Open Letter To My Younger Sister

Dear sister,

I have never said this on your face and probably never will, but I love you. I love you from the depth of my heart.

A wreck of an emotional yet an unexpressive person that I am, but the day you got married, it was beyond the bounds of possibility to control my tears. Tears of seeing you getting happily married and tears of being unable to meet you everytime I shall visit the roof we together once shared. Tears of the colourful memories we made throughout our childhood and tears for the times we fought like crazy cats. Tears for the happy times we shared and the moments of chaos when we stood together stronger and united.

That day was hard on me. I had my fears.

Fears of loosing you to unknown entities.

Fears of witnessing a changed ‘You’ the next day.

Fears of having to share and divide the emotional attachment between us.

Fears of compromising on the privacy between our matters.

It felt like giving away a piece that was so close to my heart.

It felt as if my happy bubble was being bursted by intruders.

It felt like being stranded in an ocean with a pirate ship advancing to hold you a hostage while leaving me behind all free.

But now as you are days away from completing your first round of a happy marriage, I am thankful to Almighty for blessing you with the best Mashallah.

For all the times when people inquisited about how many siblings I have and upon learning about no brothers their sympathetic faces that rather looked pathetic to me and still do, I am thankful to Almighty for blessing me with sisters and no brothers or their wives to be talked about.

Because not everyone is blessed with sisterhood, its perks and the feeling of not being judged no matter whatever you share with each other. It is such a delight in life to have a sister like you that calls for having an automatic best friend, soul mate, crime partner and gossip pooler.

Stay blessed today and always for all the years to come.

Happy Birthday.

Much love,
Elder sister

Beauty Of Acceptance In Marriage

While the married status continues to teach you a lot of things, travelling to your family also helps you in broadening your horizons and thinking beyond the lines. It shows you new aspects of family bonding and blesses you with memories you can cherish for a lifetime.

2018 has been the year with two trips in my pocket. Earlier in the year I went with only my husband and son and already looking forward to more trips like it that gave us (the family of three) a chance to come closer and have time and days to solely us.

Later the past year, we decided to have a trip to Islamabad and farther. The special thing about this visit was that we stayed at my husband’s uncle’s place. This assisted me in witnessing the true colours (in a positive way) of our typical Pakistani Post-marriage system and it taught me one fine lesson that is the root of all other concepts linked with marriage.

Acceptance

Marriage is all about acceptance. Accepting the new lifestyle, changes and your husband’s family by heart. You cannot enjoy their company by holding grudges in your heart. You cannot indulge yourself in the family perks brought to you by this sacred relation.

Once a daughter and a sister/sil now you are a wife who is someone’s daughter-in-law and sister-in-law. Once a khala or a phuppo, now you are a Taai, chachi or a mami. And that calls for showing extra affection and owning your new family. Because marriage means being readily open to receive additional love and shower even more endearments. It also means leaving a mark on their hearts by the genuine you because that’s how our society is and I believe there is no harm in doing so until your individuality and originality is intact.

I remember once I was missing my parents dearly back home yet I found myself in fits of laughter on some jokes and humor being cracked by my brother-in-laws. It was then that I thought to myself, why am I so cheerful without my parents by my side? How can I be all smiles without my sisters around? How can I be wandering so contented with just a few minutes call to my parents every other day or two? Why am I so happy without ‘My People‘?

And that’s when realization shook me. These are my people too. This is my family too. I haven’t born in this house yet being regarded and loved as my husband’s wife and mother to my son is enough to hold this family close to my heart.

And the very moment I understood this notion, my days filled with joys and laughters. I enjoyed each day spent around my extended inlaws. I loved how the connection was equally stronger on both sides.

Lastly; as my father-in-law and parents say, “It’s always in the girl’s hand to either make it or break it (under favourable conditions for her).

Let me know your thoughts on this. 🙂

Are We Not Perfect In Our Own Skin?

