The Pakistani Guide to the Rishta Process…. tips, tricks and strategies. Part 1


Awkward as hell as I am, the Pakistani “here’s a proposal for you” grind didn’t spare me. Ladies! Nothing, absolutely nothing, fazes our famous arranged marriage process. This process is universally applied to all eligible bachelors (and bachelorettes) and is the hallmark of the Pakistani culture, much to the chagrin of people like me who are born with questionable social talent and an even more questionable regard for our social norms and etiquette. Suffice would be to say that when it came to facing the proposal brigade (or the rishta aunties), I took major help from some hacks and hammed my way through it, hoping to find a groom where usually the pot of gold is at the end of this rainbow of the rishta aunties.

But first a word of applause, praise, reverence and utmost respect for the women who are searching for proposals for us desolate girls. AKA the Rishta Aunties.

First of all, Aunty is a term of endearment and respect for these women. Aunty is actually a whole lifestyle, a state of mind and a religion. It’s a whole belief system, organization and corporation. Aunty doesn’t encompass the essence of an Aunty really. It is a convenient word because this word is liberally bestowed on all women who are married but to think that Aunty would be a term to describe the Pakistani society women is wrong. Those women deserve a lot more and are usually remembered by a lot more by the poor girls whose lives they touch. Of course some of those names are PG but they’re cute even if not completely respectful, therefore no offense intended.

But the purpose of this blog post is not at all to highlight the Rishta Aunty who already enjoys a privileged position in our society and is seen as the deliverer and savior of sorts. The purpose of this blog post is to prepare you for what’s coming forth.


Now don’t go blaming your mother for soliciting proposals. She can’t help it. She has been asked so many times when you’ll be married that she just had to make a Faustian bargain and have the powers to be arrange for a proposal. Don’t worry! This isn’t the guy she wants for you. It is however a good look for a girl of marriageable age to get tons of proposals. Unless the calls from prospective suitors’ shady mothers cause an increase in the phone bill and unless the visits from these shady ladies make a huge deficit in the home grocery budget, your mother cannot make eye contact with other women in the community without being asked how your Rishta search is coming along. This is a political step. Consider this Donald Trump’s visit to Korea. It helps to keep people quiet and guessing about what’s going on. It doesn’t lead to any resolution of your spinsterhood necessarily. Or consider this Imran Khan’s rallies in his pre-election days. It’s just an old guy on a tanker. He’s making noise so people would want to listen and pay attention. Really there are no words in the noise.The morning of this long-awaited call can only be likened to the morning of Anne Boleyn walking the plank. Your mother, who is menopausal herself, is dealing with emotions too complex for her scarce hormones to handle. She is constantly screaming at you for not having taken care of your skin since you hit puberty (puberty was ten years ago by the way) or how a grown woman like you could still walk like she had a diaper on. You get your mom’s angst. She is worried that you’d be rejected and everyone would find out about it. Of course you don’t know him. All you know about him is from snippets of conversations that you caught between your parents as they were criticizing this guy and his family and shaking their heads at how society is making them do this whole thing so ritualistically. You know that he works in a bank. You know that he has a mother who will be coming to see you. You asked your mother his name but she didn’t know that. She also didn’t know which school he went to. She had no idea if he really is someone alive but all she cares about is his mother at this point so you let it be. Now you’re just worried about how to get a new outfit through this deal. This is a good time to ask your mother for that amazing top that you know would cost a fortune but might end up making you look like Jennifer Lawrence. If it doesn’t help making you look like her, it will at least help you think that you look like her. Same difference, really!


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