10 things I hate about the rishta brigade

Published: October 10, 2010
The rishta brigade can be found hanging out on the sidelines of every wedding.

The rishta brigade can be found hanging out on the sidelines of every wedding.

1.  The last-minute phone call. The plain, boiling anger that erupts in the pit of my stomach when I am informed by my “I-am-not-asking-I-am-telling” mother that she has received a call from a very close cousin of the sister of a teacher who used to work at her school five years back. Cosy, no?

2.  Rishta Karanay Wali Aunties (RKWAs). The neatly-stacked application forms would have you believe that you are simply filling out your particulars for a job interview but all the while they are closely watching how you speak with your khala. My own friend’s prospective bride was instantly rejected by the RKWA when the electricity went out and she uttered a mild expletive.

3.  RKWAs again. Why, oh why, has she sent more ogling larkay-walay at your doorstep when your father clearly warned her that the last family was still being considered. Did she really think what he meant was, “Even if I politely ask for some time, keep sending people to our house to make my daughter uncomfortable.”

4.  The larkay-walay. They can number anywhere from two to 20, depending upon their “khandani sharafat” (no more than three persons) or the “paitoo kind” (more than 10)…which brings me to the next point.

5.  The appetite of the larkay-walay. What is this, people? An all-you-can-eat buffet? If you are all so busy stuffing your faces with the ceremoniously prepared and laid out food, who is doing the “larki daikhna”?

6.  The butterflies — no, too beautiful an insect — the moths in one’s stomach before the larkay walay come to see you. A movie dialogue aptly sums it up: “Woh aa ke kahain gay, hans kay dikhao, chal kay dikhao, bol kay dikhao…aur mujhay yeh sub karna paray ga!” Sigh.

7.  The larka. Good God, did I die and go to hell? Surely, this must be the much older, already-married brother of the larka that the RKWA was telling us about? Last time I checked, my application form did not insure me against the cardiac condition that is making its way up my left arm while the larka sits across and darts quick glances my way when he thinks no one is looking.

8.   The feeling that you are being watched starts the minute you put your high heels on the green carpet/shaadi lawn. This is your sixth sense, and it lets you know that sooner or later some auntie will come up to you and start asking biting personal questions that will leave you seething, or better yet, she will go directly to your mother.

9.   And they were never heard from again. Courtesy is probably too hard a word to pronounce for the larka-walas who vaccuumed the hi-tea that you served. I don’t know what is more painful though: the call that never comes or the one that does, just to say “Hamain aap ki larki pasand nahi aaee.”

10.  The experience just sticks with you. Even after getting married, I still get shivers when I hear that someone is coming to somebody else’s home to see the larki.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • Oct 10, 2010 - 4:02PM

    11) Auntie: Beta aap ki kitni parhayi baqi hai?

    Me: Two more years, then another year or so doing my Masters.

    Auntie: Puri parhayi karni hai?

    Me: (in my head) Nahi aunty, papa haraam ka matay hein smuggler hein tou mein aise he itnay paise phenkti hun har semester who cares if I get a degree or not.

    I just HATE this rishta system. Grr. And the rishtay wali aunties obviously have no idea what kind of person the girl herself is. Why would a girl doing her BSS in media studies and journalism want to marry into a tablighi hijab-observing family for God’s sake? I rememeber once an aunty’s sister apparentl forcibly tagged along and blithely told us how her daughters only studied till inter and in her family there was no concept of women working. I sort of really wanted to kill myself then and there.Recommend

  • Oct 10, 2010 - 4:12PM

    hehe,,,,,,,,I guess many people are sick of these things……..I used to think i am an exception only………..11………The platitudes from larkay walas…”larki ki rang kala hey”… 12..
    “larki walon nay khana acha nahi diya….”……………and some other……….unpleasant and hatebale……13, 14, and 15……….too……….Recommend

  • just someone else
    Oct 10, 2010 - 4:30PM

    great article.
    however some things can be tough if you’re a guy. for example it’s pretty easy to say that you wan’t a gori, 20 cm waist size bride, but try to describe your personality requirements and you might as well be speaking Chinese.
    “no Aunty i do not care if she has an MBBS, but could i please know what gets her mad?
    what are her interests? what’s haer favourite colour even?”
    “beta aesa karo ge tu kunware hi reh jao ge”Recommend

  • Asad Hasnain
    Oct 10, 2010 - 4:40PM

    Couldnt be better written than that.. such a scorching writeup.. Chamaatifying the system meant to hurt a girl who is looking forward to get married.

