EmmeFemme.

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If you have been following this blog, you’ll know that this is not the first blog I had; I chronicled a darker time, a toxic relationship with myself and with the characters in my life at that time. Now that that has passed, I can think back rationally and say [to myself], ‘SHIT,WHAT THE HELL??’

Abuse was the first topic I blogged about on this blog and then I worked my way out of it. Everything started going up once I learnt to unchain myself to memories and keep them as files- as they were probably meant to be. You don’t need to constantly berate yourself on mistakes you made, or worse, punish yourself for mistakes someone else said you made- which you probably didn’t. Relationships run their courses. Friendships end. Associations are terminated. You’re at point zero.

But is point zero a bad thing?

No. Because you can only go up from here. Climb from the obscurity to touch the trees and see LIGHT. It’s a wonderful world out there if you can let go of all the screaming and yelling and be true to YOU.

You.

 

And do not let anyone tell you OTHERWISE. Believe in you. Have faith in YOU. Strive to be the BEST YOU CAN BE.

Now, because I saw this while writing this ‘Love-thyself’ post, I am going to remind all of you to remind your neighbor- regardless of color, creed, orientation, whatever. Those who incite HATE are not worth your time.

This Reverend reminds of us of something IMPORTANT, that there are SICK individuals out there. I do wish that he had Spoken MORE about how to LOVE each other but this is probably an excerpt from his whole sermon. We need to have more conversations on how NOT To segregate our community.

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Sometimes I feel that humans forget the value of HUMAN lives. I’ve seen people pounce on the parents of the Alligator victim in Orlando Florida or the parents of the child who fell into the Gorilla’s enclosure last month resulting in the gorilla being shot. I am so glad to see people feel strongly about animals but FOR GOODNESS SAKE, have the same regard for HUMAN lives. Don’t sit there and blame parents when they are grieving…I understand your love for animals might be super strong BUT PLEASE KNOW that a child is PRECIOUS to their parents. You can’t GET another child back. Ever thought…what if that child was the only child parents could have. Some comments have been DOWNRIGHT MEAN. What happened to SUPPORTING one another in times of need? Why can’t we help one another…? LOVE Yourself and LOVE your neighbors, the world NEEDS IT RIGHT NOW…

 

What a rant …PHEW.

 

It’s been a while.

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So the wedding happened, the post wedding dinners happened, the mini-moon happened, and then we ran into a snag. May God help us, this too shall pass. IN SHA ALLAH. (Ameen).

Married life is different. No matter how many times you prepare for it in your head, it’s just different. It’s not bad different, or scary different- it’s ohmygod-sharing-a-bed-with-someone-different. And you learn a few things about yourself when you do get married. I suppose you will keep learning as you grow, but the you learn a bit more about yourself when you have to share yourself with another person. It’s different!

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My veil … and the NONRed outfit

So my wedding was pretty …it was pretty much a BLUR to me. When I see pictures, I still can’t believe that was me a mere 3 months ago. I didn’t actually think my wedding would come together the way it did- so quickly and with no major disasters…I mean there was that issue of my karighar ruining my wedding dress days before my wedding dress, but the replacement dress was a gift from Allah. I really was NOT sure about it at all, particularly because it was a very A-Typical color, but it fit lovely, It shone so bright and when I put it on the day of my wedding, my husband was blown away.

I chose to go a little more traditional by veiling my face during my entrance, Nikkah, and rukhsati. My mother in law loved the idea and has been talking about it since I got married. Cool fact: my mom picked the fabric for my husbands shehrwani and it was GORGEOUS. Having a mom with great design aesthetic is FABULOUS !

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Jhoota Chupai DURING the Dhoodh pilai – two traditions in one !

My dhoodh pilai was filled with fun drama, completely enjoyed it! My best friend was in charge of the bargaining- she ‘made’ the glass (pretty sure she had help! 🙂 ) and she is the closest I have to a sister , right in the same league as my sister in law. I wish several other friends had joined in- notably absent from that was my friend who came from Karachi and had been staying with me… but i probably made the mistake of not saying anything and just assuming she’d be there …aye haye!  The only set back was my husbands flirty friend…who gave the dhoodh pilai- ers way less than the money my husband allotted for the occasion. But Ok… whatever. It’s over!

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The dhoodh pilai glass.

My rukhsati was pretty emotional… for my dad 🙂 Yes…dad cried. I didn’t shed too many tears because I knew I’d pop home for a visit the next day…and I DID! But i really did feel special and I always cry watching my wedding video and my wedding images.

