It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a desi girl who has surpassed the age of 20 must get married, or the world shall perish.
Because, alas, women can only have one life goal – to find and marry the perfect man, if he happens to be a doctor or lawyer, well then you’ve hit the jackpot. If it’s not your parents constantly stressing you out, then it will be the random aunt or uncle who so graciously offers to take on the role of match-maker.
For those of you who, however, wish to avoid such encounters, we have some tips for you.
Sarcasm is one of the world’s best weapons if used correctly.
It’s one of the things I use pretty much every day, but when a dear Aunty is over to inquire about me, it goes into overdrive. You see, sarcasm will ensure you with one of two results, either they will catch onto the sarcasm and think you are extremely rude, or they will think you are being serious and are insane. Both work pretty well. As one of The Tempest women likes to say, “Sorry, I’m busy looking up ways to murder husbands” in order to wade out of the waters.
2. Dark lipstick
Dark lipstick scares Desis, I don’t know why but it is science. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it ruins the facade of the “ideal, docile wife,” but it seems to do the trick. I really enjoy wearing dark lipstick, staring emotionlessly at people and making them think I’m a low-key Jinn.
3. Inability to make chai
Chai is basically life as any certified Desi should know, the better the tea, the higher your rank in the household. I mean I guess it gets kind of annoying because once your talent is discovered, people will never stop asking you to make chai. So, what could be more off-putting than a woman who can’t make chai? One who makes bad chai!
You will no longer be daughter-in-law material, sorry.
4. Be opinionated
For most of us, this isn’t a hard task, I am known to randomly break into passionate speeches about the current state of the world. But maybe, just maybe, if we make it seem like we are too much work, we will be left alone. I’d go for sensitive areas that are taboo because it is always fun to see an Aunty in shock after you discuss sexuality openly, I mean where is my sharam?!
5. Chop off those locks
Ok, I’ll admit this one is pretty drastic, so maybe use it as a last resort. I love letting my hair grow super long and then chopping it all off, best of both worlds, right? My parents, however, hate it. I make myself look too masculine, too “modern,” and if you want to go a step further – dye it a gorgeous color.
Yes, I went there.
6. Do something bizarre
This is definitely the most fun: put on your serious face and do something incredibly crazy to scare the hell out of everyone around you. If you’re stuck on ideas, here are some.
- Start talking to an imaginary friend.
- Start laughing every time someone says something and immediately stop when they stop.
- Begin passionately rapping, ideally to a crude song.
- Grab an inanimate object, wrap it in a blanket and start stroking and singing to it.
7. Talk money.
Well, every Desi mother loves to show off their son right? So take them up on it.
Ask about their profession and advancement opportunities. Then start asking about pay and hypothetically discuss how much you would get if a divorce would occur. Create a financial plan right in front of them.
8. You don’t want children
The ultimate Desi parents dream underpinning their pushiness towards marriage and nearly all of their melodramatic interactions with their children of marriageable age is giving them grandchildren. Nothing gives a greater sense of accomplishment and self-worth to a Desi parent than parading their grandchildren in front of their extended families and friends. So, all you need to do is confidently state that you don’t see children fitting into your life plan.
9. Dress “inappropriately”
Most Desi families hold an ideal image of their daughter-in-law to be. When they arrive you are expected to visually reflect the perfect, respectable daughter in law they always wanted- the “pyaari bahu” fantasy. Put away your best suit or your best East-meets-West combo. Instead, give them the biggest shock of their life. Shatter their cultural notions.
Put on something they would never imagine you wearing!
10. Your rotis aren’t round
Equally as disgraceful as not being able to make a decent cup of chai is the inability to make a round roti, or any shape of roti for that matter. As a good Desi daughter, your favorite place must be the kitchen, because who doesn’t like to spend hours in the kitchen cooking when all the men are watching cricket or sleeping. Best to say you can’t cook when asked, and to ask if he can cook.
Spoiler: it’s a no.
11. Talk about your life plans
Whether it’s going back to school, traveling, opening a business, volunteering or whatever it is you want to do for yourself, tell them that takes precedence over finding a husband and having kids, which is sure to be met with a scowl. You’re likely to be told it’s not as important as keeping a man but maintain that a man is not more important than doing what you want to do.
12. Your checklist
Everyone has their checklist of what they want in their spouse, which, unfortunately, the rishta aunties don’t care to consider when they’re trying to set you up with someone who’s always “a nice boy.” So whenever they bring up a potential suitor, pull out your list too, and make it as ridiculous as you want it to be – if he’s a doctor, say you want to marry an engineer, or he has to be rich and only wear blue socks.
13. Get a really weird pet
Perch a monitor lizard and/or tarantula on our shoulder while talking to in-laws and tell them you refuse to part with your beast (bonus points if you lovingly stroke it while laughing maniacally).
14. Let ’em know you’re not a housewife
A lot of groom’s families come into this looking for someone who will continue to baby their sons. Just kindly refuse, but still, offer to help them look for daycares instead.
15. Stay in school for like… ever
There’s only one thing that some desi parents will hold higher than a suitable partner in marriage, and that’s education. Besides, your parents would rather brag about your Ph.D. in-progress than of what diameter the ladoos will be at the reception.
16. Speak your native tongue horrendously
No, I don’t mean pretend you don’t know it, or not speak it at all. I mean go all out in butchering the pronunciation, give yourself an American dialect, and make it so that your potential rishta would rather listen to bad harmonium covers of Taylor Swift songs.
Cherish this survival guide and let us know if you have any more ideas on the topic, we need them.