Apr 17, 2008

Bettingfield - Soulmates do they exist?

So this pretty much sums up how I feel lately. It's hard to think that your soulmate might just be a figment of your imagination.

Incompatible, it don't matter though
'cos someone's bound to hear my cry
Speak out if you do
You're not easy to find

Is it possible Mr. Loveable
Is already in my life?
Right in front of me
Or maybe you're in disguise

Who doesn't long for someone to hold
Who knows how to love you without being told
Somebody tell me why I'm on my own
If there's a soulmate for everyone

Here we are again, circles never end
How do I find the perfect fit
There's enough for everyone
But I'm still waiting in line

Feb 24, 2008

Internet Matrimonials

The newspaper ads quickly evolved to become cash cows for the world wide web, you hardly see newspapers doing this now. There were and are literally hundreds of matrimonial websites out there that promise matches made in bytes. And of course this isn't limited to the Sikh community and matrimony, this is literally big business for our western counterparts in terms of dating sites too.

However, again we (desi's) somehow manage to recreate the lack of class from black and white newspapers ads over to multimedia screens. These sites like Sikhnet and Shaadi didn't really improve the newspaper experience, in someways they made it worse because now I have a face to go with my "handsome" Sikh man. One good point of these Internet sites would be that at least now it's no longer called an advertisement, at least now you create a profile and put some words and photographs behind the paper worth you advertised previously in 50 words or less.

After considerable pressure I was pushed into creating a profile for myself. It was probably one of the hardest things I've done since writing my masters dissertation. Of course everyone says, its so hard to sum up who you are in a few paragraphs, but at at least most people have a clue. I really felt clueless at this point in my life (a few years ago). And, so started the next chapter in my excruciating painful expedition to Mt. The One. The cycle of browsing, accepting and declining profiles begins.

I've done some person therapy and have come to realize the reason why I've been on Sikhnet for years, on and off is because of guys like this (picture) actually I'm not going to post his picture that's just mean but I'll try and describe it- can you picture this......

A thirty something guy wearing a loud floral shirt, fully exposing a follically endowed chest underneath which you can just barely see a gleaming gold medallion style chain, moving upwards you see a nice enough smile overshadowed by a 12 o'clock shadow and then you come to the eyes, oh but you can't see the eyes because they are hidden beneath Miami Vice like reflective sunglasses.

Thankfully, I've not had the personal pleasure of conversing with Mr. Suave I just had the pleasure of declining his correspondence. But can you blame me! And I understand bad pictures believe me I think I have two good ones and they are from when I was in nappies. Anyway I'm very sad to say that I've only ever met a half dozen decent guys on the Internet in all my surfing, and I'll explain what happened with them next time.

Feb 22, 2008

Newspaper Ads

I'm not sure which entrepreneur or desperado started the newspaper matrimonial ads but I wish I could get my hands on HIM. (Yes I'm assuming it's a him). Back in the day these ads were so ridiculous I wish I had saved clippings so I could scan them in for you all to have a good laugh, I remember reading about a man looking for a stunning bride who's skin should be as white as milk - seriously ! and the description about him was something like this :

30 year old JSM (code for Jatt Sikh male) 5ft 9" (translation = 5ft 5") with a healthy build (more than a few Ibs overweight). Quick marriage can be arranged, only US citizens or Green card holders should reply with Biodata.

My first reponse was what the heck is a Biodata. You would think that these ads would never get responses, but these types of ads were accepted as normal. My own experience with this was to find Punjabi newspaper subscriptions going crazy, they were all over the house. I'd find the matrimonial ad page with big red circles around ridiculous ads (not as bad as above but still) on my desk or on the kitchen island. My response 99% of the time was to ignore them and in the beginning this worked pretty well as it slipped under the father radar, but eventually became a topic of contention between me and my parents, it also led to some serious conversations about what my expectations were and what my father would say reality is and argue how else am I to meet sikh men.

You think reading these ads was bad, at least you got a laugh at someone else's expense but how would you feel if you were one of these posts? It happened one November without my knowledge I was so humilated. I define this as the tipping point of my nightmare.

Jan 31, 2008

The Arranged Introductions

Read the previous two blogs first for the thread to make sense :-)

What followed the typical arranged marriage scenario is that we have progressed to arranged introductions by families/friends, which is still quite prevalent in the communities these days. I personally have been through a couple of these torturous ordeals over the last few years, let me set the scene.

