Wednesday my grandma congratulated me on my older cousin's 'Rishta.'
All I could think was 'Whaaaat?!?!'
I took a minute to think about it... does Rishta mean an offer or an actual engagement?
Rishta literally means 'relationship.' When it comes time to find a spouse, the other family is offering a ristha, a link into the family. The 'proper' way of getting engaged is letting everyone know that you're looking for eligible members in the community for your or someone else's son or daughter. Today's parents usually look toward India as a source of pure, traditional breeding stock. They pack their kids and head to the homeland in search of the 'right' one. This process utilizes the extensive Indian networking and interview system (post to come). All the juicy details about the possible match's socioeconomic status, family history, etc are laid out. They are quite often accompanied by pictures passing hands for judgment.
The old school way is to have the boy's family come over to the girl's house, no matter who approached whom first. The kids talk a bit in front of the parents over cha and decide if they want to meet a few more times or not.
If the couple agrees, the engagement and ring ceremony follow. Typically the ring ceremony preludes the wedding by six months to a year. The engagement cements the beginning of the rishta.
FB statuses and pictures confirmed the facts. My cousin was there a week before she was engaged. In retrospect the engagement was inevitable, an Indian girl hitting 25, single, not on a career path... of course there would be a wedding dhols on the horizon!
I'm excited for new Punjabi suits! And matching jewelery of course. :D