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.

The Baba Fever

Yes you read that right!

Out of the many other ongoing fevers among kids including the “baby shark doo doo doo” being my favorite too, the baba fever (or whatever the child calls his/her father) has always sustained its place in most of the houses and many children fall prey to this bemusing virus leaving their mothers puzzled and unable to take hold of the situation at times. You must be thinking what’s this new thing about. So let me give a few explanations to further clear the presumptions you are already making towards it.

The first time you get to know you are expecting a baby, your heart swells with joy and happiness. You try to ace the 9 months duration enduring all the hardships and other difficulties that come along as a combined pregnancy package just for the sake of this new comer that’s growing inside and is the closest to its mother than anyone else. There is a strange communication of the unspoken words and feelings going on between you two. And as the due date approaches, you get excitedly eager to see the face of this amazing little soul you have been nourishing inside for a long time and connecting with for the entire period. Finally one day the curtains are lifted and boooom! He turns out to be resembling to not you but somehow to his father! Anyhow, our mind completely overrules this sarcasm of fate because after all it’s the little one’s father you fell in love with first!

The second bombshell falls on you when the baby enters the age where he starts babbling and guess what the first properly formed completely audible word that comes out of his mouth is? It is “Baba”!!!

*empathetic tap on shoulder*

At this very moment you do feel a little blue with a pang of realization that all those endless days and nights of you staying awake feeding, burping, changing diapers and clothes and sheets while dozing off and aching to get a little rest finally payed off with an Oh so dear “Baba” and not “Mamma” for the start.
But we mothers falsely try to overlook this reality too completely being lost in the euphoria of celebrating the fact that our baby finally started speaking. People in the surroundings inquisitively ask if the baby speaks a word or two yet and we proudly declare “Yes! He says Baba”

Ironic isn’t it

*(Now this one is for the mothers who have borne some extraordinary clingy children towards their father)*

Moving on further, the baby that is now a toddler has fully developed his sense of importance pertaining to both his parents who sees his mother as the epitome of love and care and his father as an ultimate source of fulfilling all his materialistic demands along with ‘car mein bahar le k jana’!
The worst case scenario then happens when Baba goes out of town for a few days for work matters. That’s when a few mothers like me realize how badly we are failing to tackle the situation despite trying our level best because of the immense tantrums our toddler is throwing all day and night due to these few days of detachment with baba. All day long you are tormented having to hear your toddler crying his lungs out and saying “Baba chaiyen”, Baba pass jana hai“, “Baba kab aenge?” You get tired of answering the same thing again and again but they never get exhausted repeating the same question“When will Baba come?”. And even worst is when your phone lights up ringing with your better half’s name and you are unable to speak because another severe round of crying has just started in front of you and you only get to answer back and say “baad mein baat karti hu”.

This is when helplessness strikes you so hard and rather than being jealous and having no time for letting your heart out which is equally necessary to keep your sanity intact, you decide to summon all your strengths and try your best to shower all the fatherly love but at the end of the day you are a mother! A compassionate mother personifying unconditional love whose job is to brush her unshed tears aside, tenderly open arms to receive her crying baby, squeeze him into a Mama Bear Hug, nestle him warmly in your lap and say “Soon Inshallah”!

Ever happened to go through this? Let me know how you survived via comment or email. 🙂

Proving it wrong

Unfortunately we belong to a society which has already set attributes that go along with either of the two sexes. So if you happen to be a female, then congratulations! There are a number of traits you are required to possess. And if by any chance you don’t own a few of them then you are declared with a lack of feminism or a female heart.

A few of the constant things we have been hearing soon after entering teenage go like Pair jor k chalo, oonchi awaz se ni haso, aese ni betho, aese ni khao etc etc etc. I myself don’t have that typical woman-ish gait because maybe my feet are not designed to walk that way. And yes my laugh has been quite famous back in school, among my friend circle and family. But I survived and got married too. So these are forcibly believed to be a hindrance in the rishta stuff and moreover I guess it is totally okay to be yourself.