Sitting in the salon waiting for my name call today, I was conceiving ways to kill time because I couldn’t just sit there twiddling my thumbs.

Since there comes a time when you feel like puking at the sight of your mobile already having enough from scrolling between Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and WordPress and me having that time of the day, I therefore decided to rather kick my heels. Crossing my legs and lying aback on the seat, I had a full view of the mainroom that was full of women belonging to every age group availing the services they asked for.

Image source: Pixabay

Listening to scissors trimming hairs,

The zzz sound of ongoing threads,

Putting on wax and pulling it off

Applying masks and highlighting strands,

I had a thought occuring to myself, “Why do we women have so much to go through to get it done with ourselves? Are we not perfect the way God has created us?

Isn’t the distressing monthly cycle, the painful labor, the excruciating delivery process enough for us to go through? But then we are designed to function that way, aren’t we?

We women are apparently a weaker species of homosapiens not having those muscular arms or perfectly shaped abs yet can endure a 57 del (unit) of pain during childbirth, which the human body is capable of only 45 del. Amazing isn’t it?

What occured next to me was that this gender of human race is very fragile. Fragile like a flower. And a flower needs to be taken care of and groomed. It needs to be watered at regular intervals so that it can blossom and spread its beauty and fragrance around. It needs a gardener that examines it every month and removes the dead petals providing passage for the new ones.

Similarly, these regular salon visits are to cleanse and purify a woman’s apparent self. Not that she is not beautiful in her own skin, but she needs to be groomed. Not for her husband or anyone else, but for her own self because this is not a mere custom she has to follow. Rather it’s a treat from her to her by her.

Image source: Pixabay

After spending hours in front of the stearing stove, driving while Mr.Sun is in full bloom performing the pick and drop duties, running errands at home while everyone enjoys in chilled rooms, moving to and fro between kitchen and dining room serving the entire household with piping hot food before getting to eat the non steamy meal that is then microvawed at least a minute before she can finally savor it and making sure to complete it without any interruptions, a woman does need a day or few hours to herself. Where she can just sit back and enjoy being groomed and massaged.

Today, I got an answer to what I always used to think before treating myself and that is because I am a woman. And a woman is as fragile as a flower that needs to be watered and groomed.

Marriage; The Ultimate Goal?

To answer the question we first need to understand what a goal is. A ‘goal‘ is defined as an aim or a desired result. It is also known as the destination of a journey and a point marking the end of a race. And ‘ultimate‘ refers to the eventual or final happening.

Talking about marriage, then according to our society YES it happens to be the ultimate goal that also makes you ‘GOL‘ (fat) as one of my friend says, where mothers start seeing ‘sehray k phool‘ veiling their sons faces and ‘ye peela jora aur hari hari chooriyan‘ on their paraaya dhans (daughters) as soon as they are welcomed into this world. To add to the satire, the same society that once believed in getting married as the eventual consequence of your purpose of existence then starts demanding the cultivation of not acres of lands or crops but a bunch of closely-gapped, all sized and substantial amount children for your own living.

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Glancing back at the unmarried me, marriage itself to me never occurred as a goal or an ambition I was very fond of. For me it was rather a moral obligation (all hail to our cultural system) I had somewhere at the back of my mind that I needed to fulfil at the right time with the right person. For me it was like a phase I couldn’t stop from advancing me though tried my best to keep it from coming by locking myself up in the washroom while the proposal party (now my in-laws :D) sat outside waiting to meet me. And what brought me out was none of the threats my mother warned me with or the international call my father made to have a few words with me. It was neither my maamu banging the door to not cry a river and behave sanely nor my sister’s requests to not put up a show. It was just this very sentence, “He is qualified and well-educated.”

Also read: Secrets To Happiness

This was one of the goals I had regarding being married. An educated person to spend my life with who can help me in pursuing my dreams and ambitions. Because life doesn’t stops after marriage. It is meant to go on which is not possible without setting some aims, planning some targets and then putting in efforts to meet them. You achieve one milestone and then you strive for another. It is a continuous process crucial for our progression and development.

