This is the first part of an ongoing series of short stories.
Sharleen was a fine young girl of 18 – a very fine girl indeed. She was the girl next door with her raven hair, porcelain skin and brown limpid pools for eyes, she tried to fit in and be accepted, yet she never really did. She was different. She was lost, and her confusion could only be understood by some or none at all. That’s when she met him. He came and swept her of her feet. Her vision changed – she gained perspective and that’s where her journey began.
Sharleen was born and bred in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. Her family’s roots were planted deep in the city of gardens since centuries. Her conventional upbringing didn’t make it easy for her to be herself in the world they lived in. Her free spirit was entangled in a web of social norms and expectations and she yearned to get out of it. Her love for him changed him and his understanding of her depth transformed her.
She didn’t believe in conventional love stories and Disney-esque fairy tales, she was a realist who knew that being swept off her feet meant that she probably slipped on a wet floor and lost balance. Harib knew all her vulnerabilities and still loved her very much. His demons danced with hers to the rhythm of their love.
Sharleen had a rough childhood, her father cheated on her mother and she faced the consequences. She saw her mother leave, her siblings and father in shambles. She followed her mother to her aunt’s house, clenching her dupatta in her tiny hands, wailing, calling her mom “Amaa! , Amaa! Please take me with you, don’t leave me!” Her mother stayed at the aunt’s for a month and a half and returned home, when her father said that he’s a changed man. The Pakistani society wouldn’t have accepted a divorcee at the time and it would’ve affected Sharleen and her sister; Lamees and brother; Azeem’s futures.
Growing up in all the chaos had it’s effects on Sharleen….Harib would bear witness to it.
To be continued….
Disclaimer: This piece of writing and the one following are fictional, any resemblance to any person is purely coincidental.
Sometimes you’re at a loss of words. You’re not quite sure how to put your thoughts into words. When I started writing this blog, I wasn’t entirely sure whether anyone would read it. I thought to myself, why would anybody want to read my thoughts and reveries? I could never be that interesting even if I tried. (Pun intended)
As a socially awkward silent observer, I thought this blog would liberate me. It would help me evolve, break out of my shell and let the world inside my little bubble and maybe, just maybe somewhere down the lane, someone would acknowledge me and could perhaps relate to me and for once I’d be able to feel that there are others like me – I’m not alone.
I never thought my thoughts could resonate with a handful of individuals but they have and I’m humbled by that. Although my blog isn’t nearly as accomplished/followed as most of the blogs here, every like, every follower, every little share counts and it keeps me going. So thank you! Thank you all of you for making a twenty two year old (almost 23 – 8 more days to go) feel that she belongs, that she’s heard, and most importantly that she is a part of you.
Are you ready to make the sacrifices and take on the responsibilities that come with wedlock?
Does your partner know and understand what your long-term goals are?
Do you and your significant other have the same priorities/ mindset? You have to know if you’re both on the same wavelength.
Do you want to have kids? Clarify when and how many before committing to each other. If both of you are not on the same page, there’s room for potential arguments.
Expect a lot of pain and resentment in the beginning if you’re both equally affectionate. You’re both trying your best, the two of you will try to simmer down for the sake of the other, you’ll try not to hurt the other and yet manage to do so.
The higher expectations you have the more disappointed you’ll get. Lower your expectations so that nothing surprises you.
Don’t expect Disney fairy tales to be true. Your parents’ house would always be the house you grew up in, everyone has a different lifestyle, just know that you have to be flexible in order to be able to adjust in an entirely other setup that is unlike how you lived previously.
You’ll have to have a big heart. You’ll have to learn to let go of hurtful things – harsh reality checks that you wouldn’t want to but would have to let go for the sake of it.
Lastly, you’d have to focus a lot on the positive and discard the negative before it starts to rot and the stench spreads. You’ll have to make the effort to pull yourself and pull through.
Sometimes, it’s hard to even verbalize your thoughts – what you’re truly feeling. Your heart and head are almost never in the same place at the same time.
One moment your heart is thumping real fast, the next it’s a splitting headache – whatever the brain pleases to focus on.
You can’t remotely imagine explaining yourself to people. You’ve tried hard enough already and it’s an uphill battle every time. No one gets it (except the ones who actually suffer from anxiety themselves).
