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.

Silent Girls Struggles

There are majorly two types of girls according to my findings,

1. The bubbly and chatty ones
2. The sober and silent ones

I belong to the latter category since childhood and was most famous as ‘The Sober one‘ among my friends and family who always weighed her words and then spoke. I cannot speak random or speak a lot though my laughters have the capability to echo through the entire building, but it only happens when I have a bunch of “My People” around.

Since girls of a talkative and friendly nature have a visible dominance, the silent and sober ones always feel left out in the social circle. They ought to be very less of noticeable among people, that too comes with no surprise. I used to see girls having endless talks, chirping, laughing, giggling, gossiping and thought to myself, why can’t I be like that? Why I cannot initiate talks? Why I can’t jump into a random group talk and make myself comfortable? Why I can’t pass a smile to everyone and act like we have been friends forever?

I just couldn’t do any of above.
Sending a Facebook friend request, or hitting the follow button on IG was a complete no-no for me!

I was assumed as self centered, proud and egotistical.

These were the very first impressions I had on people right after the exchange of names. A very dear friend of mine revealed her opinion about me as soon as we got friendzoned, that too after alot of struggle from both our sides and that was “I always saw you as the angry one before

The silent ones do give a tough time to everyone, don’t they?
Maybe because they are afraid to engage in idle talks having no appropriate matter.
Or maybe because they hold a firm belief on

A shut mouth gathers no flies“.

Anyway, then came the age when our desi society finds a girl all ready to be adorned with the best of clothes and shoes for that one special day, showing up with trays or trolleys carrying a plate of circularly alligned biscuits overlapping each other (most commonly), a dish containing kebabs (shami kebabs to be precise) and a fork, a crystal bowl of polychromatic nimco (not very common but still practiced), the famous yellow bakery wala cake cut in slices sitting lengthwise in the middle of a plate overlapping each other, and lastly a tea set reserved in every home for special guests containing the most ehtimaam se banai gai Chae because she is now eligible for the mandatory match-making and being examined from the first hair strand on her head to her last toe nail. (I went through none of the above but witness it happening alot)

My family was actually worried and concerned about me because of the mere fact that I wouldn’t talk, A LOT!

That’s when I started to build an inferiority complex inside myself. I used to invent topics in my head so that I can have something to talk about. Something to say.

But how could I talk?

How could I just blabber things in order to gain few welcomes in the rishta culture?

Couldn’t I just be a good listener?

Is the action of ‘talking’ that much of an obligatory part for a girl’s identity?

Since we lived abroad back then, my grandmother (may her soul rest in peace) used to call my mother saying time and again k “Taskeen se kaho sab se baat kiya karey agey barh barh k.

Because I know there are girls out there who don’t need a push to engage in conversations.

There are girls who have the ability to pass a smile or greeting as a result of a mere eye contact.

There are girls who can have endless talks over a cell phone and need to be reminded about their pending chores.

There are girls who can easily match their chemistry with others befriending mostly everyone on their way.

There are many of them.

Plenty of them!

And I wasn’t one of them. (Read am instead of wasn’t)

My mother used to force me to have an ear to ear smile and get myself engaged in talks. Sometimes scolding,

Sometimes piyar se

In a taunting voice,

And then dara k

But since it wasn’t in my nature, I had to fight myself to obey. I got rebellious back in those days. Confronting people and meeting them was the last thing I wanted to do. I disliked welcoming guests at home because that called for continuous blabbering without hardly a minute or two of silence. Ammi while randomly talking to her friends used to say “She is all sober. I am so worried about her“.

And then 2, 3 aunties breaking the typical aunty-ism came to my rescue saying

Sober aur suljhi hui larkian aqalmand hoti hain, humein tou aesi he pasand hain

Not that I got married to any of those aunties sons yet happily married to the man of my dreams Alhamdolillah, but this one compliment boosted me up.

It made me realize a few things.

