Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Talk Begins

I drove to the airport to pick up this friend and his wife. I don't know why he didn't take the airport taxi - I guess he wanted to show off to his new wife that he has friends that will go to the airport for him. I made sure not to stuff the trunk too tightly and put some luggage in the rear passenger seat, so he had to sit up front with me, with his wife in the rear, accompanied by a couple of five-year-old Samsonite suitcases. I am just mean.

Another couple of my friends is getting married soon, one in April and the other in a few days. This ultimately implies elders everywhere suddenly take an interest in moi.

"So when are you getting married?"

"Beta, it's your turn now."

"Baba," [this is an auntijee] "I have a new sari I am going to wear just for your wedding."

I have nothing against marriage. I find it surprising that people who would frown at you if you just stopped to ask directions from a girl suddenly decide you should get married and ask you when are you doing it, as if you have a girl ready, and waiting.

These are the same people who would give you this advice when you depart, after high school, to the big, bad, West for higher education:

"Remember, you are the honour and pride of your family. You are the example we give to our kids. So study hard and make us all proud."

Bottom line: Books - good (thumbs up), Girls - bad (thumbs down with astakfirullah).

Now, it's suddenly the reverse. "Haven't you seen anybody yet?" So hypocritical, our desi world. And it seems girls have it a bit stricter than guys. I am sure they mean well.

This Ramadan, during the Taraweeh (night prayers), right after the first part (Isha), the Imam (priest) stands up and gives this speech, somewhat uncomfortably.

"My dear brothers and sisters. I would have to call your attention to an urgent matter. It seems some our younger brothers are not coming to the mosque to pray. When we are praying, they are ... um ... outside, going to the coffee shop, ... or ..." [very uncomfortable pause here, before coming out in a gush] "or meeting, er, some of our, younger sisters."

I almost had a ROTFL moment there. Guys, will be guys. And apparently, girls, will be girls. Let them meet, Imam saheb, what are they going to do? There's 10 guys and presumably 10 girls. All they will do is sit in two corners of Tim Hortons and drink hot coffee and giggle like high school kids, which they are. But music leads to dancing, dancing leads to touching ...



Crimson Mouzi said...

Yeah, I hear ya! Actually I hear you more than you hear yourself, for I am a FE-male. ROFL... THe more I grow up, more I can spot the hypocrisy (excuse my spelling) of the Desi anuties and uncles. Things can be so bad that "I miss BD, and want to go so bad" translates into something like, "I am looking for someone"! WTH! Like I couldn't go to BD withOUT the intention of getting married or something.

But, I would still think that if the Muslim high school kids are dating (even in groups, which result in group flirtings and what not), we need to worry about that and make sure they doesn't happen at least in our own family (I sound selfish, but hey I am not guardian of all the people in the world). But at the same time, "so when you getting married? Or How come you are still not married?" or any sentences along that line must stop. The society, which doesn't see dating through any positive lense also needs to acknowledge the fact since folks didn't date, marrying/picking someone out of the blue has not the *first* thing on his/her mind and hence this brutal insinuation that you are still unmarried because of some reason you *are* responsible for needs to stop.

Masti-boy said...

You should get married. Nobody should live happily for ever. !!!!!

Isheeta said...

I was telling the exact same thing to my mom the other day... throughout our young lives, they encourage us to avoid boys/ or girls... and suddenly once youre in the real world, being married to one is the epitome of what life is all about! I told her this was out desi culture, and she goes, no its our religion. Oh lordy lol. I can see how she would agree with the imam lol

Crimson Mouzi said...

lol! masti boy. The message is strong.

Rezwan said...

My 2-cents:

Don't let the Auntijees fix a marriage. Talk with the girl yourself and understand each other before taking any final decision.

And it would be disastrous to get stuck to a face rather than the person like your friend.

Anonymous said...

Mez, each of these aunties and uncles can open a marriage bureau. They are perfect candidates by default.
==This is their outline==
They sit in a social gathering and they start off by talking about the other person's lovely dress and giving compliments on the way the other person decorated the house, the carpet color, and slowly progressing on what their children are studying and what they intend to do, then progressing onto their marriage plans. While talking about children, they compare children of various families like "Oh, your son isnt married yet? Do you know what happened to Mr. ZZZ's son? He didnt marry in time and got hooked to a girl from other religion!! and blah blah blah happened" (Most of the time, these people will have LIVE examples ready in their database on every situation in life which involves children NOT STUDYING and driving TAXIS or His daughter/son ran away with this man/woman etc etc). [On a different note, people who went to Niagara Falls might have noticed that there is a boat which takes you close to the falls on the Canadian side. I mentioned that to an aunty once and she said immediately, "No beta..dont do it. You know what happened to Mr. D's son? He drowned?" I was like "WTF". ..An other example of a live example of things which happened to other people..]

