One of the many shackles of our society is the concept of arranged marriage, which is a fear and constant struggle almost every girl faces. While most girls either put up a strong resistance or give in to family pressure, Experiential Designer Nashra Balagamwala came up with a new way to tackle the problem!
Nashra designed a board game inspired by the bizarre events in our culture related to arranged marriages; called Arranged! it is a 3-4 player game. It includes the character of a rishta aunty and prospective suitable girls, and requires the girls to get away from the aunty by picking up cards from a deck. The cards have fun characteristics like ‘your roti isn’t round!’ or ‘seen in mall with boys,’ which are very much relatable in our culture, and hence help you move further from the aunty in the game.
The designer is based in America, and has been featured by BBC, The Guardian and other notable media outlets because of her game. We asked Nashra what her family feels about her newly found fame.
“Initially they were all like wow humari beti Guardian/BBC mein ayi hai (our daughter has been featured in Guardian/BBC)!” Nashra told us with a hearty laugh. But soon after, ‘society’ worked its magic and people started questioning her stance on the arrange marriage scenario, labeling her as unsuitable for arrange marriage!
However, Nashra gladly admits that arrange marriage is not part of her plan, and she has managed to change the way her family thinks too. However in Pakistan with individuality comes the fear of so much more. “They have told me I shouldn’t do TV interviews and such stuff in Pakistan, seeing the way things are here.”
Nashra tells us a lot of the inspirations in the game come from personal and cultural experiences. “I feel that the arrange marriage concept and many other problems in society come from lack of education, which is why I’m manufacturing the game in Pakistan so it can help our economy. I will also be donating a large chunk of my earnings to TCF,” Nashra informed us. The designer also told us how everyone who heard of the game in the West was surprised to know how arrange marriage is seen as such a big deal in Pakistan.
Nashra is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and previously worked at Hasbro Inc, which is known for their popular games like Jenga and Monopoly. Her game is currently available on Kickstarter.