The “society” is cruel. I’m not jumping the gun, passing judgments and saying that everyone’s alike, I’m talking about a major chunk of the “desi” Pakistani/Indian community that treats anxiety ridden individuals like people who need to be treated for major mental disorders and (God Forbid) see shrinks (like that’s a bad thing?!).
Seeing a psychologist/psychiatrist is perfectly normal. There’s nothing wrong with talking things out with someone who’d be able to guide you better and understand your ordeal.
Do not, I repeat, do NOT let the society dictate what and how you should feel. It’s their fault that they fail to comprehend basic human nature – It’s OKAY to not feel good some days. You don’t owe anyone anything.
If you’re married or in a committed relationship and have an understanding partner, that’s a blessing. Talk things out with him/her. Don’t make the mistake of not disclosing your issues to your partner no matter how much your conventional desi mother or your older married cousin-sisters warned you of disclosing your personal details to your husband since it was bound to come haunting you later on in your married life.
You need to surround yourself around individuals who support you and get you through your phases. Avoid negativity at all costs.
Distract. Distract. Distract!. Distract yourself as much as you can from letting your thoughts get to you. Pray and meditate. Exercise, read new books, unwind and just don’t let your mind go into overdrive. Over-thinking is your enemy, you have to win this battle.
Last, but not the least….stay put, stay positive and keep calm. Just remember that it’ll all be fine. God helps those who believe.
How does one express oneself when they don’t have an outlet to blow off steam? How do you express yourself when the walls are closing in on you?. Have you ever been in a situation where you’re not even sure how you feel about the entirety of it – how did you even get there and why?
All those books of the self-help variety should’ve been the least bit “helpful” when they reiterated and underlined the “no regrets in life” extracts. You’re thankful for one thing at one moment and the next, you’re just wondering where you went wrong. Is it wrong to love thyself and perhaps also another – the unforgivable, untouchable, alas! unattainable?
Perhaps modern day Shakespearean tales persist amidst the mundane, and maybe, just maybe some of us will always be misfits who shall for most parts of their lives remain a tad bit crooked to fit the puzzle. Transitioning to new dimensions is as good as your next delusion about the fairytale you imagined would embrace you at the edge of it. If only we could pick and choose our metamorphosis, fight and win these battles for ourselves and not let others decide our fate. In the end we’re just horses running in the race against time and space, ponies charging against the wind, winning battles for the sake of it.
Marriage is one of the most important decisions in life. It’s a decision that has the ability to steer your life in an entirely new direction. It’s so important to be in the right frame of mind before you take the plunge. No matter what anyone says, the decision solely lies with you, you alone. Your parents or any other family member cannot dictate you. Desi families don’t make it easy for their kids to choose a path of their liking, they subliminally imply what they want and pressurise their kids into giving in to their idea of a perfect marriage (Dhol, band, baaja, biryani included). Whatever you do, just make sure you don’t crack under pressure. Here are ten questions you need to ask yourself before you decide that you’re ready for the long haul.
1. Have I lived a fulfilling life?
Ask yourself if you’ve done everything you imagined you would by this age. If you’re too young (18-early twenties) then you may have experienced very little by now. Think this through.
2. Have I reached my personal/professional goals?
Let’s say you’re a complete workaholic who is dedicated to his/her work – so much that its almost an adrenaline rush for you. Do you think you can shift your lifelong priorities and make room for more in such a short span of time? Ask yourself if you’ve reached your full potential.
3. Have I explored my options?
Are you having doubts about your potential life partner? Do you think you need more time to widen your horizon? Are you sure this is the perfect person for you and you’re not just being pressurised into making a commitment?. It’s very important to be able to imagine your whole life with someone, marriage is no joke.
4. Do you feel comfortable with the idea of a lifelong commitment?
Before you say “yes” make sure you’re mentally prepared to take responsibility. When you get married, it’s not just about you, it’s about your family, your spouse and his family. Don’t do something you’ll regret later on in life. It will only make you and the people you love miserable.
5. Do you feel attracted to the guy/girl?
We’ve all heard the phrase “Beauty is only skin deep” but it’s only human nature to look at someone’s external appearance before you judge their personality. No religion denies a person the right to choose their significant other. If you don’t like the person your parents are getting you married to for any given reason, make it a point to address the issue. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT be unfair to someone by pretending to be something you’re not. If you’re not feeling it, then you just aren’t. Let it go.