The marriage talk further branches into two sections:

**If the children are married: Then talks progress on when they are going to be having kids. These aunties force and drain out the pleasure in intimacy. They look at Quantity and not Quality. All they want is a family with children and if a couple had been married 2 yrs ago and dont have children yet, then they will think, somethings wrong with the man OR they will force the woman to do something to conceive.

**If the children are not married: Then talks will not die out until the children are married and settled (after marriage the talks about babies start happening).

So, you see the DESI AUNTY IDEALOGY is an endless loop which never stops once it starts.


Zainub said...

I just want to relate to two separate sayings of the Prophet. I don't have the references with me now, but so I'm pretty sure they're authentic. These aren't the exact words though, I'm translating from the Urdu version I recall so I hope Allah forgives me if I'm misinterpreted any bit.

1) Never delay three things when their time have arrive, one namaz when azan has been called, two offering funeral prayers and burying the dead as soon as they have deceased and three getting a young girl married as soon as she matures.

2) When a man and woman are alone, the third between them is Satan.

Come to your own conclusions Mezba.

Zainub said...

ps: that is what happens to your spelling and grammar when you type in haste!

unforgiving b*tch said...

The odd thing is how I can relate totally to this. I come from a strict Christian family where most of the girls/women in my church married straight out of high school. At 24 I'm the only one out of the group of kids I grew up who is not married yet. Do I care? Not at all -- if I were married I couldn't just travel whenever I wanted to or think of relocating on a whim.

But it's got me thinking, maybe it is more of a religious thing like IGD said.

Shabina said...

All I know is...the old-fashioned rishta process sucks. And I strongly suspect it'll be dead by the time our own (future, far into the future) children are ready to get married...

mezba said...

@tea-biscuit: yes i agree absolutely. The questions must stop. Or atleast until we have the answers ready!

@masti: lol at ur comment. There is an old bengali saying, i think the english equivalent is 'The bachelor lives like a king, dies like a pauper'. So, like batting in cricket, the answer is in timing.

@IGD: one of the signs being desi is ur parents telling you how good arranged marriages work, and demonstrate it by whenever they are not fighting. I think our parents also tend to confuse Islamic religion with desi culture.

They must work, but parents must realize in these times, the guys and gals actually can THINK for themselves, have been out in the real world, and have some genuine worldly expectations.

@rezwan: so true. although i look at my friend and he invalidates everyone of my arguments against A.M. maybe he just got lucky.

@Behbood: once again you strike! Funny. But it WOULD be nice if they HAD a marriage bureau. All they do is just talk and gossip.

@zainub: see, i agree basically with what you are trying to say, but you live in Pakistan. We are living in north america. It is hard to meet anyone here because a) there are not much of us here, b) the ones we do meet are close friends or relatives and nothing is going on there and c) even if we DO meet someone here they have to meet GIGANTIC expectations of everyone. Some social boundaries need to be relaxed a bit here. It's ok to study in college for example with someone of the opposite gender here whereas in Pakistan it would be inappropriate. Similarly, i don't see any harm if someone likes someone else here and wants to talk with them.

@UB: I think basicallly older christianity (pre-1950s) and present day desi culture have too much in common to ignore.

@shabina: I hear you. What do u think the overwhelming proportion of thoughts in an average young muslim attending the mosque is: 1> israel-palestine 2>bush and the deficit 3>the invasion of our culture by the big bad west 4>ISNA baby!

There are things we can do in the desi world that we cannot do here (example cut a line, talk loudly on the bus, wear a dhoti to work) then why do we think we can import the whole rishta (arranged marriage) scene AS-IS and expect it to work?

Umar said...

haha... i take it you were at Islamic Foundation when you heard the Imam say that....
I was there too

I'm glad I got engaged early.
It was a love thing and an arranged thing at the same time... and alhumdullilah, the biggest emphasis for me was deen.