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Posts tagged ‘Bride’

96. Neck pain, aching feet, stiff arms….yup sounds like a good day of SHOPPING!

My cousin who is about to get married came to visit to buy all her accessories and decorations. First of all I’ve gotto tell you IT IS SO MUCH FUN SHOPPING WITH A BRIDE.

We only had 2 days to buy everything so we had to be fast! Of course we went to Southall ie. Mini India in England. I got to go all the fancy shops and actually buy stuff instead of just walking around dreaming and contemplating my future (with excitement but also a heavy dose of fear). Everyone was super willing to help because they knew we had big moneys to spend. Additionally Southall is one of the few places in England where you can ‘negotiate on the price’ and I swear my mum is a force of nature when it comes to bargaining. She is FIERCE! The vendors might come up with a figure of £120 and she’ll just dive in and say NO £60. Like I would be too embarrassed to even start that low… She’s clearly not though and to her credit, she’ll walk away probably paying £80 because she is BOSS.

My friends will know that I like all things shiny but my cousin really puts me to shame. She loves her bling! She wants to wear the biggest, shiniest, brightest jewellery possible. She picked out what I thought were HUGE earrings and dismissed them casually… ‘nope not big enough’. Like woah sister! Are you still hoping to have ears after this?

If she could have this, she probably would… It’s wayyyyy too much in my opinion but each to their own…

She also bought 5 inch heels. I made the mistake of trying them on and I seriously could not walk; the best I could do was an awkward shuffle and even wearing them for under a minute killed my feet. She on the other hand was strutting like a model, no problem. Talking of shoes…

Me no like

So many of the heels I saw were poor excuses for shoes. There was literally just a small strip that was supposed to hold your foot in place. I tried one of them on and my feet felt naked. Why would anyone want so much of their feet on show?! Feet aren’t even pretty. Also I don’t know why but wearing them made me feel like a stripper. I almost expected people to start throwing money. Maybe it was the clear heels I dunno. All I know is, never again.

 

 

My cousin was also very excited to buy some parandas which are things you plait into your hair. It’s essentially a decorative piece that some brides like to wear on their Mehndi. Ooh we also got her chooriya which are bangles. We went to this guy who specialises in this sorta stuff and showed him what colours she was going to wear; he rummaged around in the back for a while and came back with a lovely bangle set that was spot on in terms of colour combinations. It was expensive though!

Bangles bangles everywhere

This is what parandas look like

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This shopping trip was also a chance for me and my mum to look around and buy something for ourselves to wear. I saw this stunning blue dress thing that had lots of shiny stuff around the neck and they let me try it on. Guys, I looked good…my first thought was wow I look like a Middle Eastern princess. If I wore that to a wedding and didn’t come back with at least three marriage proposals, I would be disappointed. That was how good I looked. Howeverrr I was in danger of upstaging the bride and it was rather expensive so I didn’t buy it. In fact I didn’t buy anything which means I need to go to Southall… again!

Car Shambles

I also need to tell you guys about our car.

My dad was dropping us all off at Southall; he pulled out the driveway and drove a little way down the road when I started hearing this funny sound from the right hand side. I told my dad to stop and as soon as we got out of the car, we noticed that the back tyre was flat. Great start!

My dad keeps all sorts of tools and equipment in the car boot so we had everything we needed to change the tyre. I was in charge of jacking the car up (manually by the way- took bloody ages). My mum and my cousin were very helpfully still sitting in the car- thanks a lot for making this harder. Me and my dad undid the nuts and lugged the spare tyre out, replaced the tyre, redid the nuts…only to realise that it didn’t have enough air in it. Yup our replacement tyre was also flat! Wonderful! We had a (manual) foot pump in the car so again it was me standing there like an idiot pretty much jumping up and down to get air in the tyre. However I was failing epicly… because the foot pump had a crack and air was escaping. Eventually we borrowed an electronic air pump and got it all sorted out but my God, anything that could of have gone wrong DID go wrong….

Just another day in the life of Aliya.

Over and Out!

 

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82. A Bachelor No More…

Looks like my brother has found himself a lady… finally. He’s turning 30 this year so everyone was kinda like… get a move on. He’s actually been ‘looking’ for quite a while but his list of requirements was so long that I didn’t think there was a woman on Earth that encompassed everything he wanted. My Dad succinctly put it: ‘Stop looking for the perfect woman. You’re not the perfect guy’. In the end he compromised.

He’s actually my half brother so I haven’t really been involved in the ‘search’ process. We just heard updates every now and again. For people that aren’t brown, here’s an insight on how some weddings happen in our culture.

  1. You announce that you are single and want to get married.
  2. You ask your friends and family to spread the news far and wide.
  3. They return with details of other people who are also in the marriage market that they reckon might be compatible with you.
  4. You then request more information about the people who piqued your interest. In particular, questions are asked about the family and whether there is any unsavoury gossip about them floating around.
  5. If these basic tests are passed, a meeting is requested, usually at the girl’s house.
  6. Often the first time, the guy doesn’t actually see the girl. He meets her parents first and everyone chats. Here the guy gets drilled on his job and future prospects. The girl will probably be listening to every word from the banisters.

Sometimes the process ends here. a) One of the parties isn’t keen on the other or b) both parties like each other and decide this is enough to agree to a marriage.

If you’re a ‘modern’ brown person, the process can continue.

  1. The guy and the girl get to talk and if they’re really lucky, they’ll get some privacy by which I mean her parents are on the other side of a glass door that’s left slightly open.
  2. If they can still tolerate each other, there will be more meetings of this kind until they find something major they disagree on (in which the whole process starts again) or everything is dandy and it’s happy days. In my brother’s case, this took approximately 7 meetings which personally I think is really quick for such a huge life decision but hey.

