Stories about marriage proposals

My only escape

April 2018 I am an old woman, almost 75-years-old. My bones are weak, my skin is wrinkled, and my hair is a mane of silver. A pile of medicines cover the top of my bedside table. Most days, I don’t feel like eating them. Death weaves itself around me. I see it everywhere – in fallen leaves, in the rain, in the shadows, in people. My time here is almost done, but there’s a task still unfulfilled. Before I close my eyes forever, I have to tell my daughter the truth about my life, and her life. I’ve kept it hidden ...

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Using Tinder is not very different from having an arranged marriage

Growing up in a city as beautiful as Islamabad, can sometimes be a challenge. You run to the store to buy a bottle of milk, with your hair tied up in a bun, wearing flip flops and you bump into the cutest guy from your class. You get me? The struggle to find privacy is real. Introduce the multi-million dollar dating app Tinder to this scenario and imagine the consequences. Here you were looking for the love of your life swiping away that you suddenly saw your Phupi ka beta! (Aunt’s son) Imagine the horror! But what’s more horrific is when certain ...

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Busting the ‘late’ marriage myth: Why I didn’t marry early

We are well into the 21st century, hurtling towards a new era of science and technology, but Indian women still face a basic struggle. As soon as they step into their mid-20s, Indian women have to deal with the pressure of getting married to a ‘suitable’ man. There are many things wrong with that thought. First, it assumes that every woman is sexually interested in men. Second, it assumes that every woman wants to get married. The pressure on men to be ‘suitable’ is another story. Troubles for women don’t end with ‘choosing’ the right sexuality, or the conventional desire to get married and have children, ...

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How I found true love in an arranged marriage

Last week, we celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. Ours was an arranged marriage, and I had not even seen his picture before saying yes to him. Sounds so backwards, right? I didn’t see his picture because I didn’t care to see, as I was already besotted by him when I began to talk to him on the phone and chatting with him over emails. It was the beginning of 2009. I was on holiday with my friend in Manipur without informing my parents. I called my sister at the hour of departure and told her I was leaving for a four-day holiday in Manipur ...

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What if she didn’t want to be a ‘chaand si bahu’?

Her parents have told her to get ready. A family is about to visit their home to ‘see’ their daughter. The parents are all set to welcome the guests; the prospective in-laws of the girl. The guests leave on a positive note, telling the host family that they ‘liked’ the girl and will be visiting again along with other family members. This is exactly the sort of comments any daughter’s parents would want to hear from those special guests. However, the happiness remains for a short term only as the parents are later informed that they were looking for a ...

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‘No groom for you’ – The dilemma of an Indian gay man

Most concerned Indian parents worry about their child’s happiness and would like to see her/him live a happy and fulfilled life, and being married is traditionally considered part of that equation of fulfilment. The search begins to find the correct partner, by word of mouth and other avenues. One method includes placing a newspaper matrimonial advertisement in a local or national newspaper to draw upon the eyes of many potential suitors and their families for marriage. Once the ad is placed, the phones begin to ring and emails are exchanged, all leading to a potential match. Everybody is happy! Yay! However, for one such ...

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“My medical degree brings all the parents to the yard” – A man’s perspective

The simple laws of supply and demand do not apply to a doctor bahu (daughter-in-law); no matter what the supply, there will still be a demand in Pakistan. It’s inelasticity of demand is more rigid than the worst brand of zarband you may buy from a street vendor. You can turn every eligible single woman in Pakistan into a doctor, and there would still be parents lining up around the block looking to marry their son to them. If Kelis was to make a pop song in Pakistan, it would be, “My medical degree brings all the parents to the yard and they are like our haq mehar’s  better ...

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This is no longer a ‘Goray rang ka zamana’

“Goray rang ka zamana kabhi hoga na purana. Gori darr tujhe kiska hai? Tera tou rang gora hai!” (It is the era of fair complexions, this era will never get old. What are you afraid of girl? Your complexion is fair!) More than two decades ago, this song was sung by a popular Pakistani band called Vital Signs; a super hit of its time. In the song, the lyricist highlighted a popular notion that has been haunting the subcontinent for ages. The sad truth: A woman has nothing to be worried about if she’s fair. While many shrug this off as ‘a piece of entertainment’, the lyrics portray ...

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Aunty shaadi kara day gi

I am turning 26 next month. I see how aunties look at me at weddings and mehndis. Even for a guy, I seem on the tail end of the perfect shaadi age bracket. No longer am I the choicest meat at the supermarket; I fall somewhere between that and expired meat, which is then sold at cheaper prices. It seems ironic being compared to a piece of meat, the look in these aunties’ eyes gives me a window into feeling how girls feel going to Aashiana or Liberty market to buy the latest lawn print. Mehndis are no different than shopping malls for ...

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Pakistani dramas: Trade in your jeans and career for some chooridars and a rolling pin

Imagine a scene from a typical Pakistani drama. On one side, we have a shareef (innocent) damsel in distress and a prince charming, who is too busy admiring his good looks to actually use his brains for intellectual purposes. And on the other is the mandatory villain – usually a conniving, evil best friend – who tries her best to create barriers between the couple with hopes that the guy would pick her over the damsel. Since we are all too familiar with the damsel’s fluttering eyelashes and the prince’s flirtatious smiles, let’s focus our attention towards the villain for once. As opposed ...

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