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.
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.
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.
Thoughts on life, love and everything in between.. transcribed by a self proclaimed bleeding writer.