step manual.Even if they did, chuck it away and create your own.That doesn’t mean it will be a fairytale story. You got to prepare yourself for the bumpy ride.And I guarantee it will be smooth sailing after for a long long time. The magic word is compromise.

***All opinions stated are mine (ok some might be the influence of a couple of aunties and grandmothers’ advice. I went to a party recently and got heaps and loads of advice on how to handle marriage so yeah.They told me to compromise I replied yolo (not really)).

***All images and gif via Google Images.

You know you are desi when..

  • your mum asks who is going to marry you if you wake up so late.
  • your mum asks who is going to marry you if you don’t learn to cook.
  • your mum asks who is going to marry you if your roti ain’t round.

roti

  • your mum asks who is going to marry you if you don’t keep your room clean.
  • your mum asks who is going to marry you if you don’t know how to do the laundry.
  • your relatives ask who is going to marry you because you didn’t turn out to be a doctor.
  • your relatives ask who is going to marry you with all that NRI attitude.
  • you get to know the requirements of being eligible for a proposal (for a girl : young,fair,slim,tall,doctor,good-looking, great at household responsibilities, can cook, clean, soft spoken, well mannered etc etc. and for the boy : good salary)
  • you hear aunties talking about complexions (bechaari ka rang kam hai (poor girl is dark skinned) or parhne likhne main kuch nahi lekin rang bohat saaf hai (does not excel in studies but is really fair)).
  • you have billions of events to attend from birthdays to weddings and funerals and graduations etc.
  • you attend desi parties and have no one your age group to talk to.
  • you attend desi parties and its full of discussion on how corrupt your country is or how politicians are greedy and useless and not fulfilling their promises.
  • you attend desi parties and its full of gossip.

gossip

  • you attend desi parties and meet an aunty you have never seen before who questions everything about you from the moment you were born to your future plans, hobbies,career aspirations either to gain information for gossip or to check whether you would be a suitable match for her sister’s son back in India who is doing M.Tech and already has a job offer.
  • you attend desi weddings and all aunties be looking at you rather than the bride because they are searching for a bride for their sons.
  • you can’t wear makeup to a party (eyeshadows and bright lipsticks are a no-no) because aunties be zooming in on your face and turning noses so high up in air with scorn and disgust that it practically touches the ceiling and comment on the fact that at their time girls didn’t even look at makeup before marriage and girls nowadays are wearing so much makeup that they look like brides when in fact you just wore a thin line eyeliner (not even winged eyeliner) and a slight tint of lipgloss. Mind you, these same aunties are wearing bright red lipstick and bright pink blush that they didn’t even blend in properly. I personally believe they are fuming on the inside with jealousy that they didn’t have awesome makeup and makeup tricks at their time and try to make it up now by not letting any one wear it).
  • you can’t talk about the m word (marriage) because aunties be commenting on the fact that you are so shameless but then they ask your mum in front of you,your brothers and father whether she has started to search for prospective proposals for you.

Confused_face

  • you call one of these aunties “aunty” and they wince out audibly in pain because they are only 20-30 years older than you and hence fit under the category of appi or didi (older sister).
  • your parents lament the fact that you are a disgrace to their upbringing but get overprotective when an aunty or uncle enquire about you. In fact each desi party is not complete without a boasting competition on whose son or daughter is better.

anu-aunty-11

  • your studies is all computer-based but your parents assume you are always on YouTube or Facebook or Twitter when really you are just finishing up last minute assignments.
  • you have extended relatives that you never knew about and when you visit India your mum introduces you to some random person who supposedly is your father’s sister’s son’s uncle’s cousin’s daughter’s husband.The meeting is awkward. The questions are awkward.The answers are awkward. But you gotta be polite and smile awkwardly.
  • you are a trophy, a medal that your parents have to polish and shine so the society knows your worth and what a good job your parents did in raising you up.
  • your success depends on whether or not you became a successful doctor.
  • your beauty depends on whether or not you are fair and lovely. Also whether you are thin or not.
  • your status depends on what brand of ethnic clothing you wear, what/how many cars you own, how many kids you have, how many types of cutlery dishes you have, how many succesful huge parties you throw, how many properties you own, how many high profile upper class society people you know.
  • you can’t be on your phone 24/7 because everyone starts commenting on your zero social skills and your upbringing and how rude you are being because back in their time they would greet the guests at the door and take out the guests’ slippers and attend to the guests’ needs and entertain the guests and serve dinner and after-dinner tea and sweet dishes and put on the slippers and wave them goodbye till the guests’ car could no longer be seen.

I shall stop now. Sorry for the long list.

*Disclaimer : This is a satirical post written in good humour to incite laughter among my readers. The intention was not to offend parents,aunties, desi elders in general. Some points are exaggerations inspired by real life events, some are a balance between typical desi mindsets and attitude and some are just plain fiction. My mum is a total chill person who lets me sleep in late during weekends and vacations but advises me to train myself to wake up early. She has taught me the basics but knows I will cook and do laundry when the time comes. In fact above points do not represent my parents. With the points relating to aunties, I shall let you decide.

***All images and gif via Google Images.