My dad: Uncle so and so, told me about this boy who is from a very good family, is educated and they (his parents) are looking for a girl.
Me: (Unenthusiastically) Yeah.
My dad: I invited them for tea next weekend.
Me: WHAT - but dad I don't know the first thing about him.
My dad: Yes putt (dear) that's why I invited them so you can get to know one another.
Me: Oh My God dad
My dad: Don't OMG me, you are getting older and I have to think of your younger sisters too.
(Major guilt trip)
Me: Fine
My dad: Fine - make sure you wear something nice, and maybe you should go to the gym this week.
Me: (Outraged) What do you mean !! (In my head - Like one week at the gym is going to make a difference, I really should start exercising more)
My dad: You know you've put on a few extra pounds, it wouldn't hurt for you to look your best.
Me: (Mouth gaping, stomping out of the room)

The weekend of the dreaded event rolls around and the entire family, and I mean entire family is busy "getting ready" for our most honorable guests. Cleaning, cooking and prepping. They arrive - the whole tribe (and I mean whole tribe mum, dad, grandparents, siblings, spouses of siblings, kids and the man in question), and I am pushed to the back of our tribe so I'm last to say hello to everyone. I glimpse him, he catches my eye and I just smile thinking - there's no bloody way!! My siblings have the same feelings and as soon as we desert our guests to go and prepare tea in the kitchen they can't help but laugh until tears are rolling down their faces..... so mean !!

Anyway, things with the parents progress nicely, they sit and talk about the old days, and back home and all the people they know, hoping to find more mutual acquaintances. What they do for a living, what their son does, all the while the son just sits there smiling. Tea is served and then my dad makes the dreaded announcement:

My dad: Why don't you two youngsters go and talk amongst yourselves and get to know more of one another.
Me: (Turning bright red) smile.
My dad: (With eyes gestures to my other siblings) Let them go into the living room you should join us here
Me: (Completely deserted.... walk slowly into the living room wishing the couch would just swallow me up)

So a little context about myself - I'm not a vain person or overly obsessed with looks. But, when I sat with Mr. Potential life partner, there were no sparks setting the couch on fire or anything. The conversation was boring and routine and I had no desire to get to know him better. So arranged introductions are better then arranged marriages but usually the people doing the arranging don't have a clue about you. The best part about these introductions is after they've left and your entire family says "So, what do you think?" "Is it a yes".

They're absolutely stark raving mad, if they think you can judge a persons character in a quick 10 minute conversation. As you can tell I'm not a huge fan of meeting a potential this way, it hasn't happened too often thank goodness but when it does it always leaves me feeling so completely lame.

Jan 27, 2008

Arranged Marriages

The old school example of arranged marriage is how my parents met. My grandparents decided together that the match was "suitable" and it was a done deal. My parents met on their wedding day. Apparently, my dad somehow got a sneak peak of my mum before the wedding though and was satisfied ! My mum had no idea, she wasn't too impressed initially though when her dholi was an old bus :-)

Arranged marriages a generation later, different but still shrouded in the same old school mentality, a family friend of ours had a sudo-arranged marriage some 20 years ago, she had no choice in the matter, no contact with her future spouse although she did meet him a couple of times while other family members were present for a few minutes. She was just told when the wedding was and that she was very "lucky" getting such a "good" match.

Back in the day, my grandparents and that generation thought a "good" match was a male from a good family background with similar values and principles as them. How much land they owned in the homeland was also up on the wish list. In some ways its was easier back then, not having to worry about all the issues we face these days in finding a "suitable" match. Arranged marriages worked in the majority of cases and a couple "learned" to love one another after marriage. Even though my parents are complete opposites in nature and personality, they developed a mutual love and respect for one another that got them through some 40 years of matrimony.

What worked well back in the day doesn't work at all these days, maybe its greed, perverseness or sheer evil that stops families from blindly believing what was once assumed goodness in all.

Jan 22, 2008

Sikh N Single

So, I know I'm not alone in discovering that being a single Sikh female in search of a "suitable" match is a complete nightmare. I thought I'd start writing about my experiences and share my ordeals to date and my potential successes in the future.

Having been bought up in the west the traditional Punjabi way, my sister's and I were never "allowed" to date and personally I didn't mind so much when I was younger. But, now that I am an independent woman I wish I had paid more attention to the way my friends found their "life" partners. I'm a good many years old and have never had a serious relationship, not even with a potential boyfriend never mind a life partner. I guess you could call me a late bloomer or a career oriented woman with only one mindset - being professionally independent and successful, but marriage didn't become an "issue" for me until about three years ago.

It was always marriage for me, I didn't accept dates from men I knew I could never marry or potentially marry. I have never been asked out on a date by a single Sikh man and I have never really fancied a Sikh man enough to ask him out. What's wrong with me ?? I'm attractive and intelligent, I can hold a pretty good conversation with a like minded person, I don't flirt very well and am a little shy when I first meet new people, but I'm working on that. So what am I doing wrong? I'm waiting for my prince charming, yes you've heard it all before. I'm waiting to be swept off my feet, romantically wooed, intellectually stimulated and chemically compatible. Is that so bad? My parents would say YES. They argue that I'm at the age where I need to settle down and I argue that I won't settle on a potential match just for the sake of it. So, for the sake of my sanity I've decided to change the way I have been searching for potential suitors and I will chronicle the experiences here.