To celebrate our second birthday, we bring you back our most popular and beloved article!
Dating is hard. Dating in South Asian culture is even harder. As a single Indian girl in her mid 20’s, I’ve reached the inevitable stage where most of my friends are getting engaged, married, or are already in serious relationships. As if the verbal and consistent pressure from your parents, aunties, uncles (and let’s not forget grandparents) isn’t enough, you now find the very same people who used to be your solace, your partners-in-crime, now busy with flower arrangements, designing wedding clothes, and updating their newfound happiness through status updates and photos on Facebook.
It’s funny how things change within just a few years. I remember when dating was just a question of meeting a guy and feeling a spark. Now when I meet a guy, I need to check for a sparkling wedding ring.
Why is it that when I attend family weddings or Diwali dinner parties, I’m still rarely asked about my career? Once it’s been established that I have graduated from my ‘further studies’ (check) and that I have a job (check), there is the inevitable, ‘So when are you getting married? Have you found the boy? Shall we start looking?’ (Checkmate!)
Finding a great single Desi guy is about as easy as waking up with your hair looking perfect. I always wonder how aunties or relatives who barely know me feel like they can partake in a monumentous decision such as choosing the person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with!
Despite so many parents telling their daughters they want them to be happy, pursue their careers, and be independent, why is it that so many of these daughters still can’t help but feel that we are adding not to our own CV’s, but to our parents’ social Biodatas?
“Beti (child), it is no longer arranged marriage. We cannot tell you what to do with your life. We can simply suggest.” I wonder how long these not-so-subtle hints can masquerade as suggestions. Why does it seem that most Desi parents have taken a course in mastering the art of conflicted messages? Why is it that even while their words convey open-mindedness, their faces speak a whole different story?
My favorite is what I call the ‘accepted defeat’ card, most often played be the ‘helpless parent’. A misleading tactic where on the surface it seems they have accepted that they cannot change you. But then out come the head-shaking and repetitive sighing. “We just cannot say or do anything anymore.” Shake. Sigh.
Don’t get me wrong, parents. I completely understand that you want your daughter to be happily married and settled. You only want what’s best for her. But please stop to ask yourself, are you thinking more about what’s best for her, or what’s best for You? Have you asked yourself even once if she is ready? By this, I don’t mean if she’s of ‘marriage-able age’, a graduate, and can cook and clean well.
Instead ask yourself – Do you even know if she is happy with who she is? Because what you must realize is that unless she is happy and at peace with herself, she will not be happy with someone else. Unless she has an identity of her own before marriage, she will be unhappy as a wife and as a mother.
If you are concerned with your daughter’s future, look at her present. Your decision to pressure a daughter can affect the lives of a whole family. Act wisely.
Well, now that I’ve bought us a little more time, where are all the good men?
I’m truly concerned about the quality of men available, considering the sheer quantity of them! Let’s just say the “All the good ones are taken or gay!” remark comes up a little too often in girl chit-chat. I’ve decided that I must do something to make things better for the next generation. Perhaps make the dating world a better place for my future daughter.
In a special plea to Desi mothers worldwide, please teach your sons how to cook, clean, and do laundry. Teach them how to treat all girls with respect. His height, fairness, and salary are truly secondary factors.
Fathers, please realize that your sons listen more to what you do than what you say. Be affectionate to your wife. Be loving to your children. Do not be afraid to show emotion. How you treat the women in your life will shape how your son treats his.
And maybe, just maybe, my future daughter will be busy with her own flower arrangements instead of writing a column about the scarcity of good South Asian men…
Kari ‘Bad’ Shah is a single Indian woman in her mid 20’s who has lived in many cities around the world. She hopes her experiences and thoughts will help bridge the generational gap between South Asian parents and children worldwide. ‘No Sex in the City’ is inspired by the popular TV show ‘Sex and the City’ which captured the attention of diverse viewers across the globe.