Friday, December 09, 2005

So How's My Wife?

"So, how's my wife?"

My friend hands me a picture of his wife and asks, "So, what do you think?"

No, this is not something kinky. It's a common situation in desiworld, followed usually by an equally common and awkward pause. My friend had gone back to desiland and gotten married (usually the typically arranged marriage NTTAWWT*). Upon returning to Canada, we meet up, as he is waiting for his wife's visa before she can join him here. In the meanwhile, I am going through the wedding album. He picks out a picture of the wife and then asks, "So what do you think of your bhabi?"

You cannot come out and say "Oh man she's HOT! You hit the jackpot dude! Two thumbs up!" Nor can you say, "That is the bride?"

It's tough to really see how beautiful a bride is. All bridal pictures are the same. Tons of make up, gold, the reddest of red saris - any woman will look gorgeous in that getup. And you cannot ask, "No, show me a regulaaaar picture." So the best answer is usually, "ya she looks good, I guess. Congratulations." And then switch the conversation by asking him if he got back any pirated DVDs.

On another note *rant alert*, some desi moms seem to have this compulsive obsessive disorder of not marrying their daughter to a guy unless the guy is a doctor. Doctors start earning ten times what an average guy will earn as starting salary. But they are also typically (a lot) older than the average guy (like 10 years difference?). I mean, there's nothing wrong with a doctor, but why only a doctor? what's the big deal?

I am talking of my friend above (and no, it's not me, it's really this friend of mine from university). He liked one of the girls in our class, and after a lot of long distance one way sighs he plucked up the courage to talk to her. That turned to a full blown affair on MSN (we were comp sci after all). As we all hung out together, we could see that they really clicked. But when, in a desire to do it completely the halal way, an 'official' proposal was sent via a third party to the girl's parents, it got rejected. I found out later it was because the girl's mom wanted a doctor for her daughter. Someone who can keep her rich (and presumably happy).

Now financial stability is important, but why reject a good proposal? It's not that the guy is penniless, on the contrary he got a proper job in his field after graduation. Just he's not a doctor. And what was even puzzling was that the girl was completely OK with her mom's interference. Which all led to us wondering how serious was the love anyways.

One of the Hadith (sayings of the Messenger of God) goes, "If someone with whose piety and character you are satisfied comes to you, then marry him. If you do not do so, there will be disorder in the earth and a great deal of evil." (Reported by At-Tirmidhi). On another note, isn't that like the Coolest Hadith Ever? It can be part of my regular muslim pickup line, "hi, it's your religious duty to ... hey?!! Where are you going?"

And what happened to my friend? Well, he went back to desiland, got married and is now showing me a picture of his wife. And he is completely infatuated with her. Such are the strange ways of brown people.

Tags:

*NTTAWWT Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

14 comments:

Aisha said...

What a fascinating post. For some odd reason it boils my blood when I hear girls discuss or their parents that they want doctors. If you just want a doctor you're saying "I want to marry rich" Why is that any different from any other Gold digging activitiy? When an auntie approaches me to look for her d=aughter followed with Doctor request she off my list in a second. It makes me so mad. My brother is in medical school and he's 22 and it's hilarious to see when we went back Miami for a wedding people in the communityw ho never even barely talked to us ten years ago.. now that they had marriagable daughterss were all over us like bees on honey... That's knid of scary I mean.... For someone to marry you just b/c of your degree. Not good.

Aisha said...

Besides, doctors arent the only ones who have financial stability. It's a five letter word called G-R-E-E-D.

estarz said...

Nice post. You should have something obnoxious..which I wont repeat here. 8-))

Its the desi mentality...you MUST have $$, be a doctor, and good locking (in that order).

In fact I see another type of trend now among desi guys. I didnt realize this until someone mentioned it..desi guys are out looking for doctors themselves...so they dont have to work.

