Tired of 'Rishta Aunties', Pakistani woman makes board game on Arranged Marriage
Are you one of those who are scared of inquisitive aunties, who never miss an opportunity to be the best matchmaker? Well, then you are not alone, and certainly, the terrifying crisis is not unique to India only. Believe it or not but girls in other South-Asian countries, especially in neighbouring Pakistan also fear them.
The desperate matchmakers who are always ready to set you up with a potential suitor and get you hitched to just any random bachelor they find fit. Not that hard to fathom the situation, remember the Careem Taxis from Pakistan who had launched special rides in tandem with matchmaking aunties? Yes, so you can guess how hard it must be to avoid them. Tired of such pestering problems, a Pakistani graphic designer has created a board game that has a humorous take on arranged marriage. Called Arranged by Nashra Balagamwala, this is a quirky game that allows three women to find their ‘golden’ match out of love and not because it is arranged upon superficialities and status.
The game’s motive is to dodge intrusive aunties and men whom she describes as ‘shy mama’s boys’ or womanisers, who she says “think they’re God’s gift to humanity”. Through her board game, she aims to start a conversation on the repressed topic and also want people to acknowledge the problem, but all done in the shade of humour. “I hope to get people talking about this issue that is so pressing,” said Balagamwala.
Balagamwala told The Guardian, Arranged taps into her view of a misogynistic attitude in Pakistan, with men “who are all about women belonging in the kitchen and have this male dominance about them. They dominate your entire life.”
A student of Rhode Island School of Design, she designed the game through her own experience and incidents shared by her friends. In the game – to avoid the matchmaker aunty or the suitors who are only considered for their status and money – the girls adopt ‘ridiculous’ ways to avoid them. From gaining weight to hanging out with guys in malls, as it is not preferred. “Some scenes seem ridiculous or comical, but its darkness is masked in lightness,” she added.
She is not against the concept altogether, however, she just does not want someone to be forced into it against their will. The ultimate goal of the game is to escape an arranged marriage and find true love, which is found in the “Golden Boy” card.
Since graduating last year, she has worked at Hasbro, which makes Monopoly and Jenga, but now her parents want her to return to Karachi, just as her one-year work visa expires. She now is crowdfunding to sell her game online $30 and raising money to fund the project. Apart from that she plans to donate the money raised to women foundation who were in abusive and loveless marriage. She also believes if girls are empowered and are well educated then the mindset will change and ultimately benefit them. “Most will accept arranged marriage as their fate. They’re too afraid and they’re not educated enough to know they don’t have to go from their dad’s house to their husband’s house.”