1- Bahar ka rishta
Forget sharafat and tameez, this family’s biggest accomplishment is that their son is in amreeka! The son is missing, “because he’s in Amreeka… na!!!” As soon as you serve tea, the mother will sit you down and show an entire album of pictures of her son. One of the pictures will surely be in Disneyland, where he’ll be wearing a fanny pack and an FOB smirk that says, “Take that … I’m in the happiest place in the world!”
The spill: If his mother says, he runs his own business in NYC, it’s safe to assume he has a Halal food cart on 53rd & 6th avenue. Unless you enjoy gyros and falafels 24/7, consider passing up on this gem!
2- The larka who could pass for your abba!
You enter the room, scan for the target and immediately thank your lucky stars when you see the larka isn’t there. You think he’s just as unhappy about this arrangement and is probably at home whining to his girlfriend on the phone about his parent’s obsession with shaadi.
That’s exactly when you’re introduced to a man who you assume is the larkay ke abba. You say “Salam” to the uncle politely and wait for him to initiate small talk. Instead he’ll look you up and down; then give another onceover, and another, and another until you consider handing him 3D glasses to make his viewing experience even better!
The spill: If his mother says he’s just a very mature-looking 25-year-old, don’t buy it. He should be out looking for mature-looking 20-year-old girls!
3- Mama ka baby
The larka will open the door for his mother and wait for her to sit down … sweet right? Once they settle down and your dad asks the larka about his career and aspirations, his mother will answer all the questions for him. When the chai comes, his mother will hand it to her fully grown beta and will also make him a delightful little plate filled with patties and cake. And when he gets crumbs on his pants, she’ll brush them off with her tissue.
The spill: Stay away from this one, he’s already in a satisfying, long-term, committed relationship. And you’ll never be able to match up to the real love of his life.
4- For the love of hi-tea
Who wants to pay for a 5-star restaurant’s overpriced hi tea when you can find one in every town? That’s the mantra of certain mufta-loving khaandans who enjoy eating munchies and sipping hot tea in the pretense of looking at prospective girls for their beta. They won’t bother much with small talk just so that the tea comes sooner.
The spill: Ensure that what you serve is simple, because if they really like your hi-tea, they’ll surely schedule another meeting for dinner. Nothing will come out of it — nothing should, anyway!
5- Sister lover
Just when your parents have completely given up, this rishta will come like a Godsend. Your parents will swoon over the boy’s perfect job and khandaan. They’ll force you to come and meet him because he’s apparently nothing like the others before him. You’ll peek at him through your duppatta and realise that … he IS kinda cute!
And that’s when it happens — the inevitable — your gorgeous younger sister enters, and the larka will forget everything else and his drool will gather in an empty bowl right next to the samosas.
The spill: His parents will call your parents and meekly inquire if your sister’s on the table and fair game for their son? Your sister will tease you about this for the rest of your life!
Published in The Express Tribune, Ms T, August 5th, 2012.