Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Matrimonial Pressures

In a recent conversation, a reader from Suriname stated that after a particular age, Sindhi women undergo a great deal of matrimonial pressure and wondered what it was like for Sindhi men. Fortunately, I didn’t have to go too far to learn about the pressures that most men have to deal with since “Anonymous Ravi” from our last issue was more than happy to shed some light on the topic:

“The truth is that most men that I know do have to deal with a certain amount of pressure; however, it doesn’t compare to what Sindhi women are faced with. For instance, female friends often tell me that they hate attending social gatherings because Aunties are always in their face telling them how pretty they are and repeatedly asking why they aren’t married “Yet!”. Most women seem to face pressure from all angels at all times. Comparatively, the pressure that Sindhi males face is not as constant but more so comes at us in short, intense bursts. During these bursts every other comment is marriage related for instance, when I walk around in my basketball attire, my mother often says, “who is going to marry you? Who is going to believe you are twenty-‘bleep’? You look 16! Change your clothes”, or “when you get married, come talk to me and I’ll tell you how to produce a son,” to which I immediately thought ‘Mummy is going to tell me about ‘Kama-Sutra’ positions? Arghh! I sense a Greek tragedy coming!’. As a Sindhi male gets older, the period between the intense bursts shortens and like a woman suffering contractions during labor, the pressure mounts. In the back of our mind we can almost hear mum saying “Breathe, Push, Breathe, Push!”. Still, whatever Sindhi males have to face bares no comparison to the constant pestering women deal with only on a regular basis and also, from a younger age.

One of the many reasons for the pressure variation between the sexes is age. It’s a well known fact amongst the Sindhi community that mothers of males tend to target the younger Sindhi women because they believe she can be “molded” to fit the male. Mothers would argue that as a woman gets older, she begins to get set in her ways and thus, may not be very compromising. This implies that as Sindhi females age, the odds of them finding a quality “maitee” subsides. To prevent this, a majority of parents focus on getting their daughter married off at a young age. Although the pressure does escalate as Sindhi men get older, what with Nani slapping on the guilt trip by telling you that she’d like to see you married before passing on into the after life, it still doesn’t equal what women suffer. Not only do they go through the same pressure but so do the girls parents. In fact, some of the elders end up blaming the female for not being married, implying that she is defected in someway. Men however, aren’t usually plagued with the issue of being too old and we often find men of 32 and above marrying considerably younger women.

Most parents would agree that achieving their duty of getting their offspring married has become increasingly difficult over time. Back in the day, parents had simple goals and techniques, and although the goals haven’t changed, their techniques have evolved to counter the resistance put forth by the independent youth of today. To illustrate my point better, I’ll share a recent incident that took place between my mother and I. The background is as follows: she was insisting that I attend one of those Sindhi conferences to meet someone on my own, and I wasn’t too wild about the idea. Realizing this, she deployed Operation “Putu Ji Maytee,” which was a three stage maneuver.

Stage 1:
She began by brining up the topic of the conference at times when I didn’t expect it: at dinner, while sitting watching television and even calling me at work. Usually I said we’d talk about it later or altogether brushed it off thinking she’d leave me alone. However, this phase was simply to soften me up for stage 2.

Stage 2:
She called me out of my room and insisted I sit down to discuss a serious matter with her. Eventually, I followed her instructions and she hit me with the “AGE FACTOR”. That’s right, she told me about how old she and my father were and how their wish was to see me settled with a wife. Without a doubt, this ‘Nani’ ploy sent my mind whirring, and I began to think more about the matter. Still, she knew that for me to take the plunge, she’d need to do more, and my Lord, did she do more!

Stage 3: This was the clincher!
I came home on a regular Saturday afternoon, and mum opened the door for me with a big smile on her face. I assumed she must have seen something funny on Sony or Ztv and continued to walk in to the living room. As soon as I entered, I saw two kids (probably between the ages of 3 and 5) sitting on the sofa, drinking a coke. I turned towards my mum thinking, “They aren't mine, HONEST!!!! least not BOTH of them!”. She informed me that they came along for a ride with the driver. After breathing a sigh of relief, I sat next to the kids and turned on the cartoon network, and figured I was done. Mum continued to talk to them as they gulped down their beverage. She then followed them out as they left and once again, smiled at me. I didn’t understand why, but I guess it was because she was about to slam the nail into the coffin! After shutting the door, she came back in to the living room and I had to ask, only to set myself up:

“Why are you smiling?”
Too which she raised her hands to the heavens and quickly brought them down to her sides while saying:

The turkey had been stuffed and the Goose was cooked. The package was signed, sealed and delivered. The dope had been roped. Game over!

I put my hand over my face and shook my head. The combination was perfect. First she “Jabbed” with the marriage pressure followed by a solid “Hook” about the age and then the knock out “Uppercut” was the grandkids! I wasn’t prepared for this match up and subsequently booked my seat and attended the conference. She not only put the marriage pressure but jumped forward a step and threw in the grandkids. Usually the pressure was a gradual process but this was below the belt.

Mother: 1 Putu: 0”

Sadly Ravi’s case isn’t an isolated one, and many of us Sindhi males are victims of such crafty behavior. Even though research is underway to find methods to prevent us falling into such traps, the funding is no where near enough. Those interested in sending donations, please email me for details.

So my dear Suriname, the truth is most Sindhi males, although at a later age, do face a certain level of pressure and guilt trips from their family however, it doesn’t measure up to what Sindhi women face.

I hope this gives you a better idea of what a lot of us blokes out there deal when it comes to finding a “Joye” and next time you think about how easy it is for us men, think about “vecharo” Ravi.

Now, who wants to see my “chati”?

Chandru Bhojwani

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