Dating Rules, I’m talking to this guy...
By: Modern Bhen
October 20, 2014
In the Bohra world, dating can be complicated, to say the least. While marriage is one of the central tenets of our culture (see Modern Bhen’s Guide to Bhori Weddings: A Three Month Journey from Excitement to Exhaustion), finding your Modern Bhai counterpart can be extremely challenging… and due to the persistent idiosyncrasies of our culture, it can also be extremely confusing…
In the Bhori world, nothing is more taboo than the word “dating” …except maybe the word “boyfriend.” Don’t get me wrong; we do technically date… we just don’t call it that. Similarly, much of the lingo surrounding dating in the Bhori world has evolved accordingly, but it can cause confusion in the outside world.
In the regular world, relationships generally progress along these lines:
Boy and Girl meet - the details may vary, but their chance meeting was clearly a fateful occurrence.
Boy asks Girl out - He is hopelessly drawn to her by inexplicable magnetism. (and vice-versa).
Boy and Girl date - Kissing is on the table in this stage.
They meet each other’s Parents - Meeting families and friends cements their relationship
Boy Proposes/Girl Accepts - Boy meticulously plans a romantic leap of faith and proposes to the girl he wants to be with for the rest of his life… (or, let’s be honest, the foreseeable future?)
If you’re Bhori, this progression follows a different course altogether:
TNC Aunty brokers a match between Boy and Girl - Let’s all just admit it, most of us have experienced some variation of this.
Boy emails / Gchats / Facebooks / texts Girl - Awkward conversation ensues. Both parties modify their respective social media/biodata pages to reflect the most favorable version of themselves.
Boy and Girl “talk” via non-committal medium of communication - Relationship has progressed to real-time dialogue. Feels like interviewing for a job but a more rigorous background check.
Boy musters up courage to meet Girl - At some point, in-person evaluation is necessary for progress.
Parental meeting - The real test - hopefully both mothers agree on whether its karmo or kalamro. If so, expect your baat pakki done before maghrib. Kissing is probably still not on the table.
While Bhori relationships might progress to formal commitment much quicker than those in the Western world, despite taking the more convoluted route, there’s nothing quick -- or simple -- about a Bhori “engagement.”
Rishta/Baat Pakki - As mentioned above,this generally happens when the parents are introduced, and if all goes well, it’s confirmed you’re getting married!
Naani Saakar/Mou Mitha - But wait, the Baat Pakki happened so spontaneously, there was no time for the necessary pomp & circumstance. Find yourself a nice jori, because your Modern Bhai is coming with his family, your mom is breaking out her special occasion miniature gold-rimmed sherbaat glasses, and his mom is bringing you new digs for Lailatul Qadr.
Tasmiyat - Formal permission for your relationship is granted, which leads to...
Khushi Jamaan - Friends, family, distant relatives, acquaintances, and random strangers are invited to celebrate your union and impending nuptials in full Bhori form: majlis, matam and an 11-course meal.
Engagement Party - Of course, no engagement is complete without an Engagement reception, just a teaser for the upcoming wedding.
After an exhausting few months of “getting engaged,” you suddenly realize that your Modern Bhai never actually proposed. But then, seriously, after all of the above, what’s the point?