Missing Desi matchmaking stories filled with Rishta aunties & marital stories? Rehana Alam has penned down the perfect novel for you!
“Finding A Husband Is Never Easy”The caption says it all in desi matchmaking.
Does your family also want to hitch you onto the arranged marriage bandwagon? Does your mom also have a matchmaking aunty as her friend, whom she refers to as “Rishta Aunty?” Do you also find yourself being introduced to strangers randomly by your parents? If you answer yes to any of the above, then we have the perfect novel for you to find humour in the situations you face daily regarding matchmaking in a desi household!
“Soon you will be running your own homes and neither one of you knows how to fry an egg!”Annie Aunty to Amna and Ghazala – The Tea Trolley.
“Take it from me, it is shit to be left on the shelf when all your friends are getting married.”Azra Khala from The Tea Trolley.
The Tea Trolley is the first-ever novel by the author Rehana Alam and, it was published on October 7, 2017, by Outskirts Press. The book reflects the ever present desi culture of matchmaking in Karachi in 1979. The story revolves around 18-year old Amna (who is keen to study) and her family (who are determined to find a perfect suitor for Amna). Who will win the marital challenge? That is the question!
The story is about an extraordinary 18-year old girl Amna with big dreams to study abroad and build a successful career – Many of us might share Amna’s goals (and her very desi challenges), hence, the story is very relatable!
“I sat silently and daydreamed not of Dubai but of a verdant English University, full of quadrangles, where I would be engaged in lofty discourse with world renowned professors.”Amna from The tea Trolley.
Amna has reached a marriageable age as per her family but, she wants to continue her studies and become independent. Amna’s family is a well-settled family of Karachi but, their idea of marriage and marital goals still abides by the age-old desi practices. All the desi (nosy) relatives take it as their moral and social responsibility to get involved in finding the perfect suitor for Amna because after all, without them, how can a marriage (any marriage, in fact), take place in a desi household?
About the Story
The story relates to Rishta problems faced by young girls in our society and how their mothers showcase them like a bouquet in front of the suitor and his family – quite an awkward that, don’t you think so?!
“Let’s go through your clothes and choose what looks good on you. Then you can wear one of those outfits when someone comes to see you. As for your hair. I think pinning it away from your face suits you best.”Amna’s mother advises her in The Tea Trolley.
The stereotypical matchmaking routine is launched and Amna is pressurized into meeting strange men and their families who are entitled to judge her in all possible ways through one meeting. While Amna was planning to travel abroad for her higher education, the game of being refused and rejecting others was taking place in parallel. Almost every day her relatives, would pay a visit and inculcate added stress & fear with marital stories of success but, ignoring all, Amna stayed focused towards her studies.
Rehana has displayed a strong and loving father-daughter bond that we see in our desi educated families – pretty much the same understanding and affection most of us share with our fathers!
“There is plenty of time to get married. Marriage does not have to become your sole aim, specially now when things are in flux. Don’t worry your head about anything. Ammi and I will talk things over. Now go and study.”Amna’s dad to Amna from The Tea Trolley.
All characters are portrayed with a realness and the perfect touch of desiness to be relatable with our family and relatives. Moreover, the novel is empowering towards young people and their desires to achieve higher goals and dreams. Rehana Alam has done an exceptional job discussing the toxic taboo topic of desi matchmaking and arranged marriages in our society that is still very prevalent in all circles, regardless of class or background.
We have a goodreads Review for you from Sugandh Wafai:
The language was easy to read and it just flowed. The story though set in 1979, can completely represent the current scenarios in Pakistani society when it comes to arranged marriages. The end left me wanting more. I think there should be a smallish squeal to see what happened to the protagonist.Sugandh Wafai – goodreads
A question to ask ourselves
Is matchmaking really all that bad? Can we transform the practice to a more modern, updated version to reflect current marital obligations & times, or do away with it altogether? What works and what doesn’t in desi matchmaking?
About the Author
Rehana Alam is an outstanding storyteller and remarkable author. She is a born Karachite but has traveled around the world with her spouse. Rehana is a graduate of St. Josephs school and college Karachi. Rehana started her journey as a writer as a columnist in the newspapers and magazines of Karachi. She continued her passion in all the other countries by writing for their English Language publications.
Mrs. Funnybones-A Daily Twinkle Khanna Journal which gives you funny moments to laugh out loud!
Gonna read this novel soon!!