‘So you aren’t marrying any time soon?‘, one of my aunts asked quite perplexed. Studying my face closely for answers, trying to decipher any hidden secrets my expressions might give away that she was sure I was not telling her. ‘I will. Eventually. Don’t think I am in right position to marry yet. And quite frankly don’t think I have met a person to make a husband.’ Her eyes became huge as if they would pop out soon and she said, ‘You are a doctor in UK! You make 4 lakh a month on your salary. You are getting old. Of course you are in the position to marry. What? What are you saying? There are but men everywhere to be married. Look at you. Who will say no to you?‘. ‘Aunty. Stop it’, I replied laughing, a little shy, but feeling somewhat boosted in my ego. ‘We will find a handsome Nepalese man for you. Within our ethnicity. Khas(Native Nepalese) speakers don’t understand value of our families and communities’. ‘There we go again’, I said in my head, ‘the same thing I talk with my Mom over and over’. Its good enough I am agreeing to marry Nepalese, why go hunting deeper into a pond of only few available eligible choices right? 😉
I have many cousins and friends travelling to Nepal to marry into their ethnicities. Surprisingly most that I know, brought up and raised in UK also married within the same or similar characteristics. Primary reasoning factor being, trust therefore the security it came with but also they felt, partnership was much better built on foundation where they both knew what there backgrounds were. Aunts and cousins play big role being matchmakers in asian communities. Love stories are great, but modern arrange marriages are topping the competitions for fulfilling marriages; thanks to them! Bless my aunts they are keen but here is glitch, I have a british citizenship.
Let me explain. Undoubtedly there is a big hype of wanting to live in the western developed nations in Asia. There is a myth that as soon as you enter the country, you become rich! Of course there is conversion factor of pound to Nepalese equivalent that plays a role. And ‘yes’ UK is better in infrastructure, and facilities but the mindset of Nepalese community is such that, they put these countries at high pedestal. And only goals most of youngsters and working population of our generation is focused is on finding a gate away from there. So I can’t be sure if a guy I am choosing to be with is, with me because of my merits or because he wants the citizenship? If he is compatible, honourable, trustworthy, hardworking that is fine. As his partner I will help him learn the ways, but I have heard stories from my cousins or cousin’s friends (you know how it goes) that some of these men they married were lazy, egoistic and refused to work when their bachelor’s degree on specific fields were not recognised by the UK. Stating they will not be working minimum wage job and it was humiliating for them; whilst boasting to his friends back home his wife owns a house in the UK. He selectively chooses not to believe there is mortgage she is paying and will be paying for 19/20 years. Meanwhile he doesn’t mind depending on her fully to support him. Worst story I have heard so far was, a woman falling in love with this amazing guy with a great personality who was always well dressed with smart attire, full shirt and full pants. Only to realise after marriage, he was an IV drug user with needle marks everywhere who eventually died of heroin overdose, here. Mom has had enough of these stories of men. For someone who is insisting, I am running out of my choices, she seemed glad to see me in one person with no one’s arm around me, following my trip to Nepal.
Similar story was other way around. Although to much lesser extent in numbers. With wives of my related cousins and friends. Women were being brainwashed by sudden exposure to these huge influences on medias, all sorts of information overload; eventually causing them to break away from her family & personal commitments and leaving their partner with children, eloping with their lovers. For some reason, my mom seems super conscious of the inevitabilty of the second one , therefore is actively looking for a suitable Nepalese woman ‘here’ in UK for arrange marriage for both of my brothers. Good luck finding that! I guess it is a hard pill to swallow, if you think about it. When you actively seek the person, travel overseas to bring them to you, to make them a part of your life and then to feel betrayed.
There have been worse circumstances including kidnapping, forgery and scamming people to obtain the blue pass. Some so traumatic that I am unable to write the detail here. It would baffle anyone with a good heart to know, people will go to any length to take advantage of others. So yes, in a way holding the british citizenship makes me eligible and ineligible at the same time in the community overseas. Don’t get me wrong, there are men and women out there more qualified than me, good individuals who are also looking for right life partners. But one needs to be aware of these situations, than to regret later. Our concerns comes from situations that has happened to our own.