1. You should be comfortable in your own skin.

2. It’s not obnoxious to be all sober and serious.

3. Do not, I repeat DO NOT compare yourself with any of your sibling, friend, cousin, or any other xyz.

4. Whatever nature you possess, you should be able to carry it in the best possible and dignified manner.

Just love yourself the way you are and others will start loving you. Show your hidden potentials to the world without any comparison to others. And one day you surely will be acknowledged for who you are.

The true you.

The honest you.

The real you.

Concluding this with a self invented thought,
The beauty of silent ones lies in their quietness same as the charm of chatty ones lies in their talks


Do let me know about any of the struggles you faced being not very talkative…

When Maturity Strikes

What does maturity mean?

In simple terms, it means the state of being mature.

This state doesn’t confine solely to the physical growth of a person. It also (majorly) refers to the bloom of emotions and escalation of thoughts. It occurs when depth of anything is more visible to the naked eye than the surface alone. When you can see and think beyond the boundaries. It happens when the human brain blossoms and the thoughts racing within find a new fathomless dimension. It hits when your heart is touched by tiny acts that never made sense before.

Maturity is a perspective that is unseen before it hits. It is an enormous plain with a single entrance and no exit. Once entering it, the naive and immature you is lost somewhere behind.

Maturity strikes when you are able to see through your heart and feel through your soul.

It happens when you can listen to the sea waves while enjoying their chorus and understanding the untold stories it conveys with every motion.

When you can understand the melodious rustling of leaves while inhaling the fresh cool breeze fluttering against your skin.

When you start enjoying the fragrance of moist sand after rain and every dew drop seems to be a shining pearl. The pearl of hope.

When the darkness prevails, the night extends its realms and you can feel all ecstasies of the night’s calmness searching peace within.

Maturity occurs when you can see the pain behind smiles and sorrows behind happiness. When you can recognize the forgone youth behind those fine lines on an old man’s face.

Maturity comes when you can differentiate between an apparent liking and the real love. When deep words of poetry and drama dialogues start making sense to you.

When forgiveness matters more than revenge. When silence feels more comfortable than nonsense. When your heart becomes more welcoming and hostile than ever before.

You are a mature being when one day you notice the hardness of your father’s palms depicting an entire lifetime of struggles and hard work. When you realize the endeavors of your mother throughout your up bringing while looking silently at her swollen feet.

When you have your heart aching while any of your sibling is passing through a difficult time. When death of a loved one shakes you real hard and pushes you to 10 years further.

Maturity does occur when one day you are out of your high school and the life suddenly feels changed. When looking at the few notes and coins inside your wallet at the end of the month throws you in calculations and evaluations. When the carefree you at once changes to the responsible and concerned one.

Maturity comes to hug you when there is no other option in front of you but stepping into the practical world, confronting its ruthless blows and embracing its bitter realities with a smile.

When did you step into the merciless world of maturity?

Also read: The First Matters

The First Matters

Either say it as “the first matters” or “the first, matters“; Life is a series of the many first moments because there has to be a first time to everything. It is a sequence of some pleasant and nasty events successing one another. The human brain tends to forget a couple of things but what it cannot omit from within is the first success achieved no matter how big or small that was or the first failure encountered, the extent of which might have brought a trivial loss or a shattering outcome.

Everyone remembers their first times of everything.

Because the occurance of those things, happenings or events has a great deal of emotions attached. They are stored in the part of your heart and brain that doesn’t have an edit or delete option. Those first moments are the read only memories of one’s life.

Remember your first crush?

Or the first time you confessed about your love?

When you first secured a distinction in a subject or the first time you failed a monthly test?

When you for the first time baked a cake or a pizza and it got burnt?

The first time you wrote a poem or started drawing that got published irrespective of lacking perfection.

Mine in bottom right corner of Thursay magazine Oman, 2005

The first car you drove or the day you got the license?

First day of yours in a college or university (because one cannot remember the first one at school)

Remember your first job and your first pay no matter how low or high it was?

The first time you got engaged and it broke off unfortunately?

Your very first residence?

The first time you proposed and got rejected or married?

