When Random Uncles & Aunties Give You Useless Sanskaari Advice As Soon As You Get Engaged

Getting engaged to my boyfriend meant that we got tons of unwanted advice from aunties and uncles and their neighbours...

Getting engaged to my boyfriend meant that we got tons of unwanted advice from aunties and uncles and their neighbours…

I got engaged to my partner in May, and had planned to get married by the end of 2020. Like many others, our wedding had to be postponed due to COVID-19. It was a difficult choice we had to make but we couldn’t imagine getting married without our family and friends (who live overseas and can’t travel due to border restrictions).

Although we’ve been best friends for a long time, getting engaged has changed our dynamic slightly – not because of how we treat each other but due to unrealistic expectations imposed on us by parents, relatives and family friends. Nearly all of them have had to say something about how we should spend time during this period.

My partner and I are still as goofy as before, but we’ve had to sit down for some serious discussions. All because of the unwarranted ‘advice’ we’ve received from aunties, uncles, neighbours, friends, people at the Gurdwara, people that we only see once a year, people who don’t even know who we are, you get my point.

There are slight differences in the “advice” I’ve received and the comments that my partner has had to hear/refute (he’s an angel).

Here are the kind of things I’ve had to listen to.

Cooking, the way to a man’s heart?

Use this time to learn how to cook – it will come in handy because you’ll have to do it for your husband one day.

Thanks for the great advice, Shamita Aunty. I really appreciate it. Maybe I WILL learn how to cook.

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Not because I’ll have to cook for my husband but maybe because it’s an essential life skill? Or, MAYBE I don’t need to learn because my partner loves cooking and has volunteered to be in charge of this chore (he calls it therapeutic, I don’t understand why someone finds joy in stirring a spoon in a pan every few minutes). I can make Maggi though. I’ll survive. But thanks again, aunty! Thanks for telling me that a woman’s place is in the kitchen after marriage.

‘When you have your family’

You should work as much as you can now because things are going to be difficult after you have a family.

Firstly, I already have a family. My parents and brother are my family. My fiancé and I are a family. My friends and I are a family. My future in-laws and I are a family.

Are you telling me that I’ll only have a family once I reproduce tiny versions of myself and my fiancé? Can we please stop assuming that all women want to have children and that their purpose in life will only be fulfilled once they “contribute to society by bearing children”.

This world is overpopulated already. Countries not being able to control the pandemic are clear evidence of this. Take your advice to the 1800s. But seriously, all respect to women who have and want to have children. You’re all superheroes!

‘Arre he’s still studying!’

Are you okay with your partner still studying?

Yes, yes I am. I’m so proud of him for undertaking a Bachelor’s degree whilst managing his part-time business. Similarly, he’s super proud of me and celebrates my work achievements every chance he gets.

Yes, he’s 25 and still completing his undergraduate degree. No, it doesn’t bother me because everyone’s timeline to accomplish milestones (education or otherwise) is unique to them. Life is not a race.

‘You’ve gained weight during COVID’

Chalo, it’s good that you’re not getting married now because you have time to lose weight until your wedding.

Hoooooold up! My parents and fiancé are ecstatic that I’ve finally gained weight after being underweight for so long. No, I’m not going to lose weight because I’m finally healthy and am proud of the strength I’ve gained through deadlifts and squats at the gym.

Things my fiancé has had to listen to.

‘She’ll take care of your needs’

Koi na, she’ll do the cooking when you get married. You won’t have to do this anymore.

I know he doesn’t have to. We can both afford take-away every night if we wanted to but he LOVES cooking and WANTS to do it.

He currently uses me as a taste-tester for all his new recipes, both masterpieces and disasters (sorry boo), and I know he’ll continue this for the rest of our lives. Can we please let men enjoy cooking?

‘Who wears the pants?’

She’s such a feminist. Are you okay with this?  

My fiancé is a feminist. Thank you, next.

‘Things will change after marriage’

Enjoy your life now. Everything’s going to change once you get married.

Of course, it’s going to change. We’re going to have even more fun than we do now. We’d be going on spontaneous road trips, hikes, and dinners. Currently, we have to schedule all these by comparing our calendars and waiting for a public holiday.

I know, I’m lucky to have had the unconditional support of my fiancé. But a part of me is angry, frustrated and scared. Scared of what people will say once we do get married. I’m thinking of printing this list and showing it to aunties, uncles and everyone I meet before they’re able to have a conversation with me. I want to title it, “Questions you can’t ask me”.

Image source: a still from the series What The Folks

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