    It is just too inhuman of our society that we treat a girl as a Commodity and discuss its goods and bads infront of herself, and with others too which you mentioned as RKWAs.. i experienced it first when some RKWAs came over a family party for my Cousin (girl) and looking at her with Xrays and talking to her mom with there eyes on my Cousin.. it was embarrassing for her and painful for all of us.. i could not face her afterwards..

    RKWAs Suck a big time.. not much earlier i came to know that they even charge for there “Hunt for Spouse” from both the Larka nd Larki Family.. Blight of our society… very well Exposed,,
    I am your fan!! Recommend

  • sarah
    Oct 10, 2010 - 4:54PM

    sadaf, this speaks of every sentiment going on in a girls mind while being out thru these times! do u know that the RKWA get their hands to graduate directories of colleges and unis for numbers, addresses and an indication of lifestyle (not being discriminative in any way) from the location in which they live! i myself got calls from such ladies referring to grad directories! eyu!Recommend

  • Hasan
    Oct 10, 2010 - 5:57PM

    well that’s the way it is from million of years .. the most funny thing is this whole thingy that the shadi wali anty is a women too lol so all u gals will grow like them when u reach 50 as u’ll be hang in the same system when u’ll find gal for ur son lolz ….. Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Oct 10, 2010 - 7:03PM

    It is this way from millions of years and actually getting even worse with time.before ppl used to look for girls in their families.They already knew the good and bad aspects of not only girl but of her family members.As time passed more people want girls outside the family.To show that the girl they chose is better than rest of the family girls they act on everything should be perfect policy,very high demands,hurt feelings of girls,keep looking for more and more girls.Recommend

  • asiya
    Oct 10, 2010 - 7:11PM

    It is this way from millions of years and actually getting even worse with time.before ppl used to look for girls in their families.They already knew the good and bad aspects of not only girl but of her family members.As time passed more people want girls outside the family.To show that the girl they chose is better than rest of the family girls they act on everything should be perfect policy,very high demands,hurt feelings of girls,keep looking for more and more girls.Recommend

  • Oct 10, 2010 - 7:24PM

    Come on folks, here we are only talking about problems or embarrasment that a girl has to face before his marriage. no one is talking about wha the hell boy has to face after his marriage with a vampire or faffykuttan girl.,. before marriage she taks politely, shows how much she respect elders, how many foreign dishes she can cook, tells she knows nothing about love etc….
    But after marriage
    she looks like vampire, when she talks you fear that she is just going to bite you, you surprize when she tells, she don’t know how to boil an egg or make tea, and you stop breathing when she shows you pics oR SMS’s sent by her boy friends. i was kidding..hehehe
    On serious note, i would say that these marriage beaurus and RKWA will remain untill the whole society modernised.so for now bear it and truly for many these kind OF RKWA’s are the hope..Recommend

  • Zeeshan Siddique
    Oct 10, 2010 - 8:07PM

    @Ghulam Shabir : “i would say that these marriage beaurus and RKWA will remain untill the whole society modernised” – let me give you a roller-coaster ride of what a bachelor life is in a “modern” society.

    You turn 18, kicked out of ur parents house – find an odd job go to uni to try and graduate which is hardwork because of all the chillng activities going along side it parties,clubbing – retro’s, hang-overz – IBITZA etc etc
    Then you graduate find a job have a partner without a wedd-lock living on Booz and takeaways !
    By late 30’s and 40’s you end up being an Grumpy old man making trips to South east Asia!!
    Yes there are Stereo type’s and such experiences like those of RKWA can be horrifying and will haunt you for time to come but dont just write off the system with the stroke of your keyboard or flick of your pen.
    Its part of our culture and society – you will hear about these nightmares only but not of the good done because its quite clear things such as +ve feedback’s are quite rare.

    Though totally agree with points in article – ppl need to be more considerate towards issues like this.. specially not to bring in an army of tossers on viewing dates :)


  • Oct 10, 2010 - 10:05PM

    @Zeeshan Siddique totally agree with you sir,Recommend

  • parvez
    Oct 10, 2010 - 10:57PM

    Lets be honest here – does not the larki just loooove that attention showered all over her, just a little bit.Recommend

  • Imran Hussain
    Oct 11, 2010 - 9:31AM

    , and I still want to marry.

    Women cannot live without marriage. They need marriage. They dream marriage. Their whole life revolve around it:-).

