I’ve always been of the opinion that women should have the free will to exercise their rights and be as they please. I feel that the Pakistani (desi) society puts too much pressure on us women to be a certain way and act a certain way. Why is it a woman’s responsibility to follow social norms and be the way others want her to be? Nobody has the right to make anyone feel that way, absolutely no one can force you practice something you don’t believe in.
The irony of the matter is that although I’ve constantly spoken/written about social issues and how inequality on emotional/physical level gets in the way of women in this society, I myself have gotten tangled in it. I’m not saying it’s unpleasant to be married, it’s a wonderful transition, but the laws and unwritten, unsaid bylaws that come attached to it are heavy, and I’m afraid that if you’re not prepared to accept them and (sacrifice) literally sacrifice all your free will, you shouldn’t even consider the idea of marriage.
It can get suffocating to say the least. You shouldn’t be expected to follow another set of religious beliefs and leave the ones you’ve had for the past twenty something years. Although, no one ever says that you have to leave your prior religious beliefs it is implied that you have to carry them forth in the family and extended family gatherings. It’s just a confusing and sad state to be in. It also tends to take a toll on your health at times because you probably didn’t expect any of this and were extremely misinformed by your kith and kin.
You were probably one of those laid back easy going women who had her life chalked out, you were excelling academically, you had a job, and wanted to pursue it later on. You had no intentions of settling down, but your father or mother emotionally blackmailed your vulnerable confused fresh out college self into getting committed by saying “shaadi k baad ker lena” (Do everything you’ve ever wanted after marriage). That my friends is a huge lie in your face and never ever fall for that. You were so messed up and confused in the head that you actually believed that you were weak and fragile enough to settle down for less and depend on someone for the rest of your life. As soon as you’re married, you’re going to be pestered about when you’re going to have children. Things will keep getting more and more messed up. Before you get engaged or married, please make sure the person involved in the whole process hasn’t lied to you about the boy/girl or their families and mindsets, because believe me, going into a different mindset can be painful and upsetting on both ends. You can’t live liberally in a conservative mindset, and don’t expect these partriarchal societal norms to change for one mere woman, they won’t. A woman in this society is just made to be objectified or made the target of the entire family’s mockery/grudgery if she doesn’t match up to their closeminded standards of chastity (read sharafat). If she even sneezes like a man or God forbid has opinions like a man she has no place in a family like that, and of course, the whole stigma of divorce lingers on in minds and lives carry on, unhappy and discontent…
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.
“I don’t want you to this.” “I don’t want to do this.” There’s a massive difference between the two. The former is an imposition of your beliefs on someone else, the latter addresses you. We humans have the innate ability to take ownership – we want ownership. We want to call something or someone ours, we want to put labels on what’s ‘ours’ and what’s ‘theirs’.
How would we survive otherwise? God forbid! if you’d ever have to be seen sitting alone, basking in the solitude. What would all of them think? The society? You can’t possibly be seen reading a book with earphones in your ears, away from all forms of social interaction.
Those people you call your friends wouldn’t associate with you now would they? The group of four or five that you fostered for the last couple of years, went out of your way for in the most literal sense and bended over backwards if all else failed, would disown you if you ever indulged in antisocial behaviour.
Hey, it couldn’t possibly be that you enjoy your own company or could it? That you wish to disassociate for some time, unwind. You’re not the kind to break off ties on the basis of mood swings, you’re just finding solace in yourself. You’re keeping to yourself, doing your own thing.
You’re looking at things from a fresh perspective and have realised that you don’t need to wear a tag around your neck to have a sense of belonging and neither do you wish to add tags to your prized possessions to claim ownership.
What’s yours will remain yours, without the tags and labels, and what isn’t will never be no matter how hard you try. The only way you can truly be at ease is when you’re happy by yourself. It’s unfortunate that there are times when people find it intimidating, they take it as a blow to their egos that a person is perfectly capable of standing alone.
Some individuals just don’t need the big social circles and mindless babble around them to survive, they can do it without any of it or just with a few likeminded individuals whom they know would be there – no strings attached.
I’m on my bed, Michael Bublè playing on my laptop, the sound of Call Me Irresponsible matching my thoughts, and my thoughts are somewhere amidst fireworks in the sky. I saw the most amazing display of fireworks on the weekend after 4th of July, at Long Beach, NY, as mentioned in my earlier post, I’m in New York these days, physically present here but my mind is scattered in a million places..one of them being Pakistan (more on that later). So..coming back to the point (note to self: must focus on not getting distracted!! Damn it!) Those fireworks were absolutely mesmerizing, they were the sort that made you get lost in their beauty, and I’ve seen plenty of firework displays in my years of 4th of July celebrations in America or on wedding ceremonies and the like.