First thing you bought together after your wedding for your home? (For me it was a laundry basket 😁)

First vacation as a family?

The first time you conceived and sadly it didn’t continue?

No matter how immature/mature you were, you still remember most of those precious times don’t you?

Well I do. Most of them actually.

Life is just a matter of the very beginnings. The successions may continue to happen but it’s about the moments that top the list. That when you pen down in a diary mark the starting of its page.

For parents however, specially the mother, each first and every milestone of her child is the paramount of her motherhood. From the moment she conceived a tiny little nothing to seeing him/her growing into a complete beautiful human getting married and having children.

It leads her.

Drives her

Urges her to strive for better each day.

A hope for providing the best.

The first time she felt the kick inside her womb. When the little nothing hit her hard enough to mark its presence inside and then when she heard the first cry of her baby and started crying herself looking at the miracle she just gave birth to. When she for the first time held him in her arms and then placed him right on her heart to feel the strength of connection and warmth of the tiny little body. The day when baby sat without a support, then stood one day and started walking. The day he grew his first milk teeth.

Baby’s first birthday which you start planning right after his birth. Out of all other birthdays, the first one is special of its kind because you spend months in deciding the birthday theme, dresses, decor, food menu and what not (Nostalgic feels).

I decided on a Royal theme for my son’s first birthday

The first day of your baby’s school when he cried his lungs out and you were left with no choice but staying strong fighting back your own tears.

The first time your baby had to appear for a test despite being asked to just spell a ‘Cat‘. And from there beginning a never-ending series of countless assignments, tests and homeworks.

An examination of a lifetime.

A mother remembers it all. She doesn’t need any record books. The dates, the moments automatically engrave themselves on her mind and heart. Because motherhood is all about emotions, power and control. It’s about the authority. Authority to take charge and make the best of everything for her child. Authority to mark the beginnings. The power to celebrate and rejoice every milestone achieved and every first that occured.

Because a mother is a sovereign of her own kingdom.

The kingdom of her motherhood.

Let’s talk ‘Post Marriage Happiness’

The word ‘happiness’ holds within an ocean of meanings and factors contributing to the state of just being happy. It’s not just a word. It’s an entire sea of emotions motioning with waves of contentment, pleasure, well-being, energy, liveliness, self satisfaction, high spirits and good relationships to name a few. It happens when your heart and mind are in uniformity with each other.

Our society however fails to understand this. It overlooks the depth of feelings and attributes a “zaati ghar, gaari, bangla, nokar chaakar” as the ultimate sources of happiness. When objected, people say things like “Allah ka dia sab kuch tou hai. Aur kia chaiye?

What they don’t seem to realize is that it’s totally absurd to link happiness with material things. A ghar gaari bangla cannot ever be standards measuring it. Yes, these may be vital for your good living but just them alone cannot necessarily make you entirely happy. There is a chain of factors linked with the state of being contented through your heart and soul.

In the society we live in, a girl after hardly a week to her marriage is asked “Khush tou ho na?” Though no one has dictated this before to her but she herself comes to the realization that saying a NO will absolutely mess up things for her. A woman’s level of happiness cannot be calculated in a day or a week. Though having good inlaws and a very supportive husband does matter alot. But it takes time. Years maybe. Adjusting in the new phase of life and seeking happiness in little things around you is not easy. You have to fight your inner self and mould yourself to adapt to new changes. Your hormones in the entire journey never leave you and keep adjusting themselves in this new phase of life with you taking a toll on your mood, nature and personality whenever they feel like.

The magical period of honeymoon too doesn’t last long. You have to get over with it someday because practicality and real life problems await you with open arms ready to hug you tight nearly squeezing your ribs and sometimes suffocating you. The fairytale period has to end one day with a pat on your shoulder saying “Adios! A whole new life welcomes you

That’s when the bubble bursts and you are hit hard with a thud on ground.

Because yes, you were flying before.

Flying in the fairyland.

Dreaming.

Hoping that life pauses.

Wishing for the time to stop.