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Reason behind getting married:

We humans crave for companionship and procreation because we are designed that way and this is the whole crux behind getting married. To do it all legally under complete ethical boundaries. Thus, finding the right person is a goal. Should be for all. Rational approach towards marriage demands us all to think of it as a bridge between partnership assisting the couple to walk through their journey together and reach their individual set of goals, the roots of which underlie in a successful marriage. Because marriage itself is like a tender and fragile little baby that nurtures and grows stronger with time on daily basis. It cannot be seen as the final stop to your journey of evolution and moving forward in life and hence cannot be the ultimate goal.

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But then what is the ultimate goal or goals?

They are the ones that are independent of the mandatory requirement of marriage and those that can be attained by you as an individual. Lets list down some.

1. Finding mental peace and happiness.
2. Carrying out a healthy lifestyle
3. Discovering all your potentials and showing the world what you are capable of
4. Achieving milestones and successes through rightful means
5. Striving to improve yourself and thus becoming a better version of you
6. Carrying out deeds for a decent living in this world and the hereafter
7. Stabilizing yourself physically, financially, emotionally and thus being independent
8. Setting up an example for others to follow
9. Leaving behind your mark so that the legacy continues
10. If considering to get married then finding the right person and if already chosen, then testing him/her by all means before jumping to the final decision because it’s a matter of the lifetime.

And in-case this post reached you while being already married, then your ultimate goals should still continue being the above ones but with a slight addition and that is continuing your marriage and leading it in the most decent, ideal and honorable way by setting up examples for your next generation to follow.

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Also read: After-Effects Of Marriage

Feel free to add some points to the above list via comments.

Secrets To Happiness

Standards of happiness vary among people, groups and society. The upper (rich) class has its own definition of happiness, the medium and lower classes have their own take. And today, everyone is striving harder to acquire it. Everybody is running this marathon because the bars have been elevated to the extent that true happiness has become rare and lost its charm. It is now directly proportional to luxury. Greater the expense to meet your comforts, higher the happiness levels.

Who to blame for this inflation of happiness? It is solely us. Me and you. We have set prices and standards for the attainment of a genuine human emotion. The society we live in has pushed us all into a deep well of comparisons and complexes. Once falling prey to it, you are unable to enjoy the natural occurrences of things, events and emotions.

Image source: google

Specially after embracing parenthood, our sole duty as parents becomes to provide the best of everything for our children. The best of shoes, clothes, food, toys, bags. We plan to enroll them in the best of schools, colleges and universities. This ‘best’ guarantees our happiness. We are the ones instilling in their innocent minds that happiness too comes with a price tag. That it lies in the best of material possessions. We teach them to overlook free sources of contentment and satisfaction and rather lookout for the branded and overpriced ones. It is us, as a society who has monetized the sources of happiness and we are now inculcating the same in the next generation’s minds.

Image source: google

In the complex, exorbitant world of today where everything comes with a price for us, even the simplest and genuine of human emotions, there are people who live by the moment and make it perfect and a happy one. They are the ones who just search for the things within their reach and try to utilize it in the best possible way claiming a lot of happy moments in return.

One such incident left me baffled and amazed. It left me surprised as an individual and a mother. It taught me a great deal of things.
Little Happy Incident:
There’s a park in my neighborhood where I go for a walk every morning after dropping off my kid to school. It’s more of a park built exclusively for walking and not to hurt the fragile hearts of kids accompanying their parents or grand parents for walk it also has a very less number of things to keep them busy. With a rustic see-saw, two old yet freshly colored maze slides and a muddy playground, it houses all other properties essential for walking from lush green grounds to a proper paved walking track with large trees and green plants hovering all around. I daily see a group of retired men walking, exercising and then engaging in talks on current affairs, two to three couples, a group of three middle aged women and a few men exclusively burning their calories.

