While “Shaadi Kab Kar Rahe Ho?” is a very popular question (right after “Beta kaunsi stream li?”) in South Asian Households, as avoidable as the question is this experiential designer is taking a fun detour to discuss the ordeal of arrange marriages.
A Rhode Island School of Design graduate, Nashra Balgamwala is a game nerd who reconstructs the various controversial yet sensitive cultural topics into unique and satirical games, designs and illustrations. As it said what’s bad for your heart is good for your art, Using inspiration from her own journey and experience, Nashra created “Arranged!” – a board game that involves three teenage girls coming up with creative ways to dodge and avoid the Rishta aunty (a tireless matchmaker and a character that prevails in every South Asian Family).
While the game starts with Rishta Aunty and her ultimate goal to find the perfect match for the three female protagonists of the game by picking up cards that describe the traits of a good housewife, they try to dodge her by engaging in various activities that are often shunned and seen disgraceful in our Culture. The game takes a dramatic shift when the Golden Boy (a green-eyed CEO often with a Greencard) comes across and the dodging turns into a chase to get married to the dreamy Golden Boy. While the characters dodge Rishta Aunty by picking up a deck of cards like “talking about having a career”, “gaining weight” or “being seen in the mall with boys”, with the entry of the Golden Boy the girls make their way towards Aunty by flaunting talents following just the opposite endeavor they followed earlier. With only one ending up with the Golden Boy, the other two are arranged to other boys.
With the aim to help and support small businesses, the entire game was printed and manufactured by in Pakistan. Although it’s a small step towards a much larger conversation, Nashra decided if the project reaches $9,000 on Kickstarter she would donate a percentage of the proceeds towards children’s education in Pakistan with the hope to provide girls with education and independence. Although the game might not change the way South Asian cultures look at arranged marriage, it would surely give the girls a creative and fun way to dodge from the clutches of Rishta aunties on the perfect housewife prowl.