Apart from all this, “the love of cats” is a basic rudiment attached to the female gender. She is considered “oh so cute” and very “girlish” if she does have some pet love in her heart but why only Cats?? There are many out there who may have “Ailurophobia” which is the extreme, irrational fear of cats and me being a severe case of that.

Now, What do you call a girl if she rather opts for love of reptiles?Instead of loving cats, I do have a soft corner in my heart and a lot of love for all species of reptiles since I was a little girl. I have always had this feeling of being able to interact with them through my bare hands and naked eyes.

This was my first time holding a turtle back in 2010. Cute isn’t it?

Being a roach and lizard killer of my pre marriage and post marriage home, my family has admired me for this and at the same time loathed the fact that how on Earth can a girl do this. But since everyone else fears them, this responsibility automatically falls on my shoulders solely.

Earlier this year while vacationating in Malaysia I found some lifetime moments to cherish. The butterfly farm in Cameron highlands has far more creatures than just butterflies.

As soon as we got off the bus in Cameron highlands from KL we signed up for a sight seeing tour because we had only a day there to explore. Among the most famous tea fields, Rose garden, bee farm and strawberry farm the butterfly farm has my heart.

Moving a bit further from the butterfly family, the farm caretaker took us towards what took me by surprise and extreme happiness. He offered us tourists if we would like to hold them and me without having a second thought and looking at my husband who was already gaping at me with wide horror eyes I willingly took hold of this.

And this…

The one below was rather a cute leafy something.

My family had little issues seeing these pictures until the one below. They were literally on the verge of out casting me unless I pleaded them and made all realize k these are also a makhlooq of Almighty. Received a lot of “Hawwws” and “Hayee” and “Ewwws” but shoq ka koi mole nahi.

You can see the tourists in background amazed and laughing.

The story doesn’t end here. I found it to be very less of a snake and more of a thin rope which didn’t give me enough pleasure to be claiming to carry or hold a full fledged snake. So my hunt for a proper, big and a more beautiful snake began. And secondly I had to make my husband hold it too because dar k agey jeet hai. And thirdly for everyone to know that there is no harm in girls being daring. It doesn’t make them manlike.

After Cameron, went to Langkawi from Penang and searched a lot till we got to know there’s a big one there in Langkawi Bird Park. When reached there we got to know there are still 3 hrs for the photo shoot with the gorgeous reptile. My husband was so happy and relieved because of the fact that we couldn’t stay that long as we were running short of time and had to leave within an hour to cover other sights. But me being so eager and persistent on have the moment of my life talked to one of the workers there and requested a lot to free open it for just one picture as I came a long way for only that. He sensed the plead in my voice and asked me to wait so that he may talk to the head of the park about that. And to my sheer joy what happened next was this…

My last goal was to persuade Mr.husband to have a pic of himself clicked like this to which his reply was a straight “NO” signalling end of any debate or further discussion. That same worker helped him relax a lot and while other wives ask their husbands to help them in house chores, I asked him to do a thing like this so that when we grow old together, we have a lot to smile about and cherish. And so that I may prove to my son and future daughter that it is very much acceptable for girls to follow their heart and be daring with no stopping if they have the passion. Because the Haw Haye brigade of our society however despises girls for such interests which is wrong.

Just do what you love irrespective of your sex and socially set rules. Feel obliged towards following your heart and mind. Because you don’t have to be a male to be fearless and courageous and anything that comes under the category of dauntless and valiant can never ever question your gender.

Yes I am a girl and I cannot necessarily like cats.
Yes I am a girl and I can love snakes and lizards and roaches.
Yes I am a girl and I can do whatever I love to within my known limits.

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What are your comments on this? I shall be happy to know.

Breaking the stereotype

We desi people living in the 21st century when get to know about someone expecting a child, the first thing we observe as our duty is to pass our greetings by saying:

Ye beta beti kuch ni hota, aaj kal dono barabar hain. Bus aulad naik aur sehatmand ho.

This particular thought of ours is absolutely positive and the need of this hour except for some typical aunties of the uninviting mindset beta burhapey ka sahara“, “beta baap ka baazuand some vain stuff like that. Speaking of myself, we are 3 sisters only but lets leave its pros and cons for some other time.

