Are you a damsel not engaged yet? If yes, then you must be aware of the “Drawing Room Torture”, which in our culture is more sophisticatedly known as Larki Dekhna or Bar Dikhawwa. No matter which social class you belong to, you will have to go through this irritating, humiliating and sometimes unbearable process until or unless you are chosen by some wise, old ladies for their extraordinary sons and brothers whose demands and worth increases in direct proportion to their financial status and degrees. And God forbid, if they are settled abroad or have a foreign degree, then they are in search of such Hoor Parees who are especially created by God for their Chands.
Physical beauty is the first and foremost, if not the only condition, set by our superficial society for the acceptance of a girl as an ideal wife and sought after daughter-in-law. Perhaps this is the reason why most men automatically fall in love with pretty facesrather than ordinary ones. Appreciation and attraction towards beauty is something natural and so is the demand for a good looking partner, but the rigid standards of appearance defined by boys and their families are utter nonsense.
More unreasonable is the way they search almost every house of the city for their beauty queen, visit dozens of drawing rooms, digest trays of snacks with liters of drinks and as the girl enters and sits on the sofa to meet them , they stare and question her irritatingly. When the girl does not come up to their expectations (which is more often the case, asnot every girl looks like Karina and Katrina), they react like ill-mannered children –suddenly put their plates back on the table, raise their brows and noses, refuse everything and pick up their bags to leave and explore other houses. Their bitter facial expressions make them so ugly that if they see their own faces at that moment, they forget to demand a Gori Chitti Hoor with twinkling eyes, roman features, doll face and snow white hair (at least).
Even if by mistake a girl comes up to their mark, her turmoil doesn’t end here; second and third visits are arranged on the pretexts that the Phupi or Khala or married sisters of the boy want to see the girl and then the eligible bachelor himself wants to see her because Aaj kal to aaisa hota hi hey…! (this is normal nowadays). But who tells them that why can’t they bring all concerned who are engaged in the match making decision on their first visit?
Hardly ever is a girl lucky enough to clear all these qualifying rounds smoothly, otherwise she can be rejected on numerous false excuses like they did Istikara (judgment from omens) and it was negative. Now if they really believed in Istikara, why hadn’t they done it when they made first visit to the girl’s house? And many a times the boy’s family doesn’t even bother to inform the girl’s family about their decision and leave them confused.
This process of Larki and Larka Dekhna is quite exhausting and time consuming to both the parties and mostly arranged in an artificial drawing room environment where every one performs one’s role like an actor on a stage. The leading characters of these soaps are those Rishtey Walian or match makers who are known as Khala, Appa, Aunty or Mrs. XYZ and who arrange initial meetings between the boy’s and girl’s family. Some of them pursue it as a profession while others as a hobby or for Sawab(at least as they claim though they don’t mind taking gifts or nazranas in case of settlement from both the parties).
What usually happens is that, the girl’s family is informed in advance about the arrival of the boy’s relatives. Preparations are started, refreshment arranged and drawing room is set to stage the meeting. Amma and Abba rehearse their dialogues in praise of the endless qualities of their daughter and are ready to give their best performances. The girl is instructed to put on an artificial smile, get all dolled up and speak very little to present herself as a shy, subservient and modest creature who is meant to please everyone.
On the other side, the boy’s family members also come in their best clothes and in theirbest car, if they have any, to show their status and mothers never forget to wear their gold bangles and jhumkas at the occasion. They behave in a typical privileged class manner as they are the Larkay Walay.
In this entire episode, boys and girls are not completely innocent Many-a-time it is the high ideals and unrealistic demands of boys and even that of girls as well which create problems for parents. In our orthodox society where love marriages are still not likable a option and where most of the youngsters leave this important decision of life at the whims of their elders, Larki and Larka Dekhna has become a ritual for matchmaking.
There might not be any harm in the process, however, both boys and girls along with their families require to have a realistic approach towards mate selection. They need to keep their heads on their shoulders and look for human beings rather than angels. Besides, rather than searching out every house of the city, relying upon middle women and taking impressions from planned meetings, choosing a match from family, friends or acquaintance circles on the basis of informal interaction is a much better alternative. Even if when such formal visits of dekhna dikhana are indispensable, one should respect other parties dignity and must not misbehave or hurt anyone.
As James L. Framo says, “People do not marry people, they marry what they think the person is; they marry illusions and images and the exciting adventure of marriage is finding out who the partner really is.’’
The article was published in Dawn Magazine around a decade back… still seems relevant! What do you think ? Share your experience and opinion candidly 🙂