Bo Haro Poiro Che

My life as an Indian at this point consists solely and only of one thing: looking for a husband. Well, I may be exaggerating a little bit. No, I am not on a mad hunt for a man. I’m working. I’m studying. I’m living a peaceful (well, as peaceful as it can get with a family like mine) life and I’m growing up. While not many would agree with this, I think I am. I no longer wake up five minutes before I need to leave the house, dress, brush my teeth, sprint outside with socks, scarf, shoes, flask and the rest of world in my hands to complete my morning routine in the car. It’s a good start, the rest will come with time.

When you reach the age of twenty (I say twenty but everyone knows it starts at sixteen!) in the Indian society, your name is enlisted in a thing called ‘The Single Women’s Club’. Us, single women, are not part of this club nor do we have a say in it.

This club was established long ago when some old aunty had decided that Indian women, if not married by a certain age, would be considered too old to find a ‘Haro Poiro’ i.e a good boy, and then shrivel up and die single. She approached her fellow old aunty friends and they too agreed that this was a concern that needed to be dealt with so they started a secret club and decided that they’d never let this happen to a woman in their society. All of them would be happily married and making rotis for their Haro Poiros before the age of 25. So at weddings and funerals the old aunties would find their targets, draw the innocent girls in by asking simple questions at first and then they’d strike!

Their main phrase was: When are you getting married? I know such a good boy for you!

Naturally the girl would refuse so they’d go after the parents next. This went on until they found suitable matches for all the eligible girls then they’d wait excitedly for the next batch of girls to come of age.

When one became too old to do her job, she’d let her daughter into the club to carry on this noble work after her. This club is alive and thriving till today. It’s a secret club, that’s why you didn’t know about it. Well, now you do, you’re welcome.

As a twenty-year-old female, I have entered the club’s radar. All eyes are on me. As I go on with my everyday life, there’s always the talk of my future husband.

It’s a common discussion in my house since I am the next in line to get married anyway. I’m always being asked questions like: “What do you want in a husband?” “Would it be a problem if he lived in…?” “What do you expect from him after marriage”

I also live with a very opinionated mother who already has a long list of demands and prerequisites for her future son-in-law and a father who is adamant on finding me the best (May Allah bless them).

But with everyone giving me their own opinions, this leaves me very confused.

So recently my cousin got married and I met a lot of the old aunties who kept telling me that I’m next in line.  They asked me when I’m going to get married and some of the ‘Aunties-versions 2.0’ would have the nerve to ask me if I had a boyfriend. Um… hello? My parents may be slightly more modern than the average Indian parents but that does not mean they’d let me get away with a boyfriend easily. No, I’d get away crawling on my knees after ± 35 hits with a sjambok and the wooden spoon and maybe if I’m lucky I’d escape without the velan but there is no such thing as luck in an Indian household so I’d most probably get the velan too. Also, haram! Let’s not forget that.

When I’m asked when I’m going to get married, my answer is, “I still have time, I don’t need to worry about that now,” and it’s true. I’m only twenty and I have many dreams and goals and as it is I’m confused about what I want in a husband. But that’s fine too because when the time comes for me to choose, when I see him, I hope it’ll fall into place. Not in a novel ‘love at first sight’ nor a ‘sparks and fireworks’ kind of way but I hope that I’d be ready to decide if he is who I want to spend my life with based on what I know about him.

I also know that I’d have the support of my parents and their advice and wisdom to guide me in a decision affecting the rest of my life.

I have experienced friends who would try their best to help me and my teachers and mentors who would kick me if I made a decision based on the butterflies in my stomach and didn’t look at the bigger picture.

Right now I’m dealing with a series of potential suitors. Some are too short (tall people problems) and some are perfect but in the wrong country. It’s a long process to find the missing piece of the puzzle.

But guess what? There’s no rush! (I’m not going to mention my outbursts every once in a while when I just want to get married because all of my friends are getting married and I complain about my husband taking so long to make his grand appearance. Mentioning that would defeat the purpose of my whole speech) Because good things take time 😉

Single and ready to mingle

Hafsa Umar

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