While walking around one day, a Rickshaw caught my attention that stopped in the parking area. From inside I saw the driver of the rickshaw who further accompanied two children aged 1-5 years and a woman carrying a 6-8 months old baby. The kids enthusiastically ran towards the see-saw as soon as they entered the park, took a few turns and then sat on the slides chattering and exclaiming full of excitement. The father helped the youngest one to sit helping him slide down. I searched to see if their mother was capturing all these pure happy moments of her children playing carelessly and laughing lively as if there will be no tomorrow. But she had none. Rather she just stood there backing them up clapping her hands and saying,

“Shabash beta. Aur khel lo. Kal nahi aenge.”

“Welldone kids. Play as much as you can. We won’t come here tomorrow.”

It partially broke my heart yet filled it with mere realization. It taught me a number of things.

Lessons I learned:
Learn to live the moment by capturing it through your naked eyes storing them for eternity in your heart.
Happiness is scattered around free of cost. Just learn the art of grabbing it.
Be thankful for whatever you have today for you don’t know what tomorrow holds.
Precious things don’t always guarantee happiness.
Lower your standards and raise your happiness levels.

• Don’t overlook the little things in life as they cause the biggest happiness.

Concluding this with a quote of Dalai Lama,
By bringing about a change in our outlook towards things and events, all phenomena can become sources of happiness.

Right From An Ex-Expat’s Heart

The feelings of attachment, closeness and devotion are not confined to humans alone. Everyone of us has some special bond with a specific place. A place that holds remarkable euphoric memories and our blissful past in its hands. A place that carries in itself our colorful childhood and fun-filled and ugly teenage. A place that had us amalgamated with our true-hearted family and loyal friends through every thick and thin. A place that can only be experienced and not explained yet I tried my best in this. There has to be a place like that in our lives.

It might not be your birthplace neither your motherland, but the way it treated you through out the years, welcoming you in the warmth of its arms, nurturing you under its thick shades, washing away your worries through its exotic beaches and scenic beauty, spreading hospitability through out your residential stay and imparting all levels of education and other basic facilities to all its citizens leaves you in complete awe and reverence for it being an expatriate there. It’s a place that is purely cordial to all its inhabitants and showers absolute hospitability to all its countryfolk. It is a place that beautified your past, nourished your present and promised a secure future.

You can’t stop admiring it for all the years to come, passing on your experiences and your deep love for that place onto your next generation as religious customs and community traditions. Because you consider the years lived there as your heirloom. It becomes a legacy that oughts to be transferred and passed on. It becomes a heritage that you feel should never die.

Image source: Google

Muscat (Oman) is the place for me. It occupies the most special place in my heart because my family of five was intact and together. It was our happy place. Those 22 years spent there are engraved on my mind, heart and soul without any apprehensions of being washed out ever. Because my sentiments for Oman can never fade away. They become more mightier with each passing year.

I consider it as my first homeland. Though a patriotic Pakistani and without having learnt Arabic for all the years I lived there, it is still placed above Karachi in my heart. After 4.5 years of settling in Karachi, I still search for similarities with Oman here and when I find any, it takes me back to the memory lane.

And one day, one day I ought to visit it with my son to show him the love it showered upon me. To show him the unmatchable peace I am still struggling to find here. To show him my nursery, school and college. To show him the streets I walked on and smooth neat roads I drove through. To show him the famous Muttrah Corniche and crystal clear beach waters. To show him its enormous mountains and lush green gardens. To show him its beautiful mosques with lovely domes. To show him Riyam, Kalbuh and Qurm parks I visited as a carefree child playing till my hands and clothes got soiled, running around after my sister till we got exhausted and ran to our parents for some snacks and then it changed to just a stroll in these parks when I was in my teens.