    So, please do not trash marriage, we understand your frustration – you will get the dream boy with a dream family;-).Recommend

  • Sakina
    Oct 11, 2010 - 12:52PM

    hahah.. i lovedd eett!! <3
    lol.. and i swear the RKWAs can really get on our nerves.. ask me! :D
    and Imran.. i agree! “har naari k sapno ka taj hai aik chukti sindoor” lol :pRecommend

  • Nageen
    Oct 11, 2010 - 4:54PM

    Awesome read…LMAORecommend

  • Uzma Hashim
    Oct 11, 2010 - 8:28PM

    Loved it :)Recommend

  • Salwa Akhtar
    Oct 12, 2010 - 1:45PM

    great article..loved it…(Y)Recommend

  • AHR
    Oct 12, 2010 - 1:51PM

    Well written and spot on. But trust me girls, it’s not that easy for a guy too, the levels may differ but it still is a pain for guys too. Being asked irrelevant questions about ur life, ppl getting carte blanche to walk in and out of our work-place to do some “check-check”, being considered a snob if u don’t talk much or being considered a show-off if u make the effort to get involved in the conversation and add ur two points, Getting unwanted suggestions regarding ur work, organization, activities and being asked to relocate countries for other’s conveneince et al is no fun. Recommend

  • Zubia Zubair
    Oct 12, 2010 - 2:03PM

    I have to say its a pertinently apt article and all females can so relate to it. Good one.Recommend

  • Danish
    Oct 12, 2010 - 2:43PM

    I think it all depends on the parents of the larki or larka, how they utilise the services of the RKWA’s. These RKWA’s need to be managed as they are doing a job for a certain compensation. If the parents who employ them, want to play in their hands, they will end up having embarrasing experiences. The parents need to filter through all the crap and allow interaction with the girl only after they have ensured that the interested family is decent and courteous. Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    Oct 12, 2010 - 2:50PM

    @AHR : Very well said from a Guy’s prospective :)Recommend

  • Ifra
    Oct 12, 2010 - 2:51PM

    Its so true. I am still laughing @ lol

    As I have always believed, we made these customs and we can change them. So all those educated, mature ladies out there, please its not bad to raise your voice against this custom. Our aunties and mothers went through the same process, and they hated it, so what justifies them to do the same to others???Recommend

  • SA
    Oct 12, 2010 - 3:04PM

    Excellent.. had a great laugh reading.. @ Sadaf, 13 par “she says she’s thirty which means in fact she’s 35”.. :@ :@ :@.. LOlz!!Recommend

  • bling bling
    Oct 12, 2010 - 4:02PM

    being a girl in this society has its setbacks. i sometimes wonder why don’t aunties check there own son’s out first and then rate the girls. i remember this one aunty who called my place and went to the extent of asking my mom..”app ki beiti ke height kya hai?”..”rang gora hai ya kala'”?..
    honestly its just sad when you come across such horrible women..for crying out loud we’re not commodities that have to be sold according to our features…we have a soul too..
    ..and yes sadaf you have very well pointed out the fact of how the enitire family comes over to give marks to the girl…have you guys ever wondered what the girl goes through…
    “Rejection” can be the worst thing that a woman might have to experience during this process..it effects her psychologically….with just one offensive comment her self esteem can go down the drain…
    i personally know so many women who actually fear the time when they will have to go thru this process…for the sole reason of having a fear that they might get rejected…
    ans yes whats wrong with marrying a 30 year woman?.. or a girl 25 plus… i think a woman at that age is so emotionally strong that she can better handle a marriage..yes im sure you boys out there wan’t a 20 year old..who you can raise according to your own ways…but my dear brothers you do realise that every woman wants to settle down..if she’s not in the so called “marriagable age”..it does not give her the license to be a bad wife…
    i know hundreds of mothers out there who can’t sleep at night without an anti depressant.. especially when they have loads of girls in the house..their worried..they want the best for there kids..and can you imagine what those mothers must go through when their daughters get rejected?…can anyone even feel their pain?…
    Honestly i sometimes get so sad when i hear these stories…. i wish you foolish families out there could understand a girl’s fragilityRecommend

  • Zeeshan Siddique
    Oct 12, 2010 - 5:53PM

    @ bling bling: True and very sad !! women in our society from start to finish are psychologically tormented and it does not end till their personality-confidence and self esteem have been completely wrecked, but its very difficult to see any change coming bcoz majority will stick too these RKWA’s or similar characters which is a shame !!Recommend

  • bling bling
    Oct 13, 2010 - 10:32AM

    im glad zeeshan you think like this..only if more people could have similar views with respect to this issue…we could become a much better societyRecommend

  • sahar
    Nov 5, 2010 - 7:41PM

    good article…
    @bling bling: so true!!
    its really sad that people go for outward appearances. “dubli ho. lambi ho. gori ho”. C’mon! what happened to ”inner beauty?”Recommend

  • Narejo
    Nov 6, 2010 - 4:33PM

    The #5 is the best!Recommend

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