In a wealthy suburb of Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, a group of young Pakistanis swayed between laughter and sadness, playing a board game that responded in a fun and painful way
The game name is arranged with the goal of avoiding arranged marriages at all costs --
And the matchmaker who set them up.
She is called Aunt Rishta, slang in Urdu and some kind of intermediate word in Hindi
Older, nosy matchmaker, knows all single men and women well.
In order not to be mastered by her in the game, you draw cards that tell you how much space to move.
If you get a card that tells you to take shameful action according to conservative standards in South Asia, it's a good thing.
Because that would break the deal.
"You are in the contraceptive passage in the pharmacy!
Run before someone sees you! " reads Ahmed.
Because it is traditionally believed that women should not have sex before they get married, buying contraceptive products will definitely allow you to enter the matchmaker's "mismatch" list.
"Auntie moved five spaces away from you," Ahmed continued . ". "Thank God.
"The inventor of the game is the 24-year-old Nashra Balagamwala, who studied game design at Rhode Island School of Design.
One night she began to list how she could ease the pressure on the match maker to meet a man.
She tried to make herself unqualified.
She wore a fake wedding ring.
She pretended to have a boyfriend.
She was tanned in a country with pale skin.
"I was like this at the time. my life has always been fighting to escape the matchmaker!
Balagamwala said with a smile.
Then she had a eureka moment: "I turned it into an easy game to escape the matchmaker!
Yes, it's easy and enjoyable.
But the arrangement of the board game is also very interesting because it breaks the tradition of arranged marriage in South Asia.
In Pakistan, marriage candidates are traditionally proposed by parents.
Their children should agree.
The ideal woman is young, pale, slim, Meek, educated, rich
From a good family.
An ideal person has an M. B. A.
And foreign passports.
Marriage brings families together, not just individuals.
Feminist writer Bina Shah said that for most women, "the ubiquitous expectation in their lives is that they will get married when they are young enough to start having children . ".
Even if women don't want to do so, "The way we grow up makes us feel obligated to our parents," Shah said . ".
"It's emotional blackmail: You want me to have a heart attack!
What will the family say?
"In the game, while some cards help players escape Aunt Rishta, other cards force them to approach her by making them meet South Asia's criteria for becoming a good wife.
Each playereven the guys —
A potential bride.
Another player named Rabia wrote: "your bread is very round . " He refers to the staple food of Pakistani food-homemade flatbread.
A smiling round cardboard image on the game board --
Close to six spaces. "Oh God!
Rabia cried and was obviously upset.
On bal, Balagamwala raised $21,788 --
Well over the $6,000 she wants.
It was enough for her to start making the game.
It will be listed in Pakistan in December.
Balagamwala received an unexpected award.
When the game made its debut, she said with a smile, "I was basically the least qualified woman.
Now I can get married to the person I want!
"What will aunt Rishta say about all this?
For 36 years, Montaz Quiles has arranged a marriage for the rich and the powerful.
The last day, in her apartment, two women named her work answered four black landlines and buzzing mobile phones.
They often read the binder.
A simple title is "doctor ".
Another title is "overage"
This means women over the age of 30.
They filled out the detailed application form and asked for too many details: education. Province. Religious sect. Caste. Employment. Phone number.
Marital status: single, divorced or widowed. Father's job. Siblings. Address.
Qureishi filled out this section himself and scored women A, B, C
A is white.
"The skin is fair," she said . "
"Tall, slim and smart," she said . "
She said the mother of the future is like this. in-
Law wants a bride-
They usually pick women for their son.
But there is a broader, quieter shift in this conservative country.
Naeema Saeed, a sociology professor at the University of Karachi, said that about half of marriages in urban areas of Pakistan are no longer traditional.
She told them to "arrange"plus-love.
"Her research shows that the current trend is to meet men and women before they get married.
Then the man asked his parents to arrange the match.
It is not entirely traditional recognition of tradition.
This new approach reflects a society in which social media connects people and women learn and work with men.
Women are making their own money and giving them the ability to make more independent decisions, she said.
Shah, a feminist writer, said it was a calm negotiation, not a dramatic change.
"In Pakistan, our obstacle is not to break the obstacle, but to bypass it.
"Even an aunt Risha couldn't resist the trend.
There are family wedding photos on the walls of Qureishi's office.
She pointed to her son and was beaming around his wife.
He picked his bride.
His mother is out of work.