The Rishta culture in the subcontinent is quite amusing. We have all first handedly witnessed it or actively been a part of it. In Pakistan, people from older generations take a lot of pride in the successes of arranged marriages. The amount of effort that goes into finding a suitable girl or a guy can seem very challenging. There are a zillion things that the “baray” have to assess while looking for a suitable rishta. As times are changing, the younger generations are finding it hard to adapt to the strange norms of the rishta culture and quite frankly, find themselves weirded out by the process.
The “chaaye” that brings two families together where they exchange awkward pleasantries, the house is unrealistically squeaky clean and somebody tries to break the awkward silence by asking a question. Haye! At the Entertainment Couch, we discussed the strangest things people have heard from a Rishta prospect’s family!
So think aunty calls my mum and after a few minutes of idhar udhar ki baatien she comes straight to the point that we are calling because we heard you have a daughter that we might be interested in and the first thing she asks is “Ap ki beti bhaari hai ya halki?” (Translate: Is
your daughter light-weight or heavy)
My mum, absolutely shocked at her audacity was furious and replied very coldly, “Pata nahi, kabhi uthaa ke nahi dekhi” (Translate: No idea, I have never lifted her up) Aunty jee was now sure that she had managed to piss my mom off and after a few more minutes of idhar udhar ki baatien, she said goodbye and never called back.
So I was a young 26 year old guy when my mum called some Aunty whose daughter we had been told about through a mutual friend. Normally in Pakistan, it’s an unsaid custom that a guy’s family has to visit the girl’s home first but in this case, the girl’s father insisted that they want to come over first. My mum invited the family over for dinner and upon arrival, the first thing the father of the girl asked was “Ghar apna hai ya rent ka?”
A pretty awkward question but we replied. A few moments later, the father completely cornered me and started asking about my job.
It wasn’t long before he got straight to the point and asked me “salary kitni hai?” I wasn’t ready to answer that so I said “Jee uncle, achi hai Alhamdulilah” But he was SO persistent that despite being continuously avoiding to answer his question, he asked “Phir bhi, kitni?”
Years later, I wonder, he knew my place of work and job designation, he could have easily asked around to get an idea of how much I earn instead of asking questions that are considered rude.
It is almost hilarious when you meet a family and you tell them normal things about yourself, like stuff you like or stuff you do and they ask you if you will continue being this person after your marriage too. Like what? You don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
The number of girls that shared stories with us about rishtay walay asking them, “Shaadi ke baad bhi job karegi?” “Shaadi ke baad bhi yeh pehnegi?”
So this aunty calls my mum because like all of them, she was told by someone who knew someone who knew us, that my parents have a “pretty” daughter they may be interested in. She calls my mum, they exchange a few pleasantries and she asks, “How gori is your daughter?”
Now my mom is obviously a lil uncomfortable and says, um she’s okay.. So aunty is a lil embarrassed and she justifies her awkward question by saying “Actually my husband (The potential FATHER IN LAW) loves people that are light skinned and my elder Bahu is SO GORI that we wouldn’t want to treat the younger one differently just because she isn’t just as gori” WOW man! Aren’t you guys absolute saints! Not to forget that it is absolutely creepy that a father in law has set such superficial and messed up standards for finding the right wife for their son
You know when someone has recently acquired wealth. You just know it. Because they make sure to tell you repeatedly that they are rich and money isn’t a problem. I worked for a school and this aunty whose kids studied with us came in one day and we just talked normally for a bit and she seemed especially interested in what my father did or how many siblings I had. She mentioned she had a brother for whom she was searching for a wife. The aunty had to apologised for her husband not being to visit the school, she says “Asal me unki Minister ke sath meeting thi”
when she was leaving the school, she was like “Wo Audi mere husband le gaye toh mujhe Prado me wapas jana hai.” and I was so amused by it. Literally wanted to ask her, “Apki Rolex me time kya hua hai?”
I may sound like a total meanie narrating this story but we are a small family. We have always lived in a nuclear family setting and I had just one brother. We have been a quiet family and we love it. So my phupho suggested we meet this family and my mom decided to invite them over for chai. We expected maybe the guy’s mother and maybe one more person. Okay maybe two more? The bell rings, my mum opens the door and I was hiding in my room secretly listening. I felt strange because my mum just went on and on with her greetings. There were thirteen people that came to see me. THIRTEEN people! The guy’s mum, his daadi, two of his chachis, three sisters and some cousins. BRO.
After they left, we felt like it was like cleaning up after a party! Both my mom and I were extremely exhausted and when we finally dropped on the couch, we just imagined myself living in a huge joint family system and we were in fits of laughter.
It’s the same old drill. Aunty calls. Mom invites them over for chai. And the day arrives. Everything seems fine until the boy’s lil sister starts talking about her brother.
She is obsessed. “Mera Bhai, Mera Bhai, MERA BHAI” He is the most good looking, he is exceptionally talented. He paints. ALL my friends secretly eye my brother. You know our neighbors are all jealous of our brother. Do you there is no one like him in our entire khandan or maybe the entire world
It seemed sweet at first but I’ll be honest, it started to sound a bit crazy. The guy’s mum suggested that the guy and I speak in private for a bit so we are comfortable and may get to know each other better, so we got up to leave the room and guess what? The lil sister says ‘main bhi bhai ke sath jaoungi”
This entire rishta ordeal sounds like quite an experience! Have something to share with us, do tell us in the comments below.