Happily ever after
Marriage is a beautiful feeling that brings a smile on one’s face. But once its process is unfolded, you find that it is not like any Cinderella story where the girl meets her prince charming; they marry each other and live happily ever after. A fairytale that has inspired many and who have grown up with this. But as reality strikes, they find that real world is not the way they assume it to be. Here, finding one’s other half is not easy as you read in those fairy tales.
The practice of finding soul-mate initiated way back when the world came into existence. It is not something new. ‘Finding soul-mate is just like finding home without any address. Nevertheless, recently the process of finding oneself a suitable proposal (rishta) has become a tedious task especially for girls’ mother.
Shamaila Akhtar, an Operation Officer at Bank Alfalah Islamic says that as soon as she passes the age of 20 her mother starts getting worried regarding her rishta for which she consults to relatives, neighbors and even marriage bureaus. Sabiha Khatoon, a housewife and mother of two daughters sharing her anxiety says, “There is a mindset in this society that the girl who is very young, highly educated and gorgeous is a marriage material and if she crosses the age of 25 or goes above 30, so it becomes difficult for her.”
Prior there used to be khalas (aunty) in the relatives or neighbours through which the proposals were sent, but as the society modernizes so these aunties have been replaced by matchmakers and marriage bureaus. But the question arises that are these matchmakers working properly? Akhtar opines that these bureaus or match-makers have really increased anxiety of the daughter’s mother. Whereas, Khatoon says that it’s been four years that she is searching a suitable proposal for her daughter and for that she has consulted too many marriage bureaus. But to her utter dismay; she finds it of no use. According to Akhtar, these matchmakers and bureaus attract their customers through their sleazy conversation. She says, “These matchmakers have an album of potential candidates of groom which is shown to the daughters’ mothers in order to get their early commission. But what is interesting that sometimes this album only has total three pictures which are shown to every candidate.”It is also one of the means to get some money beforehand.
However, Khatoon states, “These bureaus take the registration fees but they do not send the proposals and if they do so it is complete opposite of what you have filled in their forms.” She further divulges that in every registration form, she mentions the prospect groom to be well-qualified for her daughter who is also highly qualified, but seems like these bureaus do not pay heed to any of this detail, rather most of the prospective grooms sent by bureaus are not even graduated. Although she quips with faint smile that many times, regardless of bureaus so-called affirmations, you do not even receive a single call from grooms’ side.
While Mumtaz Qureshi, who is the owner of Clifton Women Welfare Society is the old player in this profession; she has been working as a matchmaker for nearly 20 years. According to her, registration is not a guarantee of marriage, out of 100 around 20-25 people are successful. She also clarifies that there are some bad eggs in this profession but not everyone is same.
On other hand, Najma hussain, a house-wife and having four daughters is also one of the victims of these matchmakers. She points out that most of the bureaus are duped. She shares about her experience with one of the matchmaker named as Mrs. Khan who took Rs. 4000 and then she never called her back. Hussain also indicates that most of the bureaus which she contacted are advertised on renowned newspapers though coincidentally, many of these bureaus just take registration fees, and after that never ever look call you back. The tricky part of earning money is their membership form which only lasts for three or four months, and then again you have to re-enlist yourself, says hussain. Moreover, Khatoon also complains that these bureaus are not sincere, they do have proposals but they only send to those who can give a hefty amount of donation.
However there is also a common worry that has taken daughters’ mothers into storm; meaningless demands mostly from the groom families who wants the girl to be very much beautiful, tall and of course not more than 25 years. The drawing-room culture has really victimized the girls and at times the process is so annoying that it leaves a bad scar on one’s mind. Asra Tariq, a business student at Biztek Institute reveals that she has been rejected due to her dark complexion or at times her ‘being too much thin’ becomes a hindrance. These rejections make her mother more irritating and that in a circle makes her too.
Besides Tariq also adds that there were three times when her rishta were accepted but then after a while they find some other flaws and it ended abruptly. This made her depressed and because of which, she also tried to commit suicide due to the depressive environment prevailed at home; although she survived.
While talking to Sabeen Jawed, a psychologist and former Human Resource Manager at Visionaries regarding the depression in unmarried girls and an outlook of families towards this syndrome, she opines that this depression in girls is due to the constant family pressure and she further says that if she does counseling of the girl; it is no use until and unless the girls’ family does not support or be there for their daughters. On the other hand, Jawed urges that family counseling is important to tackle this situation. Whereas a society, you need to have a focus group session in which one person should facilitate the problems and give strength to each other.
Moreover, Jawed says: “It is not easy to change the outlook of the society towards the matrimony, as there is a dichotomy that from childhood you are being told that it is all God’s wish, so why need to fret on this matter.” Having said that, one should have a strong belief that whatever God decides it is better for us, and instead of getting anxious, one needs to embrace the new avenues of life, states Jawed.