I want to visit Muscat again to take my son to Lulu, Carrefour, Centrepoint and Muscat Grand Mall I myself visited countless number of times for grocery, window shopping or just to dispose away the boredom. To see with him the gigantic, beautiful, marvellous and newly built Muscat International Airport I have myself not seen and just heard about. I want to do this all one day. I want to visit that place because I am glad to remain an Expatriate yet hold some strong and vigorous feelings for Oman. I want to visit it to relive those golden memories once again, to cherish the time spent there and to witness the vast changes throughout the years. I want to visit Muscat again to lookout for the clear waters spreading calmness and peace and to see the spots again I have our pictures clicked at.

I want to tell my son about his Majesty Sultan Qaboos the way he will learn about Quaid-e-Azam. I want to tell him about one of the most peaceful countries of the MiddleEast, my beloved Oman.

Image source: https://www.thebusinessyear.com/oman-2016/strides-toward-tomorrow/inside-perspective

Brief Info:

1. The Sultanate of Oman is in the Middle East, located on the south eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula.

2. It shares it borders with Yemen, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

3. Currency is Omani Riyal.

4. The largest city and oldest capital of the country is Muscat.

5. Form of Governance: Absolute Monarchy

6. Reigning Monarch: His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said

7. National Day: 18th November (A day to mark independance from the Portugal control in 1650)

On Oman’s 48th National Day today, I would like to extend my heartfelt greetings towards his Majesty Sultan Qaboos who pushed the country towards modernization and evolution. I wish the best of prosperity, peace, welfare, success and development for Oman.

Image source: google

After-Effects Of Marriage

The ‘Married‘ label not only amends your current status in the social circle, on Facebook as well as your NIC and passport but like it or lump it, it also brings some eminent changes in your personality, timber, routine, perspective, obsessions, habits and your stance about life.

You have to live by these changes and welcome them with open arms only for your peace of mind embracing a happy living.
The sooner, the better.

Because we girls have been growing up listening to the words “compromise” and “flexible” since I guess, forever?

So what does this label of being ‘married‘ do to you? Let me jot down some.

First and foremost, it changes your “mera” to “hamara”!

Because it’s a journey from mine to ours.
My bedroom, my washroom, my bed, my tv, my light, my pankha, my dressing table, my side lamps, my treadmill, my billi, my chooza (wrong)
Replace ‘my‘ with ‘our‘ and read again!
Perfect now?
It takes a while to get used to it.
I remember soon after getting married I asked my husband to go somewhere to which he said “chalo” and I asked “apki car mein?” He replied “No, hamari car mein!
I felt a lump in my throat right then whispering “Awwww how sweet!

Image source:Google

2. Your commands become your duties

A sudden realization shakes you from top to bottom. It’s not your Ammi ka ghar anymore where you were the ruling monarch of the kingdom constantly instructing and bribing your siblings to obey if you are the eldest or there are 1 or 2 smaller than you.

Pre-marriage:
Yar pani pila do sawaab kamao”
“Meri Sapphire ki shirt chaiye?”
“Han chaiye”
“Pehle bartan dho do
And as little as screaming your lungs out summoning your siblings and then asking for AC/TV remote that is just across you on the table in the same room.
And also innocently asking your mother about your food choices.
Ammi mere liye bhi do rotiyan bana dein
Ammi aaj nihari bana lein
Post Marriage:
Ammi, kitni rotiyan banani hain?
Sunein, aj kia pakaon?”
What would you like for breakfast?
Also Read: Let’s talk ‘Post Marriage Happiness’

3. You start taking the saying “Sharing is caring” as solemnly as a slate gravestone!

There is nothing you don’t offer to everyone before having it to yourself. Specially that last bite of a Magnum ice-cream or a McDonald’s burger, a Delizia brownie or a Pay To Biryani has possibly escaped your better half’s mouth (fortunately) after at least 5-7 attempts of offering (because puchna farz hai) before ending in yours.
And the last bite has it all!!!

The unmarried you, who could gulp down an entire bar of chocolate alone or ingurgitate a whole 500ml soda can within a single minute now eats patiently and drinks with no rush only after making sure others are well satiated.