Anyways, soon after the baby is born, this notion diminishes somewhere when we start associating the term “boyish” with babyboys and “girlishwith babygirls. May it be about colors, toys, activities and xyz other things except clothes. There is no rule of thumb like this but just in our minds as I too am very much peculiar about the color blue for my son. But I guess it is absolutely okay for him to wear some unisex shades of pinks as well. So, I hope my point now justifies.

Now, let me share a small incident about gender inequality with you all that forced me to highlight this topic.

My son being a youtube geek, apart from watching the famous Baby shark doo doo doo”, loves to watch cute baby videos of them playing, singing or engaging in other activities. One day I peeped into what he was watching because there’s something known as parental control.

What caught my attention was a little girl cutting some sort of detachable wooden veges and Arsal was so keenly watching her do that. The sound those veges made being slaughtered (as forcefully she was cutting them) was so real that I couldn’t help myself thinking about the mechanism they followed.

The other day while window shopping in Miniso (luckyone mall), I saw a box of those same cute little veges. With my mind already made up for buying it if not for Arsal then for myself because dil tou bacha hai jeee, I still found the courtesy in asking him if he wants it.

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With just a brief “yes” he excitedly grabbed it from the shelf and ran off to show it to his baba. We bought it and got home. When I told a few people about these interesting little pieces, I got to hear things like,

Isse boys thori khelte hain

And

Ye tou girls ki cheezain hain

These were said by the same people who brag about their open mindedness by saying the very same thing “ye beta beti kuch ni hota……”. If such was the case, there wouldn’t have been a single male chef in the entire world or a ladies tailor who is a male either.

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Instead of nourishing such thoughts, please stand against them. Encourage your sons if they show interest in various kitchen tasks because the word “kitchen” is linked to the female gender since forever which is absolutely mistaken. And secondly because there is no harm in learning a bit more than just chae banana and anda ubaalna.

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After all, a good son today will be a better husband tomorrow. And I will be more than happy and proud to embrace this reality because it is a mother who shapes good husbands for future.

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Pride in one’s mother tongue

Today, when I see my kid burbling some of the famous urdu poems like “Aalu Miyan” and “Hathi mera sathi”, I have a feeling of pride and joy because having studied outside Pakistan myself and specially going to a pre-school where the only medium of study was English and no other language not even Arabic, I was unaware of such cute poems that bring you real close to your mother tongue.

Back in those days there was no vast reach of internet either. So, when we used to travel to Pakistan for vacations and I used to see my cousins singing these poems, it looked so awkward to me and I used to think “poems in urdu for real??”

But now when I see my kid humming these famous poems among many others, I do feel proud because I didn’t get to learn these in the first place. And the first time he came to me and said “Mamma, Aalu miyan”, I literally opened youtube and learnt it myself so that Arsal may realize it’s fun to learn things in Urdu as well and that his mamma knows them too.

There is absolutely no shame if a Pakistani child is grasping Urdu a little ahead of English because at the end of the day, Twinkle twinkle little star, Johny Johny and Baa baa black sheep tou har bachey ko he ajati hai! These 3 poems are like the first day lessons when he/she is born!!

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P.s Not the first Jummah in school but Arsal’s first Jummah wearing Kurta Shalwar to school Mashallah. ❤

Introduction

Hey there everyone, welcome to my blog.

My name is Syeda Taskeen Fatima. I am a post teenage adult who moved from Middle East to Karachi after marriage and is still in the exploring phase.

Soon after stepping into motherhood, I have been taking note of tiny little things that have a greater impact on your life in a positive way and thus, decided to start a blog where I shall be sharing my views, opinions and experiences about many big and small matters that are a part of a daughter, sister, wife and a mother’s life.

Hoping this new venture of mine will benefit many of you. And yeahhh, I won’t mind suggestions and feedback. Feel free to leave comments under the comment section.

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Hope you guys have a good time reading through.

Follow me on instagram at http://instagram.com/taskeen.stf