Six months ago, my mother called me around 12 AM. I didnâ€™t pick up. I never pick up my motherâ€™s phone calls the first time around. I wait for her to leave me a ridiculous voice mail and then I decide whether I even want to address the situation.
I listened to the voicemail and it went a little like this: â€œBeta, I had a dream that you were running into the night wearing a pink nightie. There was a serpent chasing you. Call me back, itâ€™s important.â€
â€œWhat is a nightie?â€ I thought to myselfâ€¦and then I resumed with my life.
The very next day she called me again. This time I picked up.
â€œHi mom,â€ I said.
â€œDid you get my phone message?â€ she demanded in a thick Indian accent. It is strange how nothing about my motherâ€™s accent has changed in the thirty years she has lived in America. Sometimes, I wonder if she is purposely preserving her accent to remain authentic.
â€œYes I did, thank you,â€ I answered automatically, not even realizing which message she was referring to. My mother leaves me 10 to 15 messages regularly, so itâ€™s tough to keep track.
â€œWhat thank you? Did you even listen to it?â€
â€œOh â€¦err, yes, what was the dream about?â€ I exclaimed.
â€œYou have to get married.” she answered, very matter-of-factly.
â€œGet married!â€ she yelled. I heard the TV in the background; she was watching one of those Indian TV serials. I blame them partially for her erratic behavior.
â€œOk mom, Iâ€™ll get right on that,â€ I replied apologetically, as if it was my fault that I wasnâ€™t married. As if I hadnâ€™t rolled the dice with every eligible bachelor in the Tri-state area.
â€œThis is serious. Subhash Uncleâ€™s daughter, she is your age and has two children.â€ she responded. Oh good oleâ€™ Subhash Uncleâ€™s daughterâ€¦with her domestic existence, she never finished college, but according to Auntie Nation, she has won the game of life and I am failing.
â€œTell her, â€˜Congratulations on the stretch marks!â€™ on my behalf,â€ I replied, chuckling to myself. â€œIâ€™ll call you later mom, I am at work.â€
â€œDonâ€™t try to change the subjâ€”” I cut her off and put the phone down.
This is just a small, isolated example of the daily marriage assaults I get – not proposals, assaults. I get assaulted with questions and comments as to why I am not married. And Iâ€™m not the only one. If you are a South Asian woman, the day you turn 23 years old, the chase is on.
So why am I single? Why am I not married, you ask? Itâ€™s simply because things have changed greatly since the day of my motherâ€™s romantic arranged marriage to my father. I am a 25-year-old, smart, successful woman. I have a masterâ€™s degree and a ton of disposable income, and I have choices.
I chose to hunt for the perfect guy – the guy who fits all my criteria for an ideal life partner. I planned to spend the summer looking for him. I decided to date like I have never dated before; I decided I was going to find him (if he exists). And I decided that while I went on these dates, reader, I would fill you in on what the desi dating pool is like.
I have a lot of girlfriends who took this journey before me and came back empty handed and disheartened. No offense to them, but I think they did three crucial things wrong:
1. They fell for the first guy who charmed them; they didnâ€™t really date. They just met one man and stuck to him like glue.
2. They didnâ€™t play hard to get. Men love a good chase. Women get so excited about getting familiar that they forget to keep men on their toes.
3. They didnâ€™t have fun. Dating should be fun! You canâ€™t take it too seriously or itâ€™ll destroy you.
Wish me luck!
Read the Chronicles of a Brown Girl Series