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.

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…

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.

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. ❤