5 ways of revamping the old Matchmaking process.
This is my engagement picture which took place in March 2019, and it happened after 15 days when my parents said YES to this potential rishta :P we look happy with our decision na :P I am for sure :D
The story starts from when my parents thought that I have reached the right age to get married, which is normal in a Pakistani household, and they contacted a matchmaker aka rishtay wali aunty to start a rishta parade for their daughter.
I on the other hand, had observed this parade before in my house, because I have 2 elder sisters, and they went through the same process, so this was not new to me, and I am not against this process, it's merely a practice our elders have been following but there are some weaknesses in the system, which I think needs to get addressed and hopefully rectified because it's 2021 and it's high time we should modify this practice for the ease of society at large.
Matchmaking meaning is to match two people together for the purpose of marriage, and by two people I mean two families. Because compatibility of families is as important as the compatibility of the couple itself.
I would to base my advices on wholly my experience, and what I want to change in this process and make it less of a shopping spree but more of a meaningful and respectful way of finding a suitable match for their daughter/son.
Below I am mentioning the observations and MY take on the solutions for these "problems", also I'm sharing my experience so this is purely from a girl's point of view.
- Clear Communication:
When my parents were in constant search for a suitable prospect for me for the purpose of marriage, they would send a brief Rishta profile of me, which would include my name, date of birth, age, education, preferences, height and a picture. Just like a short bio-data. For the prospective families. And the same thing larkay walay use to do for their sons. Now there is nothing wrong in this, obviously before calling the prospective family one should get a brief idea. But the problem which I observed in this practice is, that the rishtay wali aunty demands from the girl's family to send pictures which are more appealing and to sometimes hide certain facts. For example edit the pictures according to the general beauty standards (I know right!) or to hide the age of the daughter, and sometimes not to mention preferences because there are limited choices for girls :/
Sad it is, and I use to think at that time, that in no way is this right, because the families would eventually come to our house and see me in real, aren't they going to notice any difference then?
So my solution to this is that the rishtay wali aunties shouldn't demand such things from either party, because hiding things or making it falsely appealing wont do any good to any party. There should be clear communication based on real facts. Jisko jo jesa pasand aega khud contact karlenge, haina!
Now the meetup of two families, in our society always happens at the girl's house. So for this meetup the responsibility for arrangements for food and tea lies on the girl's family. This practice I hated! really I did, I still do. Why have we made this a norm? Why does the party who is coming to meet the girl and her family expects a good hi-tea setup where ever they go?
I mean I know mehman nawazi is a good thing, but do you guys realize how tiring it is to setup the whole hi-tea twice or thrice a week, for strangers, and how costly it is. I mean only tea and biscuit or just plain water can be done. Why do the boy's families expects something grand every time. And if the Hi-tea setup is not as per their expectations then this is another minus point! I'm not lying.
The solution to this problematic behavior is that the first meeting of two families should take place at a neutral place. At some restaurant in my opinion, or in some café, where the bill is divided among the two parties. This will also not put the girl who is under scrutiny already, under more pressure, and will actually help in making things easier for the girl's family.
3. What to ask and what not to ask:
Once in this rishta parade, a family came to our house which comprised of all together 6 people. The boy, his mother, his sister, brother in law, brother's in law sister and another younger sister. So I went in the drawing room, sat on the sofa and said my salam to everyone, then out of all of them brother in law's sister started the conversation. Mind you I had no idea who was the actual sister, and who was the brother in law's sister. Only me and my parents were in the room with them.
She started asking me about my job, my likes dislikes, my hobbies, whether I like doing Yoga or not, how much did I like doing Yoga, do we go out as family on dinners and lunches, which is my favorite restaurant, my favorite dish, color, which book I was reading, Am I able to do Sanyasan (A yoga pose). I mean too many questions, and irrelevant. The entire time the boy's actual family were quiet. The boy was busy in having his tea and that's it. My own parents didn't ask the boy too many questions apart from the work and education.
After they left, I said to my mother the woman asking me thousands of questions, what was her relation with the boy, and my mother told me she was his brother in law's sister and I was like WHATTT!! 😒
People when they come for the meeting they generally have no idea what to ask and what not to. And in this way it leads to bad impression. The solution for this would be to ask general neutral questions, regarding studies, jobs, likes and dislikes on a surface level, not dig in too much and it's not necessary to ask too many questions. A few can do the deed. Also I would like to say that it is more appropriate if the boy and his parents ask the questions themselves and not some distant relative. Because then it seems that the boy is not interested in this whole meeting, and is only there for tea!
4. Be Respectful:
It is common saying that when you give respect, you get respect. In our Pakistani society, somehow it has become a norm to give baseless verdicts. And this norm prevails in the Rishta Parade too sadly. People don't realize at times that their straight forwardness or bluntness might hurt others sentiments. The families who are looking out for matches for their boys, should be more respectful towards the girls families. It is already a very awkward situation for a girl to get ready and present herself in front of the boy's family, rather than asking her to get up and walk, or ask questions about her height and weight and whether she wears glasses or not. Or say something like she is under makeup and it would be better if we see her without makeup.
If you want a model for your son then search for a model and don't go to every other house for the tea. I know I'm using harsh words, but this is the reality. Fortunately it didn't happen in my case but I have heard such cases.
Also ONLY the parents and the boy should go to the girl's house in the first meeting rather than the whole group. It is more convenient and respectful.
Please don't do this. Be kind.
5. Advice for Boys:
My last observation was that the boys in general who came to our house with their family, were not involved in the meeting. Either they would be using their phone or drinking tea that's it. Sometimes they would answer my father's questions with a nod or a short answer. I mean if you have come to the meeting then at least talk! and show some interest. Nobody forced you. The boy should introduce himself, tell about his education, his background a bit, this gives the opportunity to the girl's family to assess the boy on a surface level.
The boys should also spend a little time on their grooming as well. Because I know for a fact that when a girl presents herself in front of the prospective family, she is her level best at that time. The boys should also make this effort, dress up nicely and formally, smell nice, speak confidently. These are the advices I would like to give to anybody in my circle who is a part of this matchmaking process.
Lastly I would say that I got married through this process, and some might believe that this whole matchmaking is not their thing and it's not cool, but trust me I found my life partner, and he is my male version, I mean we have a lot in common :P and I am an advocate for this whole process, albeit with some modifications matchmaking in Pakistan can improve a big time.
Until next time BYE!