Why I'm Not The Happiest Person In The
Hello there, folks. I haven't penned a column
since July 29, apparently. People seem to be recognizing my unusual silence
(I'd hope) on the site and therefore, I've kinda decided to write up a column.
And not JUST a column. More or less my weakass attempt at a sociology lesson to any of you who don't know too much about South Asian culture. Yup, I'm gonna give you one example about what makes ME different from YOU. And if you are of or have friends or family members of South Asian descent, then hopefully, you'll feel me in this column. Because I'm not just speaking for myself, I'm speaking for all South Asians! South Asia, BTW, is a subcontinent consisting of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
It'll clue you all into me and why I'm the way I am. (No, it's not a fucking Eminem reference!)
Be forewarned - this is NOT a regular Raquib column from me. I'm not really going for shits and giggles this time around, so you might as well hit the Back button on your browser if you expected something else...
Oh, and if I offend people, then that's cool. Nothing like a column consisting of sweeping generalizations to rile up the readers (well, the one person who'll be readin' this)!
So in the words of Booker T, let's do dis!
Okay, so I look at myself in the mirror. Often. I'll just stand up and look at it for a good 15 minutes somedays. Just to see how I look like. Check out that facial hair on my chin. Seeing if those sideburns of mine are growing out yet. Just looking to see what other people are seeing when they look at me.
Over the last few years, the images radiating off that bathroom mirror have changed. I started shaving. I denounced the combover from my reportoire. I actually started to LOOK like I was turning into a man.
But not everything has changed.
I mean, I'm still decidedly ethnic. My skin hasn't exactly gotten lighter. My hair hasn't turned brown yet. I don't look like Opie, whoever the hell that is.
And with that ethnicity comes a HUGE burden. Besides the whole ostricized-by-society-just-because-you-ain't-white-or-black-thing, there are tons of pressure from your own South Asian community to conform.
Like most cultures, the idea of filial piety exists within South Asian culture, meaning that your elders attain a certain amount of respect over those who are younger. And with that respect comes the message of tradition.
And not just tradition. Rigid, unbinding, and unconforming-to-modern-times tradition. (Yeah - I know I practically said the same thing, but it's my column - MINE! ) Let me talk about one aspect of this tradition, specifically the ideal concept of marriage in South Asian society.
For generations, South Asian people consider the ideal marriage to be handled by the parents or by an elder of the prospective groom/bride. Sure, the groom/bride had a say, but the parents/elders had a good say in who would be marrying their kid. First and foremost, the person marrying their kid has to be from a "good family" - whatever that means. I guess that means the family has to have a good reputation among the community or some shit. Second, the person has to "match well" with the parent's child. That means that there can't be too much of a height difference between the bride and groom. Oh, and the groom HAS to be taller. Third, the bride HAS to look attractive to the parents, unless the parents are poor and have a low rep as is. Fourth, the groom has to have a educated, have a good job, but doesn't necessarily have to be attractive. Sense the misogyny?
Oh, am I forgetting a big one? Yup - the bride and groom MUST be of the SAME RACE.
Anyhow, times have changed. Parents have less of a say in who their children get married to, but that doesn't mean the children have TOTAL say in who they can marry. But there have been exceptions, which can lead to animosity between family members of either the bride or groom's family, respectively.
So, what's MY opinion about all this? Well, I think it's a load of bullshit. I don't agree with it and contemplating my future can downright SCARE me. Think about it - not even knowing the woman or man before you marry her/him. I mean - geezus, there are a lot of people I've known who have gone through with it. Sure - you CAN be an individual and find someone who your parents can like, but I've been very close to family members whose choices for marriage have been downright REJECTED just because.
Here's some of the scenarios that would likely happen if I chose to go their respective routes:
Suppose I wanted to marry a white woman? My parents would dislike me, especially, my dad. My mom would probably cry her ass off. Immediate black sheep status (even if your parents played it nice to your face, they'd talk alot of shit behind your back). You'd still get to go to family gatherings, but people would give you funny stares and shit.
Suppose I wanted to marry a woman whose family was of supposed "low status"? My parents would make a fit about it. My dad would talk behind my back and so would all of my relatives. Immediate black sheep status (See above). It would be best to avoid socializing with family members...yup.
Suppose I wanted to marry a woman who wasn't really educated? Well, that doesn't matter because THE MAN MAKES THE MONEY AND DESERVES THE PRESTIGE ANYWAY! HAHAHAA! Rampant misogyny in my culture...it sucks, but hey, you're still part of the EVER LOVING family!
Suppose I wanted to marry a woman who was MORE educated than me? Immediate disapproval from both parents, thus immediate black sheep status if I went through with it. Avoid the family - or suffer years of backstabbing from relatives and EVEN your own parents!
And I could go on and on and on...it still WOULD SUCK BALLS. But that is the burden that comes with being from Bangladesh.
So I'm considering living the single life. Sure, there's a chance of me finding the PERFECT Bangali girl who I've actually known for a few years, but it's slim pickings as is. There's probably a lot that I haven't even covered yet, but let me just say that the thoughts of me actually getting married off by family members is NOT something that I want for myself.
But the thought of avoiding marriage for the rest of my life WILL stir animosity within my family members. They'll either think I'm (a) wanting to screw other chicks, (b) gay or (c) throwing away my culture, which is something REAL ESSENTIAL (well, duh - ;) ) in our community.
Sure, if your parents are really liberal, then MAYBE you won't have to worry about what YOUR FAMILY thinks about YOU marrying someone who you want to spend the rest of your life with. Makes the moderate South Asians seem downright oppressive, don't it?
And that's one of my MANY reasons that I'm not the most happiest person in the world.