Image source: Google

4. Wiper and mop become your best buddies!

Among the basic requirements of life essential for your living, there’s a willy-nilly addition to it. Mopping the wet washroom after Mr. husband takes shower becomes a daily norm. You may skip a one time meal but can you live by a wet bathroom having water scattered like the world map with bodily hairs marking the borders and separating countries and continents? Certainly not!!

5. You become an automated mobile peg picking whatever comes your way

From dirty clothes that intended to go in the laundry basket but landed right on your washroom door, collecting socks and pairing them-one from the north side of your room and the other one on south, to a protruding neck-tie peeking from under the bed and in order to pull it out you discover a whole world of long-lost objects that even your maid couldn’t locate.

6. You start a unisex campaign for a few mutual things

Your cute pink washroom slippers change to oversized huge black/blue ones capable of accommodating a dinosaur’s foot too.
Mr. husband’s comfy tees (Pj’s being your own) replace your girly and sometimes sexy sleepwear. And not to forget a few of his scents and perfumes you put on occasionally because their fragrances are way better scented than ours. Aren’t they?

7. Your personal things require a separate space

You have to search for another place not easily reachable for your towel, comb and nail cutter because the male species don’t really mind to get their hands on yours unless they are a clean freak.

8. A set sleep schedule

You are no longer that carefree bird who slept when sleepy and woke up when the body ached after lying sleep dead for hours. You now have short and finite number of hours to get some rest while accommodating the ME time within that stretch. Either sleep or enjoy, the choice and time is yours.

Image source: Google

9. You have to be stand-by when he takes shower

To keep your sanity intact, observe how long your husband takes shower and once calculated, be present outside the washroom to hold his oh-so-wet towel otherwise it may end up landing on your just-perfectly-made-bed or your full of cushions comfy couch.

10. Providing free entertainment for everybody

No matter how much you suck at talking, serving and interacting, you start attending guests and serving them one after the other engaging everyone with their talk of interest. Yes, marriage does this to you. Bonus points if you are already an extrovert.
Also read: Silent Girls Struggles

11. You bid a goodbye to all kinds of “shame shame

You certainly know this well. All the sharam and lehaz is barely for the starting 2 months. It doesn’t mean you become be-sharam! Rather, you just open up to the extent a rubber band can be fully pulled before breaking. Tensile stress in Physics! You start putting up demands and shamelessly asking for money instead of waiting for pocket money from abbu jee!
You have a new motto in life now i-e

couples who fart together, stay together

12. Adulting served right

All the adult jokes start making sense to you if you were a naive one before and you enjoy being a part of those secret code word conversations. There is an increase in your decent vocab bringing in new information from none other than your soul partner!

13. Generosity becomes your virtue

Before getting married, you only knew the meaning of receiving. Receiving gifts, money, invitations, greetings from your family. But marriage makes you as generous as the sun in spring. You start spending on your family. Start surprising them with random gifts. You start planning to make their special days worth remembering investing in ideas and unique birthday presents.

14. Monitored washroom visits

You can no more enjoy the freedom you had before getting married. The washroom freedom. Stay for a little longer than 10 minutes and there will be continuous knocks and never-ending questions about you feeling okay or not. When finally you decide to show up, mr. Husband is right there waiting for you like he has seen you after years. Centuries maybe. And how to forget the question “Kheriyat? Itni dair kyun laga di?”

Matlab ab washroom bhi sukoon se nahi ja saktey!

15. You become picture obsessed

If you were a strictly-no-picture person before, then you are not the same anymore. You tend to capture every moment now and have at least 10 pictures of the same moment before you settle for the final picture that too after a lot of resistance from mr. Soul partner. You keep looking for a good background on every wall, nook and corner. Deleting any pictures or transferring them is the last thing you ought to do unless you are unable to install the system software update after countless alerts because: Low disc space issues!

Can you relate to any one of the above? Let me know via comments.