Classic example; a guy around here..found his wife via the net..travelled to Pak...spend several months in Islamabad. He made her pass her USMLE's while in PAK - using her own family's $$.

I ran into this guy at a local event and he had the balls to say to me. You should have found yourself a doctor...there are thousands running around in Pak. I looked at him and said...I didnt have to search for a wife via the net!

Peace.

Aisha said...

FURTHERMORE: (Yes you can tell I do find this post very thought provoking) what do you think about guys who go overseas to marry? I wonder about it b/c there are so many girls in the US wishing to get married and they can't and the guys have so many options, they can marry outside their religion (they shouldnt but its not as condemned as for a woman to do it).. go back to mother land etc. A woman can't easily go back to motherland b/c the expectations of women is so different. It's a complicated issue.

mezba said...

estarz: Agree with your desi mentality order! Though first time I heard of desi guys looking for working women themselves.

Check out this documentary on CBC (Runaway Grooms).

Aisha: Wow, glad to have touched a nerve! There is something wrong with the desi AM scene today. Elders and parents spend their whole life trying to keep genders apart, suddenly they hit 20s and its the opposite! On this, and your later question, I am going to post a detailed reply later, right now off to see Syriana.

Alpine said...

I think, the infatuation with "doctor" is not necessarily aboout money only. It's really the the "prestige" attached to the profession in the Desi community. Desis as well as Arabs have not educated themselves well enough to know that there are plenty of other professions outthere that are just as prestigious but it takes *smart* people to know about *other professions* other than this regular crazeness about "medicine." So, for them it's not only about "mere beti is married to a rich guy, he's a Doctor too!" but, everyone knows what a doctor is: so not much explanation needed when bragging abou the son-in-law. For example, actuarists start making more money than doctors at a younger age, but not too many people know about that profession!! So nothing much to brag about. So, it's sad but true, that arranged marriages have lost its meaning and have become an avenue for parents to take part in the game called, "who can bring a more pretigious daughter/son-in-law" and BRAG: Astagfirullah!
And, I totally agree with Aisha! It's just sad when I hear things like how girls in America/UK/Canada are just too fast or modernized or whatever.. so guys go to their native country and marry some docile daughter of Adam so that his ego is not hurt. Then again, there is another group who would want to marry a professional woman to take advantage of her. I would not necessarily identify it as a "desi" problem, since it's present in all the cultures known to men.

Jane said...

I find this a very interesting phenomena. In most cultures having a doctor spouse is the ideal. I myself had the chance to have a doctor spouse and quite frankly, it wasn't for me. Ok, sure financial stability would have been totally there. However, I learned very quickly that the doctor rarely is. They work insanely long hours, are exhausted when they are home and often have journals to read, research to conduct and other work related stuff happening in their "free" time. I am not the kind of woman who would have been happy to be alone 90% of my marriage. More people should consider that before chasing the dream doctor.

Anonymous said...

Was searching for Nasiruddin jokes, got the following from here.

One afternoon, Nasruddin and his friend were sitting in a cafe, drinking tea and talking about life and love. His friend asked: “How come you never married?”
“Well,” said Nasruddin, “to tell you the truth, I spent my youth looking for the perfect woman. In Cairo I met a beautiful and intelligent woman, but she was unkind. Then in Baghdad, I met a woman who was a wonderful and generous soul, but we had no common interests. One woman after another would seem just right, but there would always be something missing. Then, one day, I met her. Beautiful, intelligent, generous and kind. We had very much in common. In fact, she was perfect!”
“What happened?” asked Nasruddin’s friend, “Why didn’t you marry her?”
Nasruddin sipped his tea reflectively. “Well,” he replied, “it’s really the sad story of my life…. It seemed she was looking for the perfect man…


- Farah

mezba said...