But it doesn’t. It is meant to go on. There is no way back. You may look back and cherish those moments but you cannot entirely bring the time back.

Saying for myself, I got married and shifted to Karachi while my parents still stayed abroad. There was no such thing like my maika here. No weekend plans of visiting my parent’s house and staying overnight. No gossip sessions with my sisters. It was all over my face. The longing of snuggling in my mom’s arms and having a heart to heart conversation with my dad. Mobile phones and video calls cannot replace the warmth attached with the human touch. People with the mentality “ab tou Skype, Whatsapp, Imo hai. Ab konsi doori ka ehsaas” either have no feelings or they are very hard at their hearts. Because none of this can ever replace your bond with family.

Once back from my loveliest honeymoon, my dark days started. That was the time I had sudden outbursts of crying. Mood swings at its peak. Anger management issues. Nothing made me happy. I was trying hard to accomodate myself in new lifestyle. Socializing with people was so difficult. I forgot what does laughing from inside mean. I had stomach upsets every other day. And then there were countless questions like

Ammi abbu yaad atey hain?“, “Karachi mein set hogai ho?“.

How can people be so cruel to know what you are going through and still asking the same to satisfy their inquisitions.

Yes, I wasn’t happy back then. Disappointed with myself for failing to cope up with my new relationships. Complaining to god as to why only me without my parents staying at the same place. Why I don’t get to visit them every week like other girls. Why I don’t have no one here to vent my heart out.

I remember seeing off my family at the airport when for the first time they were leaving after my marriage and I cried a river. From seeing them off till getting back home all I did was just crying. The security officials stopped my husband on the way back at a place or two and inquired as who am I to him. He had to show our wedding pictures as a proof of our relation and then he begged me to stop crying.

The newly married me was in a state of utter dejection.

I was covered with gloom from head to toe. A genuine laugh from me was forgone.Yeah it was that bad.

I then tried hard to embrace my new life and sought my support system in my mil and fil. I had my husband’s back throughout. My sil used to cheer me up as much as she could. She being a recently married girl understood me so well when at times my husband failed to do so. Because after all it was a new journey for him too. And some how, with time it started getting better.

I started owning my house. Started getting possessive about it. One day I walked through every room of my home, touched every nook and corner and whispered “yes it is mine. I belong here“. The mango tree in front yard was mine. The fruit it bore the next summer, I proudly called it mine and bragged to everyone about those desi ghar k aam. Mere ghar k aaam!

It took time. A year for me.

This journey of ownership and control took alot of patience, courage and strength from me. It took 12 months to get used to all this. 12 months to cook what I liked and to express my likings and dislikes. 12 months to share my opinions in the house. 12 months to open up regarding my feelings and expressions.

All this taught me how to be expressive. How to be happy with things and relationships I have around me. And slowly the void in my life started filling. Though I had that typical ghar gaari bangla but happiness was what was missing. I started getting excited to eat a thailey wali chaat and gandey wale french fries. Aalu k samosey and kachoris. Mirchili ki samosa chaat and Gappa gotala and 50 rupees wale bun kabab. Started memorising the roads of Karachi because it was now my home. Gradually, I got in love with this city of lights and recommended people about the newly opened restaurants here. Started going shopping to Ashiyana, Gulf, Tariq road with my mil and sil not out of formality but because I was willing. Willing to explore the unseen.

Yes all this took time. But I am happy I aced it. I finally found happiness. No one sold it ever. It was within me. I just had to discover it and I am glad I did. I brought back my lost smiles. My endless laughters. And now I am fully contented, satisfied, happy and thankful.

Initially, it’s hard for every girl getting married. Specially a girl moving to another country. Leaving behind her best friends and family. Because marriage itself is a roller coster ride in a topsy turvy land at start. Acceptability and realization are the keys to enjoy it. The sooner, the better.

Did you go through a hard time seeking happiness after marriage?

Do let me know how did you cope with it.