Fireworks are the perfect example of living in the moment. They shoot up, light up the sky and then burn up in the atmosphere. They literally burn up just to bring about a few smiles. It’s like they’re mouthing the lyrics to John Mayer’s – In Your Atmosphere…”I’d burn up in your atmosphere”. Have you ever wanted to be a part of a shooting star? A firecracker? Has the thought ever occurred to you? What if we could be like those fireworks? What if I could be like those fireworks, buzzing neon lighting up the whole sky? What if I could be one of those billions of light particles?. As I sat down on one of the benches at Long Beach, I put my earplugs in, played my favorite playlist and got lost in my little reveries, while staring at the deep, raven sea that stretched ahead of me.
Sometimes, the best thing that you can do for yourself is to shut your mind and unwind. You need some time off even from yourself. Just switch off your day-to-day thoughts, and give yourself a brief mental break. Don’t think of anything. Let it go, be free. I personally feel that this is one of the most precious gifts anyone could give to them self. I tend to do that and it tends to give me a lot of peace. My mind is a complex place (no it doesn’t have a hamster running on a wheel) that likes to wander off in its own depths, it likes to explore the numerous chimeras it has created within. The little things in life that give me big happiness, it’s the raw intensity of moments that take my breath away and leave me enchanted. I look at neon signs and fireworks and wish to get lost in a surreal world of my own, I wish to buzz like neon one moment, and the next..disappear. I get captivated by little things and make a big picture out of them. I wish to turn a mirage into reality…
The first time I had these ooey gooey delights was when I went to Newcastle Upon Tyne with my family for vacation. Circa 2010, those were the days when my friend (childhood family friend) used to call me “Turkish delight”. The name struck me as odd at the time, considering that I wasn’t of Turkish descent and the fact that it was actually the name of a very popular dessert/chocolate by Cadbury. Her reasons for calling me Turkish Delight were mainly due to the fact that most of her friends thought I was Afghani/Turkish at first glance. None of them took me to be a Pakistani. They thought I was lying! So instead of denying that I was Afghani/Turkish I decided to play along. HAHA. Secondly, the other reason why she called me by this delectable name was because she thought I was in fact a “sweet delight” I still recall how she used to tease me over it while singing “Suga suga how you get so fly? Suga suga how you get so fly?” by Baby Bash. (No I’m not getting teary eyed here…nope not one bit, I just have something in both my eyes)
This friend of mine and I go way back. She happens to be my father’s childhood friend’s daughter and I happen to have known her all my life. I spent more than half of my childhood with her and I can never forget our crazy sleepovers and excessive board game addiction. The funniest part was; as much as we loved spending hours and hours on the special edition Simpsons Monopoly at my place or Ludo or Carom, we fought just as much. We danced to the songs of the freshly released Sharukh Khan, Preity Zinta starrer “Kal Ho Na Ho” we sang our hearts out, we even attended the same tuition centers for a brief period and bitched about our ruthless, inconsiderate tutor for being harsh on her little brother!
It’s amazing how one little thing can remind you of an array of past events in your life. I started this post with Jaffa Cakes (which I happen to love btw) I was craving them, and mourning the fact that they aren’t available outside the United Kingdom, #SadLife and here I am, reminiscing some of the most amazing, carefree days of my life. Oh how I miss them! Sometimes I just wish I could somehow travel back to those times….so I found a way to do that. I realized that the power of thought.. of imagination has the ability to travel faster than light, as a result of which, I can travel back to any place at any given time just by closing my eyes for a brief moment. It feels as if I’m physically present there, only that it’s all in my head but so real at the same time, and in that moment, I’ve reached my happy place. You should try it too, it really works! 🙂
Lately, it has been raining cats and dogs in Lahore and I happened to step out in the pouring rain for a cruise with a close friend of mine, it was one of those long drives where you just indulge in good music (preferably easy listening) and unwind. I was sitting shotgun and my gaze was naturally directed towards the swishing windshield wipers and the glistening rain-soaked road that lie ahead. The aimlessly falling raindrops on the glass, sliding, intermingling with other drops, paving their paths, captivated me.
I got lost in my own little reverie. I didn’t see these raindrops for what they actually were, I saw them as a million little crystals being reflected by light. The moment one little drop fell on the glass windshield, it transformed into a diamond, and it turned everything it touched into a gleaming Broadway show. It was almost surreal, I realized how magical the world could be if I just tweaked how I perceived little things.
Something as little as a micro drop of water could hold the power to transform everything around it into a Leonid Afremov-esque painting (His work is mesmerizing). It’s such a beautiful sight to see that a drop of water holds a mirror within, and that the moment it gets struck by light , its a flawless diamond lighting the world. Its truly a spectacular sight if you view it from a different perspective. They say it rains diamonds on Jupiter, they say it rains diamonds on Saturn…I’d like to believe that it rains diamonds on Earth, its just about thought. 🙂
Thoughts on life, love and everything in between.. transcribed by a self proclaimed bleeding writer.