Tag Archives: #life

The What Ifs

One eventful evening in London.

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…

Rantings of An Anxious 20 Something

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  1. 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.
  2.  One moment your heart is thumping real fast, the next it’s a splitting headache – whatever the brain pleases to focus on.
  3.  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).
  4.  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?!).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. You need to surround yourself around individuals who support you and get you through your phases. Avoid negativity at all costs.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Cerebrating Pony Ride


 Courtesy: Hasan Abbas

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.

Not Entitled To 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.

Incisioned Precision

- It's all about perception.  Taken on a particularly uneventful evening in San Jose.
– It’s all about perception.
Taken on a particularly uneventful evening in San Jose.

Crystallized thoughts, oh lightning soul

has she discovered herself?

Her vision was alas! an incision, is it all really a test?

Shall the heart be forever locked inside a chest?

The bird left its nest, never to look back

She was but that needle in a hay stack

Her wind-soaked wings; the glimmer in her eyes, drank the goblet of lies

Lost the will to soar high, broke all ties

Pickled minds, fickle emotions; no foolish notions

You won your glass of gin – your mightiest sin

Crystallized thoughts, oh lightning soul

has she recovered herself?

J’adore Mon Cher

By: Leonid Afremov
“When Dreams Come True” by: Leonid Afremov

J’adore is french for I adore you (for those of you who haven’t already googled it). In France, I adore you is considered more powerful than Je T’aime, which stands for “I love you”. On the contrary, in Pakistan none of these matter. This isn’t one of those  rants where a girl talks about how the world has betrayed her and men are all dogs (dogs are lovely creatures, just saying) but it’s more of a reflection on the society we reside in. The Pakistani mentality, the deep rooted desi-ness ka tarka (a garnish of onions and garlic fried in oil) that is even stronger than the pungent smell of that lassan (garlic) ka tarka in the daal (lentils) cooking in your kitchen.

I’m a proud Pakistani myself, a patriot and not of the “Hey look at me I wear green on Independence day” variety, but I choose to voice my opinions on subjects that resonate with me on a deeper level. When I speak of the “Pakistani mentality” I do not in any way wish to demean my country or its people’s beliefs, I merely wish to question them, to reason with them.

The books I read while growing up weren’t of the “happily ever after” category, in fact, I was a comic book kid, and I loved reading literary classics. I never had unrealistic ideals of finding ‘the one’ or riding off into a mystical land with my knight in shining armor (no seriously, what if that armor is covered in algae and all sorts of sludge? my O.C.D would go through the roof!) but growing up in a quintessential conservative desi family, I took my father and my brothers as my ideal and I still idealize them. I looked at the world through their perspective, it was my vision, their lens (pretty normal eh?).

A person who envisions her father as a role model, how can she settle for anything less? (I say this on behalf of all women living in the Pakistani society). There are times in life when we’re faced with tough choices, an intersection, a fork in the road that doesn’t define the wrong or right, and we find ourselves standing there scratching our heads in contemplation, that is when we really need to ask ourselves if choosing the path is even worth it? You could just abandon that direction completely and take another route, you’ve got GPS, use it wisely.

The Pakistani mentality when it comes to prepubescent men and women and some who unfortunately stopped growing after they hit the big two zero (20)  is a mesh of confused emotions, it’s like your mommy issues and daddy issues reproduced in America/any other influential foreign country) and gave birth to a thing called your “mindset”. Whatever happened to sticking to morals and principles? Oh wait, they flew out the window when you left it open while sneaking out in the middle of the night. I’m all for living and letting others live, the only thing I feel our society lacks is tolerance. Acceptance towards each other and each others shortcomings.

Whatever happened to old-school courtship and romance? It died a slow painful death. Men take women to be fools and manipulate them like tools and then discard them like damaged goods, women pretend to be saints while hiding a dagger behind their back. Why the hell would you do that? Why have we become so sadistic? Do you have any idea what kind of an impact the pain you inflict on someone else, can have on them? You could practically ruin their life because not everyone is as thick skinned as you presume, not everyone can laugh things off like you, not everyone will sit with their friends, smoke a cigarette and laugh at the misery inflicted on someone else.

If you succeed in misleading somebody, do not think of him of being a big fool, rather think about how he trusted you. -Imam Ali (A.S)

Just pause for a moment and reflect on your life, ask yourself “Am I living it right?” have some compassion, don’t take words as hollow sounds escaping your throat, take them for what they could mean to someone else, don’t take anybody for a fool, because a) you’ll get screwed by Karma, and b) That person might just be a better individual than you – who even after knowing that you’re a complete moron, keeps giving you the benefit of the doubt, keeps letting go of things only because they value you and wouldn’t want to lose you even if the mountains crumbled. Word of advice: You’re gonna be one heck of a unfortunate bum if you lose this person. This one’s a keeper! Get your J’adore and Je T’aime together and make it count, before fate plays one on you. Life’s too short to be meaningless, earthquake or no earthquake.

Que Sera Sera (What Will be, Will be)



Que Sera Sera is a very popular Spanish phrase  that means; what will be, will be. It also happens to be a song by Doris Day but that isn’t the reason why I’m writing this post today. I heard someone use this phrase the other day and I thought about it long and hard. We, as humans have become so accustomed to crying over things that are not under our control, we cry over “spilled milk” more often than we should, even after hearing it numerous times from our mothers and grandmothers…”Dear/Meri Jaan, there’s no point crying over spilled milk, let it go.” It has practically been drilled inside our heads since we were little, and yet, we fail to acknowledge its significance.

Life is not a straight line, the moment it becomes a straight line, it ends. It has to have those ups and downs, those irregular rhythms to make it livable, to make you feel alive. Time is a crucial element, the good can’t last for too long and the bad can’t either. It’s just how the universe works. The moment the good times start rolling in, some thing comes along to neutralize it, to give you a harsh reality check and stroke you with condolences – There there bro, your life can’t be as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

The lesson here is that sometimes, some things are just not in our control, there are some aspects of life that just need to be let go, you have to accept the fact that, that the sand has slipped from your hands, you can’t vacuum specks of time and then empty the dust bag. What had to be, has already happened, that is the way fate decided it, and if you’re one of those who believe that fate is some voluntary mumbo-jumbo , that it doesn’t occur inherently and is rather acquired through (insert various synonyms of hard-work here) then I’m afraid you’re in for a harsh reality check. While hard-work is a deciding factor in our lives, fate or kismet plays an equally important role. you just have to have your stars aligned together at the right time.  Just keep moving forward, it’s easier said than done but you have to. Regrets never got anyone anywhere.