Welcome to the inside of my head.

Posts tagged ‘Marriage’

153. Ten Things You Really Shouldn’t Say To Me After I’ve Just Completed My Degree

1. Oh- I didn’t even know you were at university.
What did you think I was doing for the last four years?

2. Mathematics- Isn’t that a boy-subject? What can you do with Maths?
1) Maths isn’t gender specific. 2) Plenty.

3. You got a First?! *surprised* I thought you didn’t specify because you only passed and were embarrassed.
-_-

4. Yes it’s all very well you can do this Maths-shaths but how are your rotis?
Edible.

5. Acha good, uni finished. When you getting married?
*sigh*

6. You know this degree paper means nothing till you find a good boy and settle down. Life isn’t complete without shaadi.
*sigh*

7. Did you meet anyone at uni? *suggestive look* You can tell me, I’m your Aunty.
*sigh*

8. Oh you’ve finished your degree. My daughter got married this year and she’s pregnant. She has a family.
Good to know.

9. Oh you have a job. Will you leave when you have children?
I haven’t even started my job yet. Gimme a chance.

10. Look at the girls these days. They all want to do the job-shob but can they run a home? No.
Thanks for the vote of confidence.

I am sad to say there is no embellishment in this post. In fact most of them are quoted directly. Aren’t people sensitive?

Ahh the plight of a brown girl!

 

Over and Out!

Advertisements

104. Excuse my French but I’m in France

I’M JUST SAYIN’

This is what I should have posted several days ago but better late than never eh. So as I’ve banged on and on about, I went to Paris this weekend for my cousin’s wedding. SO much happened even within a short amount of time but these were some of the high/low lights:

Travelling
The train station was an hour and a half away from the house we were staying at and the house was another hour away from the venue. Who came up with this fabulous planning?- I don’t know- but my god did we do a lot of driving. It was really annoying too because it was so hot in the car that our make up was melting.

The House
I have family all of the world, literally at least one representative from every continent attended this wedding and we were ALL, yes ALL, housed in this one place. It was absolutely stunning, a huge paradise in the middle of nowhere but it still only had 5 bedrooms and there were 31 of us. Yeah you can imagine that not many of us slept on beds. What’s worse was that there were only 3 bathrooms so goodbye privacy. People were hiding behind beds and doors when they were changing but eventually we all just gave up. Trust me when I say that I have seen enough aunty’s stomachs for a lifetime.

Drama
If you know anything about asian weddings, you know that they can’t happen without some drama. This occasion was no exception. My Khala aka. my mum’s sister and bride’s mother is a very emotional person and when the Nikkah (the closest to vows Muslims get) finished, she promptly passed out and I was the idiot who had to run to the guy’s section and get help. Then the crying commenced. It was like a chain reaction. The bride started weeping, and then her sister started which set my mum off and next thing I know my own eyes were wet.

The Rush
There were three events in two days and I was there for two nights. Everything was rushed. As soon as I arrived (literally as soon as I got my foot in the door), I was told to get ready and change my clothes but I was knackered and couldn’t be asked so I just stayed in my jeans. I eventually got the energy to change for the second event but I wore no make up. I sorted things out for the third though.
For the journey home, I caught a very early train back to London and because of the timings and distance from the venue, I actually didn’t sleep for 26 hours. It’s always been on my list of things to do before I die to pull an all nighter but I never thought it would be under those circumstances…

Language Problems
There were many. I speak English, understand Urdu but speak it to a below average standard whereas the rest of them are fluent in French and speak better Urdu than me. Basically there were three languages flying around the whole time and it got hella confusing.

Heels
I fucking hate heels. I wore them for two days straight and it murdered my feet. I genuinely limped home. Don’t do it!

Dancing
In case you don’t know, I love to dance… in private. I’m absolutely terrible but I enjoy practising my balle balle and Beyonce booty shake… in private…because you know I’m brown and dancing unashamedly would ruin my reputation. Now at any other wedding I would never be expected to dance. Come a family member’s wedding however and suddenly my mum is actively telling me to join in. Great! I’m sorry but I am not a closet professional dancer. Let me eat my biryani in peace.

I know this all sounds like a huge rant but it was a wonderful experience really. My cousin looked beautiful (though she won’t let me put up any pics of her yet -_-) and it was amazing to be part of such a Punjabi energetic wedding.

Without further ado, here are some pictures. More may be added later.

Over and Out!

Note: If you live under a rock and don’t understand the title and first line, it’s from ‘Ninjas’ in Paris.

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.

62. This makes my blood boil.

So Aliya, you’re next! *wink*. Aliya, when are you getting hitched? Hey Aliya, have you thought about your wedding? You know what, I got asked all of these questions today and it’s not the first time. I keep getting asked these questions, particularly since I hit 21. It is just relentless.

Of course I want to get married, of course I want a family but I want to finish my degree first. Every time I say that, some of the aunties give me this look of disdain… oh you’re one of those ‘career minded’ women. They say it like it’s a dirty word. I’m sorry I actually want to use the education I worked so hard to get. I am sorry my ambition isn’t solely linked to finding a husband. Today an aunty said to me, haw you’re 21 and you can’t even make kheer (Indian dessert). Fine, it’s true. I can’t make kheer off the top of my head but I can prove S5 is an insoluble group and if I can do that, I sure as hell can follow a recipe and make some bloody kheer. Do you notice how the reverse argument doesn’t hold? Being able to make kheer doesn’t mean you can prove S5 is an insoluble group. But did I say that? No- because aunties get a free pass to be condescending but any retaliation from me makes me a ‘gustaak larki’ (ill mannered girl).

My mum is like the community agony aunt and being her daughter, I have heard all sorts of stuff about marriage problems and I have learnt a lot. I’mma speak some hard truths today because I am supremely pissed off. If you are a woman and you work, your marriage will be fairer. You know why? Because you put money on the table and guys might not respect you but they sure as hell respect money. There, I said it. If you don’t work, you can bet that when you go shopping, for every two things you put in the trolley, he will take one thing out and justify it with ‘but I pay the bills’. He won’t do that if you’re paying.

You know what aunties… I’mma get a real good job, buy a nice house and a nice car and if I want to buy new shoes, I’mma buy them because I can afford it.

Disclaimer: If this sounds like man hate, I apologise. If you are offended at my generalising, I apologise. I know there are exceptions to every rule but everything I’ve mentioned, I’ve observed firsthand. If you haven’t, then you’re very lucky.

Over and Out.

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!