Rishtas: the most important thing in a Pakistanis (read: girl) life.
Something that becomes a concern before a baby is even born. The second daughters are born, they’re blessed with prayers for their naseeb. Who knew naseeb is limited to “achey rishtey” and why is that a concern when a baby is about 30 seconds old?
The Rishta culture of Pakistan is one of the most disturbing parts of the way our society works. Where parents look for the perfect match for their children. Because hey, haven’t you heard? mommy knows best. The day a son is born into a family, there are talks of getting a perfect bahu for him. But what really happens? How is the perfect bahu found? It all starts with a hunt, where the search begins with finding out which families have girls “eligible for marriage”, for their 30-35 year old son. Who’s eligible you might ask?
THE QUEST FOR THE PERFECT BAHU?
Ideal Requirements: Ideally a 20 year old doctor, whose skin resembles milk, hair so shiny it can blind people, eyes glued to the ground and vocabulary limited to “jee”.
Mothers of sons go into the homes of potential bahus ready with their checklists in tow to go judge them, based on solely what they look like and how well she can please this potential mother in law within the hour that she has to meet her. The whole scene resembles that of trying to find the perfect Bakra for Qurbaani at Eid. She’s analyzed.
PERFECT BAHU SPECS:
From head to toe, is her hair real or extensions?. Are her eyes perfectly aligned? Is her nose crooked? Does she have full enough lips? Where’s her skin tone on the scale of white to well, white because no other skin tones are acceptable. Why? Because we need good genes for our grandchildren of course. How tall is she? She can’t possibly tower over our precious son – acha nai lagta. And the weirdest of all her feet, many women report that they were asked to show their feet to ensure she’s pretty from head to toe and her skin tone matches her feet. She’s also not allowed to be older than 23, dulhan bahut bari lagay gi.
CHEF YA BAHU? HM..TOUGH CHOICES
Only once you pass this first round of analysis, you go through to the next round: How will you be of use to this new family. Now she’s asked what she studies, but is cut off because end mein toh choola he aurat ka kaam hai. Since that doesn’t matter, we move on to how many cuisines she’s an expert in – the potential husband loves food from all over the world and we can’t let him starve now can we? Can she do the household chores properly? Because now she’s going to be “taking care of the house” and that’s got to be done very properly because we’re very particular about that stuff in our khandan.
Maybe then you can be lucky enough to be allowed to look at who the potential groom even is, the next visit brings him along so he too can analyze you on the same criteria and if he approves can things move forward If the answers of these questions are satisfactory you go through to round 4: dowry.
JAHAIZ TAU BANTA HAI
Parents of girls are treated as they are being done the biggest favor in the world to have the opportunity to get their daughters married. Now since the favour has been bestowed upon them what can they do “for their daughter” in return. The common culture of parents of the bride sends over everything from the new room furniture to plates, toasters, washing machines and blenders – for their daughters of course. Since before she arrived the prestigious family of the groom didn’t have any of that? Why are they considered so valuable then?
But Shhh Larki Waley Zaiada sawal nahin kartey
In all of this, it’s solely about how the family of the groom will get along with the bride. In Pakistan, your marriage is basically about everyone but the actual couple that’s getting married. Instead of letting them figure out if they could get along and spend their lives together the decision is made based on their outsides – not what makes them who they are.
LOG KYA KAHEN GAY?
The divorce rate rises in Pakistan every year because marriages are based on outdated “formulas” of what will make the perfect bride – and the assumption that the perfect bride can make any marriage work. The only ones that actually make a marriage work are the two people who sign the Nikkah-Nama. The fact that they are the ones that get the least amount of say into the whole process shows how messed up the whole institution of marriage has become in our country.
Here weddings happen because Log Kia Kahen Gay if our daughter is still unmarried in her later 20’s. There’s a race that everyone’s running to be the quickest to be married. But really, everyone wants the wedding and only a few are ready for the actual marriage