Pakistan woman creates arranged marriage boardgame
Islamabad: Growing up Nashra Balagamwala was under increasing pressure to settle into an an arranged marriage. But she was against the idea. Now a 24-year-old, the Pakistani woman has created a new board game aptly called ‘Arranged!’ in an attempt to escape her own arranged marriage.
“I couldn’t accept the fact that I’d have to spend the rest of my life with someone I’ve only known for a couple of weeks, and someone that was chosen for me based off his wealth, social status and other superficial factors,” Ms Balagamwala told Broadly.
She fled to New York to study at Rhode Island School of Design and worked at Hasbro games. There she began working on a board game. She was inspired by her own struggle to avoid an arranged marriage and the experiences of friends who had been forced into marriages with people they barely knew. “I took examples from the numerous things I’ve done to get out of an arranged marriage myself... such as talking about pursuing a career, wearing fake engagement rings, having male friends, or getting a tan,” she said.
In Arranged!, players must do try and avoid the matchmaker “rishta aunty”, played by another player. Each player draws cards at random with instructions like “you want to pursue a career… move four steps”, the Express Tribune reported.
If the players land on the same tile as the aunty then they face the risk of being married off. However, a player can also choose to marry a man of her choice but the chances of that happening are pretty slim. “I wanted it to be an accurate reflection of Pakistani culture,” Ms Balagamwala explained.
The 24-year-old said the feedback has been heartening. “People from all over the world have reached out to help with my visa and living situation and provide moral support. I’ve had many Pakistani girls reach out to thank me for finally speaking up.”
“I’ve spoken up about a topic that Pakistanis are uncomfortable with, and now I’m no longer the perfect submissive bride they’re looking for!” she told Broadly.