The pressure is ON! It started the day after my wedding (rukhsati). As soon as the daughter – the obstacle in the quest for the daughter-in-law – was packed off and delivered to her “true” home (Yeah right! Like she’s not back the next morning)…the aunties started making suggestions on a new tangent:
“Ab Saad ki shaadi karain!”
You don’t pause to breathe do you, AUNTY?
I mean, they really take the cake as far as holding the reins of other people’s businesses go. If someone wants to get married or not, and when and how that is going to happen, should perhaps not be dictated by rotund …err….khush-haal aunties. For the 3 years of my life after the day I turned 22, the eyes and eyebrows of these ladies would make coordinated movements, asking unspoken questions, whenever they would meet me at social gatherings: “Any news?” “Well? Are you still “working” for Al-Huda?” “Are you STILL at Al-Huda?” By this I mean all those times that they chose to speak to me, in the futile hope of finally seeing me engaged, that is. At most gala’s, I was – thankfully – ignored…perhaps they had given up on any prospects of my getting married because I chose to veil myself. *Shrug*
Now that that ordeal is over – meaning, I am married and I have kids – they couldn’t care less whether I am working for Al-Huda or some Jewish intelligence agency. For them, I have achieved the grand aim of any Pakistani woman’s life: husband and kids. Right after marriage, these aunties put girls through another ordeal – they start staring at her abdomen as the months pass (eventually asking questions like “Is everything alright? Doctor ko dikhaya?”) – and then another one, if she fails to produce the “aulad-e-nareena” (male-gender baby). But wa lillahil hamd, all praises to Allah, that I was spared these two ordeals……and as for the second one: the pressure to produce a son or else be damned to a life of pity, this I have already blogged about before.
Anyway, this blog is less about these aunties and more about the guy who is at the receiving end of their attentions now. Now that there is this “eligible” bachelor in their midst, and the unspoken barrier (his unmarried sister) is out of the way, these aunties have started their search for his bride, with or without his consent. From the Al-Hudians, who, presuming that since his mother and sister observe hijab, they will want a hijabi wife for him, to the glam-queens who suggest all the dolled-up lovelies to him at weddings, to the ones who assume that he wants to marry a US citizen so that he can return to the land of plenty from which he has so “unfortunately” returned, all aunties just can not overlook his presence without mentioning the word “shaadi“. Just because he has a job – and the unexpected attention it gets from female circles indicates that its a “good” job – and a house-portion in Defence (again, ditto for the portion), invoking ooh’s and aah’s of the “He’s all set!” exclamations, doesn’t necessarily mean that George Clooney is all-but-ready to import a bride. But hey, who’s listening to what he is saying?
I am literally expected to go bride-hunting with my mother, notwithstanding having been on the receiving end of that torture just 5-6 years ago. I can NOT imagine going into absolute strangers’ houses, partaking from the lavish tea-trolley, scanning the female specimen up and down while I down the samosas and cake, and taking her interview…..no thanks…not me. How can I dish out to others what I didn’t like for myself? I can not forget the uneasy and mortifying feeling of having some stranger-aunty coming to “consider” you for her son. Sometimes they were accompanied by an equally interrogative daughter or sister. I have heard accounts of friends who went through these “meetings”, only to be “rejected” on weird pretexts. Now, just because I am married, I am expected to shift gears and go into offensive mode? Sorry!
You might be wondering “well then, how will he get married?” I know many guys who got married without their mother-sister brigades invading people’s homes with large-sized spectacles perched on their noses. They either chose someone they knew of themselves or it happened by some other means. When something is bound to happen, it happens one way or the other. Allah is not in need of the means to achieve the end. And marriage is not supposed to be a by-product of time: enter the twenties, time to get married! No, marriage can happen at different times for different people, depending on several factors that vary for all. So, whether someone is 21 or 35, a man or a woman, we can not stamp “available for matrimony” on their foreheads against their will.
He will get married when Allah wills. Period. Right now it’s none of my business. All I do is pray for his future wife to always be happy in his home. Because at the end of the day, that is what’s most important.