6. Do you need more time?
Counsel yourself. Self-therapy is key. Marriage is a gamble, there’s no hard and fast rule that applies. If you’re getting married, let the idea gradually sink in. Think about it, don’t panic. Everyone’s afraid of change, specifically those who love their free will a tad too much, and it’s fine. Nobody has the right to judge you for being you. If you’re not prepared to take the step so soon, then give it some time. If you can find your happiness along the way, that’s great, but if you can’t it’s alright. Don’t rush it, if you’re not happy.
7. Do you, and your significant other share the same fundamental values?
The key to a successful married life is clarity in communication. It’s vital to know if you and your significant other shares similar interests, morals and values. You (girls) just can’t be arguing about what you should/can wear and what not after marriage or whether you can get a job or do household chores or not. Make your priorities clear. It’s important to get married to someone who has the same mindset as yours. If you’re somewhat liberal and perhaps she/he isn’t – it could potentially be harmful in the bigger scheme of things. While it’s essential to compromise in any relationship, it’s good to remember to not lose yourself while doing so. If your spouse truly loves and respects you, they’d support and build you at every step of the way rather than bringing you down.
8. Is he/she ready to take the plunge?
In most cases, both the people involved are not at the same wavelength. The families love each other, but the boy and girl don’t. Getting married without contentment diminishes the whole purpose behind it. If the boy or girl isn’t entirely sure of it, or happy with it, they shouldn’t go ahead with it. However, if you’re sure that this is what you want, just make sure that the other person feels the same way too. You owe this much.
Making an informed decision before taking a giant leap in life is very important. If you don’t think things through, you’d not only be unfair to yourself, you’d also be unfair to everyone else associated with the decision. It’s never too late, to stop yourself from a life full of regrets or take a step towards immense happiness by embracing the change. The choice lies within you, choose wisely.
There are instances in life that shake us and break us, they move us to tears but they aren’t in our control. Nothing’s ever what we expect, one moment we’re planning our whole life with someone and the next we’re ending up with someone completely different or not ending up with anyone at all. This is the irony of life – the bitter reality. Some of us live our lives under the shadow of regrets; things we wish we would’ve done when we could’ve, explored new horizons, looked at life through another perspective, truly felt alive.
I’ve always said that love is a subjective term and I still hold the same stance, however, how true is it in terms of loving something to the extent of letting it go when you know it can never truly be yours?
Can a person ever be so selfless as to let the one thing that they loved the most in their life slip away? It can’t be easy. It is not child’s play. Forced circumstances in life lead to drastic measures…measures that inflict never healing wounds and scars that last a lifetime. It’s a tug of war between the head and the heart, between what the heart wants and what the mind dictates. Who wins the battle? Is it even fair play?
Why does the heart always have to bow down in front of rationality and practicality? Can’t the heart want what it wants? Why constrict it? Why even have a heart when all the world asks of you is to listen to your head? It makes no sense.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is a movie that deals with all these questions and the underlying emotions that bind us humans together. Karan Johar is known as the king of romance, and quite honestly, he knows how to get the work done. The plot revolves around themes of heartbreak, betrayal, friendship and the grey complexities that surround relationships. The music is exceptional, Arijit Singh has done a fine job in the romantic numbers.
The cinematography could be improved, however the actors’ phenomenal dialogue delivery makes up for any flaws in direction. Ranbir Kapoor has outdone himself as Ayan, Anushka Sharma was the perfect choice for the role of Alizeh, Aishwariya Rai did fairly well. Fawad Khan’s acting was sub par, he failed to deliver in comparison to Ranbir or Imran Abbas and Shahrukh Khan (who made cameo appearances).
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil has to be Karan Johar’s finest work till date. It’s a tale that moves you, it touches the depths of your heart. The superb dialogue delivery and well constructed script makes this movie worth watching for any die hard romantic. This one’s a real tear jerker, not for the faint of heart.
Let me know what you think of the movie in the comments. 🙂
Thoughts on life, love and everything in between.. transcribed by a self proclaimed bleeding writer.