If you’re a girl living in Pakistan, puberty is lesser of a life changing experience than the rishta cycle. The moment you cross that point, you turn into a potential candidate for rishta-hawks silently filtering the female population into categories of desirable bachelorettes for their ladla sahibzadas.
Rishta Aunties have a knack for pigeonholing women on the basis of characteristics (mostly physical) deemed most appealing to them in no less than 10 minutes. So here’s a brief look at some of the categories of women that the rishta aunty makes.
1. The One Who Ran Out Of Shits To Give
This is the rebellious one. She has no concept of social acceptability or norms, and is basically a free spirit. She’s neither worried about what to wear to please Rishta Aunty nor is she prepared to put on a show to act excited about the prospect of an arranged marriage. She sits through the meet-up plucking at the split-ends in her hair and does not commonly indulge in the horror of small talk.
2. The Book-Worshipper
She’s the bespectacled, geeky one and the last one to catch up on latest lawn trends or pretty much anything on the scene for that matter. She’s married to her medicine books and even though rishta aunties dig a doctor bahu willing to give up her career for her post-shaadi life and susral, this one fails to fit the bill because her obsession with her course books has taken its toll on her behavior and appearance. She can hold all the distinctions in the world, but she’ll never be suitable for rishta aunty’s iklota shehzada.
3. The “Taiz” One
This one is the meethi churi slash sugar coated poison. She has her way with words and this is the one rishta aunty is ‘made’ to pay a visit to because of her son who’s obsessed with her. Rishta aunty is certain that this one lured her naïve son into her cobweb because even though she seems to be the perfect catch, Rishta Aunty knows once she becomes her bahu, she’d be the one calling the shots.
4. The Mime Act
This one is too quiet which is most probably because of the awkward situation the poor thing has been put into. In her head, if she talks a lot she’d be ruled out and accused of belonging to the previous category so she has to stay quiet and act shy just so she can be considered as a beautiful doormat.
5. Too Vocal
This one isn’t exactly very well-mannered because she has an opinion and she’s voicing it at the top of her lungs while contributing to the rounds of political conversation going on at the other side of the drawing room, where all the men are seated. Moreover, she wants to spend some alone time with the rishta guy to check if they’re even remotely compatible. According to Rishta Aunty, she’d never be able adjust (cough *bend over backwards* cough) which is why she too, can never be a suitable option.
6. The Imported One
The fault in her stars made her move back from US and she’s having a hard time as it is toning down her American accent let alone complying with the ISO 9000 standards set by Rishta Aunty. She’s still trying to figure out and conform herself to the flawed mould prepared by our society for rishta candidates, but she’s pretty much as confused as the Rishta Aunty scanning her from head to toe.
7. The Overly Religious One
The abaya-clad no-makeup on kind. She’s just too simple and subdued for the rishta aunty. And surprisingly her religion isn’t confined to her headscarf; she dresses humbly not to attract undue attention precisely where Rishta Aunty has a problem. As much as dressing too flashily is unacceptable to the Rishta Aunty, dressing up in a monotone baggy gown is a no-no for her, too. You basically need to be something of a MODEST DIVA, an oxymoronic state impossible to achieve, to appease her.
8. The Nikammi
This is the good-for-nothing one. All the items on the food table have been ordered in or evidently prepared by her mother. She failed her intermediate exam and is now available to walk the ramp for a variety of rishta aunties. Her life revolves around taking selfies, Indian cinema, foodpanda and online shopping for replicas.
9. The Sombre One
This one has clearly been forced into this charade because her boyfriend of 2 years eventually backed out and got engaged to his 7 years younger khala ki beti. She has zero interest in the whole exercise but she’s 26 years of age and hence already in the ‘danger-zone’ (which, according to rishta aunties, typically starts after 25) which is why her mother has begun The Hunt.
10. The Rishta-Candy
This one is every Rishta Aunty’s dream. She has a stellar dress sense and is a gold medalist. She holds an MBBS degree with a major in cooking & cleaning. She’s tall, fair and her vital statistics are somewhere around 36-28-36. She can fluently speak 4 languages yet doesn’t talk loud in any one of them. She’s usually considering 5+ rishtas at a time. And more often than not, this girl is Rishta Aunty’s own bhaanji.