Aisha,

I know (many) girls in Canada who go back and get married, then return here to sponsor their husbands. It's a type of role reversal but it does happen. They have one advantage to men seeking to go back and marry - the girls can leave their job and go spend some time in desiland. Its socially acceptable, whereas a guy is supposed to do a good job and earn money and support everyone, so he cannot leave a good job for a long holiday, and depends on others to screen out brides for him.

And just like men looking for brides from desiland, you have to weed out men who just want to use marriage to come to Canada. And there is a disadvantage, most men do not want to come to a foreign place, work low menial jobs while studying to obtain qualifications for here, and while their wives are working 'proper' jobs and earning much, much more. During this time, often 1 to 2 years, he has to depend on his wife for income, live in her house and not his own - basically not be a 'man' in his eyes. Many guys from back home will not want to do this, hence its tough for girls here.

Personally I think most US/Canadian desis would like to meet a local - a fellow Non Resident Desi. She knows the customs and culture, used to the snow, used to not having 10 slaves - sorry maid servants - working to bring tea. Unfortunately girls here tend to have super high expectations (too many Shah Rukh Khan movies), want to marry as mommy says (doctors only), have a past history of relations (most guys want someone 'clean', or finally, want to study or stay independent until they are 25-26 or so. That's the age when most desi guys agree to their parents' request to get married. So they will look for somone atleast 23-24.

Aisha said...

hmm I dont know. My experience may just be one sided but out of my 15 friends who married FOBS only two are still married. Of those two one is miserable.On the other hand I see marriages b/w FOB girls and ABCD guys work fine. I think that men from the motherland have stereotypical attitudes of women and that leads to the problem.

Anonymous said...

True said Aisha. Some men brought up in the desi-land do have certain expectations from women. They think they can mould their women (who have lived in western world and are outgoing, career-oriented and independent) into some Basanti from a remote village in Kanpur. While most of them do not succeed, some of them do try their best to use force in getting what they want. Its so sad that FOB guyz think they can be compatible with ABCD's or CBCD's if they have the "wife-should-stay-at-home-and-cook-clean-take-care-of-kids" kinda attitude.

With regards to the doctor's being wanted as the grooms these days, oh god..there are more reasons than just financial stability and professional designation. And let me tell you all a little story of how the MOTHER of the potential BRIDE thinks (when she says she wants a doctor as a husband for her daughter) -
A far distant aunt of mine has a daughter about 22 yrs of age. As usual, when the girl crosses the age of 20, the whole desi community makes it their priority to remind to the mother of the growing girl that she should be hitched soon otherwise blah-blah-blah can happen..she can run away with some guy from a different community and blah blah blah. So, in this case also, the same thing happened. The pressure of the community mounted to a point that she decided to search for grooms (ONLY DOCTORS) for her daughter. So, out of curiosity I asked her, "WHY DOCTOR AUNTY? WHY NOT AN ENGINEER? OR A LAWYER?"
And the answer she gave me is a proof of the incredible level of thinking these MOTHERS OF DAUGHTERS do...
"Beta", she started off "AN ENGINEER IS A GOOD PROFESSION..BUT NOW-A-DAYS, EVERYONE IS AN ENGINEER. LAWYER IS A DECENT PROFESSION, BUT YOU CAN GET KILLED IF YOU LOST A COURT CASE. HAVING A DOCTOR AS A SON-IN-LAW IS ADVANTAGEOUS. YOU KNOW DOCTORS EARN WELL, THEY HAVE THEIR OWN STABILITY AND SECURITY AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, MY DAUGHTER DOESNT HAVE TO WAIT IN THE LINE AT SOME CLINIC TO GET HER FLU-SHOT TAKEN OR PRESCRIBED MEDICINES. HER HUSBAND CAN GIVE THAT TO HER RIGHT IN THEIR HOUSE, WITHOUT MY BETI HAVING TO GO TO THE CLINIC". I was speechless after this sentence. I knew the desi mentality of a good job/nice designation requirement, but where did this FIRT CLASS-AT-HOME-FLU-SHOT TREATMENT come from? And LAWYERS GETTING KILLED WHEN THEY LOST COURT CASES? Where did this happen? Only in Bollywood I am sure....
This is certainly a new thing these mothers have thought about. It waits to be seen how it turns out.