I have SO MUCH to say about this process (not all critical) but I think I’ll save it for another post. For now, I will continue with my story.

Right so my brother is 29, turning 30. Here’s the shock, horror part. The girl is 20, turning 21. That’s right, SHE’S YOUNGER THAN ME. I am having real problems getting over this. I know everyone is different and we all have different levels of maturity but if someone asked me to get married right now (lol theoretically), I would request another 3 years.  Because I’m not ready. I would need a separate post listing all the reasons why but the biggest one is that I couldn’t possibly take care of someone else when I only just about manage to take care of myself.

Anyway, I’m going with my Dad on Sunday to meet the girl. Not only that, my Dad will be making a formal proposal on my brother’s behalf to the girl’s dad for her hand. To be honest I was surprised to be invited, but I’m curious to meet my new sister in law. Should be interesting….

Over and Out!

P.S. Mele, if you’re reading this, don’t tell everyone else about it.

48. An insight into Pakistani weddings

I attended a wedding this Sunday with my parents. The bride is my mum’s friend’s daughter. We’re not that close but hey it’s an excuse to dress up and stuff yourself silly. It was held at the Hilton in Paddington which I’ve genuinely never noticed before even though I often use the Paddington station entrance that is directly opposite it. I think I have buttons for eyes. If we adhered by ‘survival of the fittest’, I would be long gone. My lack of awareness is pretty concerning.

Inside, we were greeted by the sight of an awesome chocolate fountain. The kids had a field day. I don’t think they even had dinner.

 

Om nom nom

Om nom nom

I quickly realised that there was not enough space for all the guests. Now this isn’t because the hosts were being stingy. I’m sure they counted the invitations. They specified how many people could come from each family but being brown, most people ignore this and bring their entire family. Not unreasonable you say? It is when people are bringing 4 children each. Invite 2 families… that’s 12 people already. A lot of the teenage boys were standing for most of the night. It was a real issue.

Looking around the room, I also noticed how all the aunties were decked out in gold (my mother included). They’re wearing their gold malas (big necklaces), karas (big bangles), chooriya (bangles), rings and earrings. Some of them probably upstaged the bride. Why do we have this cultural obsession with gold? I mean I know why. It’s shiny. But seriously, are they not weighed down by all this metal?

 

I was one of the girls chosen to throw the customary rose petals and confetti on the barat (groom and his family) when they entered. I made it my personal mission to try and get confetti stuck in everyone’s hair (Aliya 1 Maturity 0), except the groom because that’s just lame (Aliya 1 Maturity 1). Then came my favourite part of the wedding… the groom walking in behind the roar of two dhols. They make an almighty amount of noise which automatically puts you in the mood to balle balle and CHAK DE PATTE ie. to bhangra.

(Photo Credit: drshavetakaushal.blogspot.com)

Then came the Nikkah ceremony (signing the marriage contract). As per cultural traditions, there are no cute vows. Instead, there are two ‘witnesses’ who speak to the bride in private and make sure she agrees to the marriage and isn’t being coerced. She said yes. The groom breathed a sigh of relief. They also make sure that they agree on the Haq Mehr. This is wrongly translated to as a ‘dowry’ in English when in actual fact it’s more for the bride’s financial security. I’ve heard some brides grumpily complain that it’s like having a figure put on their worth. Also not true. The Haq Mehr is a gift from the groom to the bride hence it can’t be taken back. Some families like to make this a large sum of money to ensure that the guy is properly invested in the marriage. However nowadays, there’s less of an emphasis on it because in the event of a divorce, they’ll probably rinse each other in court. Sad but true.

(Photo Credit: blog.uzbin.com)

During the wait for the signing, there was an Imam who recited verses from the Quran that are specifically related to marriage. He spoke (at length) about the importance of marriage in Islam, the benefits of it and what expectations a husband should have of is wife and similarly a wife of her husband. Now I have been to many weddings and heard many versions of this speech. A quote I hear often is ‘The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “A woman may be married for four reasons: for her property, her status, her beauty, and her religion”‘. Now please don’t start shouting at me for blaspheming but I find that quote a little depressing. A woman’s beauty is God-given and hence not really in her control. Her property and her status are usually linked to her wealth and I don’t think a wealthier woman makes for a better woman. Similarly her status and her religion are massively influenced by her family and well you can’t choose your family. So how many of these qualities does a woman actually have control over? What about a woman’s mind? According to that, no-one will have any reason to marry me.

They made a huge mistake in bringing in the starters while the Imam was talking. Bad, bad move. Food instantly distracts people, particularly the kids. The Imam wasn’t impressed. He probably wasn’t happy that they blasted the music after he finished speaking too. Whoops…

This is how long we were waiting for food. That used to be a candle...

This is how long we were waiting for food. That used to be a candle…

Moving swiftly on…when everything’s done and signed, the guests get a little box/bag of goodies usually filled with cashew nuts, almonds and somph (fennel seeds). People actually get quite competitive over these boxes in terms of design and detail. The one’s at this wedding were pretty cool.

nikkahbox

Finally onto the food. It was a little disappointing, not in terms of the variety but taste-wise. They stuck to the standard Pakistani wedding food menu.

Starter: Fish, Chicken Tikka and Lamb Kebabs
Main: Biryani, Chicken curry, Lamb curry and Paneer for the vegetarians (who are very poorly catered for at Pakistani weddings)
Dessert: Gajar ka halwa (Carrot halwa- I can’t translate halwa) with ice-cream. Other variations include gulab jaman with ice cream, rasmalai or kheer!

I’m sure I haven’t even covered half the drama of a Pakistani wedding so this really is only an insight.

Over and Out!