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Posts tagged ‘pakistan’

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!

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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.

64. Brown people at the airport

I go to Heathrow a lot. Usually I’m picking up or dropping off relatives coming from/ going to Pakistan and I’ve noticed a number of things.

– Before we even get to the airport, we do the customary weighing of the suitcases to find out just how overweight they are. Instead of putting the case on the scale, my dad always insists on standing on the scale, noting his weight and then lifting the suitcase and calculating the increase. Apparently this is more accurate… but you gotto feel sorry for the pour soul (usually me) who has to have their face against the floor (and near feet) to get the readings. *grumble grumble*

– You don’t need to look at the screen to find out which area of the airport you need to go. Just follow the masses of people talking really loudly (in Punjabi or Urdu) and you’ll soon find your way to the PIA desk.

– There may be 3 or 4 people actually getting on the plane but a good 10-15 people coming to see them off. This might make them feel special but to every other passenger, this is hella annoying. Why are you all congregated right in the middle of the check in? Why are you all in the queue if you’re not travelling?! You’re making the queue longer!

Image Credit: thehindu.com

– Suitcases. About 70% of the passengers have suitcases from the 1970’s that look they they weigh a tonne and don’t have wheels. Even worse, some people just bring a hench cardboard box and mummify it in string. This is understandable if you’re taking something odd shaped abroad that won’t fit in a usual suitcase but most of the time it’s just full of clothes.

– The ladies are travelling in clothes that I would usually reserve for wearing to a wedding. How can you sit through a 7 hour flight in such heavy garments and make up? You are going to look like your face melted when you get off the plane. And heels too! You’re already struggling with your overweight luggage. Your inappropriate footwear is only going to this worse.

– The luggage is always overweight and not just a little bit, outrageously so.  My relatives actually PLAN on taking overweight luggage and create a ‘lucky bag’. This is a bag that they’d like to take but if it doesn’t go- oh well. They’ll wait in the queue and try and suss out who the most lenient check in person is and try and go for them. Then they will try and butter up the person behind the desk (I genuinely heard one man say ‘you’re looking very smart’ and the lady said ‘don’t even try it’).  One time we managed to convince someone to let us take an extra 15kg on board including golf clubs and other times we get the really anal check in person who is like hmmm you’re 1kg over, cough up. I have to add that nearly every time I go to the airport, I meet someone who wants us to check in their bag if we have room. The cheek!

How can my luggage be overweight? I weighed it at home!

– Every child is carrying their own body weight as ‘hand luggage’. Their parents are telling them ‘it’s only for a little bit’. I have experienced being that child and trust me when I say it is not a little bit and it canes your back.

– There’s always that one family that didn’t come prepared with a ‘lucky bag’ and has to open their suitcase in front of everyone and start removing things. What you notice is that they are filled to the brim with ‘gifts’ such as 5 packets of kitkat, a dozen cardigans from Marks and Spencer, Vaseline moisturising cream and random things like jam or baked beans which aren’t as nice in Pakistan. Hey…whatever makes them happy.

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!