So, Aisha - all those mothers (who have daughters) who are surrounding your mother to vie her attention to get your brother hooked to one of their daughters, is for many reasons (if its the At-Home-Treatment or not, I dont know).

- Behbood

Anonymous said...

True said Aisha. Some men brought up in the desi-land do have certain expectations from women. They think they can mould their women (who have lived in western world and are outgoing, career-oriented and independent) into some Basanti from a remote village in Kanpur. While most of them do not succeed, some of them do try their best to use force in getting what they want. Its so sad that FOB guyz think they can be compatible with ABCD's or CBCD's if they have the "wife-should-stay-at-home-and-cook-clean-take-care-of-kids" kinda attitude.

With regards to the doctor's being wanted as the grooms these days, oh god..there are more reasons than just financial stability and professional designation. And let me tell you all a little story of how the MOTHER of the potential BRIDE thinks (when she says she wants a doctor as a husband for her daughter) -
A far distant aunt of mine has a daughter about 22 yrs of age. As usual, when the girl crosses the age of 20, the whole desi community makes it their priority to remind to the mother of the growing girl that she should be hitched soon otherwise blah-blah-blah can happen..she can run away with some guy from a different community and blah blah blah. So, in this case also, the same thing happened. The pressure of the community mounted to a point that she decided to search for grooms (ONLY DOCTORS) for her daughter. So, out of curiosity I asked her, "WHY DOCTOR AUNTY? WHY NOT AN ENGINEER? OR A LAWYER?"
And the answer she gave me is a proof of the incredible level of thinking these MOTHERS OF DAUGHTERS do...
"Beta", she started off "AN ENGINEER IS A GOOD PROFESSION..BUT NOW-A-DAYS, EVERYONE IS AN ENGINEER. LAWYER IS A DECENT PROFESSION, BUT YOU CAN GET KILLED IF YOU LOST A COURT CASE. HAVING A DOCTOR AS A SON-IN-LAW IS ADVANTAGEOUS. YOU KNOW DOCTORS EARN WELL, THEY HAVE THEIR OWN STABILITY AND SECURITY AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, MY DAUGHTER DOESNT HAVE TO WAIT IN THE LINE AT SOME CLINIC TO GET HER FLU-SHOT TAKEN OR PRESCRIBED MEDICINES. HER HUSBAND CAN GIVE THAT TO HER RIGHT IN THEIR HOUSE, WITHOUT MY BETI HAVING TO GO TO THE CLINIC". I was speechless after this sentence. I knew the desi mentality of a good job/nice designation requirement, but where did this FIRT CLASS-AT-HOME-FLU-SHOT TREATMENT come from? And LAWYERS GETTING KILLED WHEN THEY LOST COURT CASES? Where did this happen? Only in Bollywood I am sure....
This is certainly a new thing these mothers have thought about. It waits to be seen how it turns out.

So, Aisha - all those mothers (who have daughters) who are surrounding your mother to vie her attention to get your brother hooked to one of their daughters, is for many reasons (if its the At-Home-Treatment or not, I dont know).

- Behbood

Tee said...

I'm a friend of Aisha's and came over to your more recent "Why Do Men Go Back To Marry?" post via her and then followed this link within your post.

I find all of this very culturally interesting.

You're a great writer and I love the pick up line. Hilarious! :)

Anonymous said...

I agree.
just like in Mezbauddin story I to lost out marriage for money. But I also learnt about Qadr. This person was not written for me; as a result now have a more productive life and practice my religion more. Contentment is from the rememberce of Allah.
You shouldn't choose marriage for money or a degree, and if you find people who do; run away from them. They onllive for this world. ...........