Dear Rishta Aunty

It’s a normal Saturday evening. I’m scrolling through Facebook as one does on their way home from work. Among the myriad of posts about how amazing or horrendous Karachi EAT is, I come across an article by Sarah Babar. I click on it. Thinking it would be an interesting read to pass the time as my car chugs through the evening Karachi rush. It however resulted in an epiphany; which incidentally resulted in the article you’re reading now.

The title of the article was ‘These Women Reveal Why Their Rishtas Were Rejected and It’s Not What You’d Expect’.

I don’t want to go too deep into the specifics of the article because you can read it for yourself. However, the premise is obvious. And as I scrolled through it I got to thinking; why are people so superficial?

Not the women who were rejected obviously; I’m not stupid enough to write that article. I mean the people doing the rejecting. Some of the reasons applied to me as well. The more generic ones I mean. I don’t think it’s possible for me to be a ‘tez larki’.

I am however not what one would call hot. A rishta aunty would never admit it. But that is what they want; a hot damad or bahu. For their usually not so hot kids. As mean as that seems, it’s the truth. It’s also apparent from some of the tweets covered in the article.

Anyway back to me. I am fat, I wear glasses, my teeth are far from perfect and I’m blunt to the point of being savage.

Given that I’m at that point in my life where my family is actively looking for a bride for me. How can I classify my own features as deal breakers for my future wife?

It’s at times like this that I can get a little pompous and say that my voice represents the voice of the youth of this nation. It may or I may just be a pompous idiot. But let’s assume it does, for now. Given the assumption we have made, let’s go through some of the rishta aunty rejections and see where the youth really stands on them.

  1. I Was Rejected for Bad Front Teeth

Yeah my teeth protrude awkwardly in all directions. Because as a kid, like most kids I used to play with my wobbly, about-to-fall milk teeth. Wait you’re telling me you didn’t play with them? That you actually listened to your parents telling you not to play with them? That’s highly unusual.

Anyway my teeth have me looking like Dracula when I smile. But thankfully I smile with my mouth shut (most of the time). There! Problem solved. Smile with your mouth shut and we’re good.

Honestly though, I’m marrying a real person not a doll (some people do marry dolls and that’s their business). So imperfections are fine. It doesn’t make you any less than anyone else but it does make you one of a kind.

  1. The Only Reason I Was Accepted for A 33-Year-Old Was Because I Was 20

Yeah, no. I’m picky about the age of my bride to be. The ageism in the whole rishta aunty scene does annoy me though.

But first let me tell you why and how I’m picky about the age of my potential spouse. I would ideally like her to be my age. Why? Because I believe that if we’re the same age, we would have more in common. Rather than let’s say either of us being ten years older.

The base idea is that I want to have a thorough understanding. And yes I get it that an understanding can be achieved regardless of age. I still do feel that the closer we are in age, the more likely we are to understand each other.

Which is why when I get told about a girl that is more than four years my junior, I get annoyed. I am 24, have a postgraduate degree and you want me to marry an 18-year-old who is barely out of high school? For me that’s a no. I don’t even mind if the girl is a few years older.

But no, some people say that an older girl is more likely to gain weight after childbirth. Yeah that’s an actual reason I’ve had to talk down. Because apparently not having a fat bahu is more important than a happy marriage built on mutual understanding.

  1. Rejected Because I was Moo Phat (Too Blunt)

Well I’ve basically made a career out of being too blunt so we’d be a perfect match. Our arguments though would be the stuff of legends. God help whoever gets caught in the crossfire.

The rishta aunty hypocrisy here though is another cause of annoyance for me. I mean on one hand you want a bahu that always tells you the truth. But not too much truth because then, she’s rude.

It’s at times like this I feel they’d be better off hiring another maid. Rather then forcing someone else’s daughter to jump through hoops that they believe their own is above dealing with.

  1. Only One Reason: Overweight

Now this struck several chords with me. I am in fact overweight. For 20 out of the 24 years of my life I have struggled with my weight. So much so that my fat has been both my tormentor and my constant companion.

For the past six years, I have tried everything to lose weight. From fad diets to personal trainers. It wasn’t until late last year that I actually and finally began to see some worthwhile results.

The point is, people who struggle with their weight, or even those who don’t, constantly have to deal with society telling them that they’re not good enough. They aren’t hot enough to wear what they like. They aren’t cool enough to hang out with. And the worst, that they’re disgusting to look at.

And then there’s you, who also has to make it a point to tell them that they won’t live happily ever after if they’re fat. Honestly, if you were constantly demeaned, what would you do? Would you rise to the occasion and show everyone up? If so then congratulations, you’re in the top two percent. The rest of us have to deal with all sorts of issues that range from constant self-depreciation to decidedly much worse thoughts.

What I, and no doubt many of the women written about in that article, want to know is where does it state that our outward appearance will ensure happiness? Does the average rishta aunty, while getting her weekly Botox injections not realize that beauty fades? Happiness isn’t guaranteed to anyone.

I’ve seen so many people, good looking people get screwed over and I’ve seen people that society looks down upon rock their stable relationships. This doesn’t just apply to weight but to the color of one’s skin too.

Hey Rishta Aunty

I think if I continue to take on all the issues raised by each individual tweet covered in the article, I would get far too annoyed. No one would want to read an article riddled with that much angst.

Referencing back to the beginning of this article, when I asked you suspended your disbelief and think of my voice as that of the average male youth in want of a wife.

Keeping with that sentiment, I want it known that all I really want is to be happy. If someone is happy marrying someone just for their looks, without regard for that person’s personality, then that’s their business.

Most of us, however don’t just want someone who we’d look good with, while that may be a factor. We want someone that fills our gaps, who fits us like a glove. You can’t expect the other person to be perfect but also accept your imperfect child.

If I could say one thing to all the women on that list, it would be that, you’re not alone. I sit on the other side yes, but I go through some of the same stupidity as you do. While I might be fuelling some of the other stupidity.

In the end though, I want the same thing as you, for someone to accept me as I am. I don’t want to be expected to change just to get married and you shouldn’t be either. Yes, I am aware that my future wife may be reading this, to her I say, come as you are.

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