A day without maid

Day today started with the usual drill. Silencing the alarm with barely an eye open, leaving the warmth of my bed, sitting up for a minute to gather up all my strengths, lifting my heavy feet to leave the room because Mr.kitchen was calling my name to prepare my son’s lunch. Then waking him up, getting him ready for school, seeing him off with his father and returning to my room to tidy it up. Musing between having another brief round of sleep or remaining awake to welcome my maid, I decided the latter.

Scrolling between the television channels for time killing purpose I glanced up at my clock and it showed 10.30am. The exact time when she shows up daily.

Expecting my doorbell to ring any second from now, I sat upright and all ready to receive her with an inner mocking voice “han han ao tou sahi. Bohot kaam parey hain tumhare liye”..

Dismissing it with a complete nod of my head and laughing at myself for this evil-ish thought I made a virtual list of tasks in my mind that needed to be completed by my house help. Suddenly I realized it has been a little up than 10.30am. Caught between slight horror and brief shock of panic, I again checked the time.

11 am!! 30 mins past the time she usually shows up!!

My heart thudded minorly but I assured myself saying “abi aati he hogi. Dair se nikli hogi shayad. Thori dair aur intezar karlu”. The clock kept on ticking with minutes turning to 1 hour and then two and it (my wall clock) continued bawling at me the entire time. Walking sluggishly, I peeped into my kitchen to examine about all the ifs, buts and thens and what I felt right after was my heart throbbing, legs shaking, hands trembling and myself feeling sheepish from head to toe at the sight of the kitchen sink overloaded with dirty utensils because “bartan dhona” is the last task I would like to perform before dying but however, I do it when needed.

Again comforting myself with the words “thori dair aur wait kar k dekh leti hu”, I munched on a granola bar because it didn’t require another plate off shelf and falsely because “ek plate bachane se bohot farq par jaega jese”..

The clock struck 12:00 pm!

With an utter disbelief and hasty glance of these digits at my mobile screen (because I found the wall clock to be staring and laughing at me with a big wide mouth) , I stood up assuring myself its time now and advanced towards the kitchen reluctantly touching the first dirty dish and scrubbing it with a faint hope still somewhere inside me saying “Shayad aa jae”.

The time as it stops for no one kept on passing and all dishes were finally done washing. With shabby hands and a sigh from somewhere deep down in my heart, the kitchen slabs and stove was then cleaned, the floor mopped and dishes arranged on shelves. Leaving the kitchen I finally whispered to myself “And Alas! She didn’t come today”. Only if she could have informed earlier and I had been mentally prepared for this kind of unexpected start to my day.

Relishing the lavishness according to one’s affordable limits, having a domestic helper for your home now has become a necessity rather than a luxury as it was once assumed. And even now, many Pakistanis living abroad long for this because of expensive manual labor outside Pakistan. Memories of the distributed house chores between me, my mother and sisters are still fresh in my mind from our time back in Muscat bacause hiring a maid was expensive and minorly because my father is of the thinking “Larkiyo ko sab kaam aney chaiye ta k waqt parne pe koi mushkil na ho”. Which I after having a son believe equally important for boys too and already talked about that in my blogpost ‘breaking the stereotype’. Kher, coming towards the context, we had days and timings fixed with alotted duties to the three of us and me sometimes enjoying the perks of being the eldest would bribe my sisters to do my part.

Being married in Pakistan, we already had a domestic help and my family shifting back to Pakistan afterwards, the first thing my mother did was hiring a maid she most longed for living abroad. And now on my daily calls to Ammi when I don’t get to visit her the first question we mutually ask is “Aaj Shahida ai thi?”, “Han ai thi tumhari taraf Tahira ai?” As if maid na hui koi ghar ka fard hogai jiski kheriat maloom karna is so mandatory!

This surely indicates our maids being an integral part of our households with a prominent importance to be asked for and being worried about if they don’t show up.

However they are also humans and no robots. They may need a day or two off for any xyz reason which can be overlooked on humanitarian grounds. 🙂

Had a day without your maid?

I will be glad knowing your experiences with the house chores.