My mother used to say, in some villages, in her times, women would trap the gurkha men in the room with themselves in purpose to later claim they have been violated therefore he needs to marry her. The events happened in masses when the men came back to their homes for holidays. And some women didnot care that they were already married or had children. It was sort of ‘a mad hype’ as mom stated, as gurkha men were considered very eligible bachelors and, most of theses women wanted their way out to the west. On finishing her tale, mom looked at us and said, ‘You are tickets out for some men out there. Be careful’.
I did introduce my Italian ex to my parents. Yes I’d say 5-6 months was too soon. But he was certainly cheeky with it, got me in a position where I had to breech the topic of me dating him. And second, after my previous relationship, I felt, maybe I did take too long time to introduce Joey. I have now broken up with him but when one of my parents asks ‘how is he doing?‘. I can’t help but to reply ‘Yeah. All good’. They wouldn’t believe if I said, ‘we have moved on’. ‘That’s what we talked about dating men of the west’ mom would have said and rolled her eyes at me.
I don’t know if it is really a thing, but I have picked up on social medias that men in USA and European countries now are going to asian countries to bring back home a wife/partner from those countries. I guess in asian communities, we were raised in a very closely knitted family values so ultimately, culturally and socially we are programmed to choose men who have that readiness and values we are looking for to have our own starts. Asian men we know in most instances came from those setups. When western men show up and express those commitment in genuine ways, it wouldn’t be surprise for women to accept them as potential suitors as well. I don’t know what the verdict on it is, but having seen the both ends, I will tell you this, ‘an asian woman, especially her friends and family, will have lot of reservations and resistance to just pick a bag, leave a country and marry a man of the west. Until and unless of course she knows him a lot better and is willing to take a chance. A big chance‘. You could be a trafficker, for god sake! Take for instance, my friends absolutely admired Joey. He was amazing person but on every chance they get, being the family they are to me, with 100% good intention they would still always ask me ‘are you sure?’. And we were together for 3 years! As much as I believe, world is a free ticket and you are allowed to marry where you find love. Please do not forget you need to be a man or woman of high value yourself to expect a man or woman of high value. I won’t lie to you. ‘Yes’ the perception is ‘because they could not find the right partners in their countries’. Same for me, when I am choosing to go back and be arranged in Nepal. People will have perceptions of all sorts. It may sound negative but it is true to an extent. It doesn’t mean there are no high values partners in the west, maybe you haven’t met one. You felt there are more chances and you took the chances, you did the right thing for you. Only thing to suggest is, do evaluate, spend some time, find out ‘does your potential partner have the virtues you are looking for or have they got more ulterior motives?’ before you fly them over across the continent. God bless, you have found your right match and a wholesome partner for life.
One of my Nepalese colleague from a different department approached me at my work one time and asked, ‘You are still single right doctor?’ . ‘No. I am seeing someone’. ‘Nepalese?’ she then asked. ‘English‘.I answered. ‘Married?’she questioned. ‘No’, I replied. ‘Great!’, she suddenly then gleamed excitedly and said to me, ‘Would you be interested in my brother. I will give you his number’. ‘But I am already on a relationship’, I stuttered. ‘Yes. But he is white. It won’t last’.
I wonder, if my Asian mom and friends have been watching too much of James Bond movies? Candy eyes and a player. And they think all men in the west or any other countries apart from ours are like that. Or whether there is a secret message, they want me to decipher without having to tell me. My parents were fine with my ex, I would go as far as to say, they like him enough to ask about him. But looking at how chill Mom has been, all about it, I have been wondering whether she believes she knows the eventual outcome, which is ‘it really doesn’t matter?’. It is hard enough to be judged in a stereotypical way, ‘you are asian, why are you not choosing our kind?’. But to be met with a silent stare and tight pursed lips that shouts, ‘I told you so,’ is again whole another thing. Honestly, there is no winning. Welcome to life on single immigrant woman in thirties!