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Saying Allah Hafiz…for the night

Saying Allah Hafiz to your dad is definitely hard work. Watching his teary ears elicits tears. That’s the only time I cried a bit but thankfully Mama calmed him down and my mother in law told me to not ruin my face because i had to show it to my new husband. I was like…oh man… 😛

So when I finally got home…guess what!? There was a photographer pushing for a photoshoot that no one had any energy for. I just wanted to let my hair down, take a pill and sleep. (I mean, this blog is rated PG and I for Islamically approved by my own conscience!)

SO THE next day was the walima and I was pretty happy that I chose not to have a mendhi (I had a dholki a whole week prior to my wedding) because getting ready a second day was a nightmare. I definitely think the whole getting ready process is overpriced; it’s also tense because it’s the most important day of your life and you want to look AMAZING and these Salon people keep throwing charges at you. HOWEVER, I will say that I was very satisfied with my make up artists at Ather Shahzad. Shahzad Raza saw me the day of my baraat and had a few compliments to throw at me 🙂 which was actually really lovely. I did recommend the salon to my friends for their special days but yes…I do believe the cost of getting ready is sky rocketing. It actually shouldn’t be so expensive because the amount of product being used on you is minimal. The expertise is there BUT it’s only for a limited amount of time.

I really worked hard to have my walima wedding shoot at my husbands old school- and it was quite the idea 🙂 A wedding shoot at Aitchison was a perfect idea! My husband was SO happy and the images turned out LOVELY!

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Walking down memory lane with my husband

Also, I wore a mint green- at least you can see this outfit versus my baraat dress, which you can’t see because i don’t have an image like this to show you.

I also have to mention my photographers … I found them on facebook of all places and they were so willing to work with me that it made the experience a lot better. They had to hear a lot of complaints from me, butttt they knew this was from a jittery bride and they took it all in stride. I definitely recommend them because they do TRY harder than a lot of other photographers out there. They wont break the bank either and tend to work with people with budgets.

JAS Photography did a wonderful job and if you have a wedding, they are an option to bear in mind!

I can’t remember who did the catering, but i heard good things about the food both days…I wouldn’t know because I didn’t eat a thing on either the baraat or the Walima – Not eating on your wedding days is not smart, don’t do that. You’ll go home and ask for food and no one will have food because no one has cooked food for the day because they cook fresh at home and lunch wala food was all finished. So don’t be dumb and EAT SOMETHING.

Also, here’s a religious tip for anyone who wants to take it: make sure to read Surah Noor before the wedding. That’s what my phupho told me to do and I dutifully obliged.

Tada! That’s it folks 🙂 Have a wonderful day.

The Truth

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Zahra Haider’s  article on what she learnt having sex in Pakistan was a small truth; but it doesn’t define the whole of Pakistan or Pakistani’s. She doesn’t claim to define Pakistanis either (insert sigh of relief). I found the article interesting, but nothing she said was ‘explosive’ or ‘bold’ to me.

I was not surprised by Zahra’s admission to having slept with a dozen different men- she isn’t the only one. She has a point- there are plenty of sexually repressed people out there, who are looking for private sanctuaries and rooms to fulfill their sexual fantasies. There are people open to sex. And this was a known fact to millennial’s in Pakistan whether they were from villages or cities, rich or poor, sex is important to many people.

Yes, sex is a taboo topic in this country, absolutely. I wish it wasn’t because then we could talk about how this country seriously needs sex education…but wait…some people ARE doing something about it. Sex Ed in Pakistan is happening…at least in a village. It has yet to hit main stream schools. As a former teacher, I did tell my students that their bodies were their own and no one had a right to touch them in a way that was improper- this too was explained in a child-friendly way.

Sex ed shouldn’t be scary, it shouldn’t be something humiliating- it’s necessary for boys and girls to understand the changes their bodies go through; they have a right to know that they shouldn’t be touched in certain areas…and as far as having consensual sex, that is not something that should be taught IN schools but something that young adults will learn on their own.

Does one have to tell their story the way Zahra did? I wouldn’t. Zahra did and she was willing to discuss this topic because a lot of it was about her feelings and her opinions. And that’s fine by me (not like she should care!) and people should stop sensationalizing what she said. She said it, if you have a different opinion, voice it out. Use whatever platform you have and talk about it.

I mentioned above that sex is important to many people in Pakistan, but a lot of them do not live lives where they feel sexually repressed- there are girls and boys doing different things with their lives and at this moment, sex might not be the biggest worry in their lives. There are plenty of new, young entrepreneurs out there who are busy carving their names out to be something.

We all live different lives and have different experiences- mine was totally different from Zahra’s . I lived in a world that had me shuttling between different continents every 6 months; my life has the acceptance of the two different cultures that makes me up and the knowledge that I got to pick my identity (or some people might say I have more than one identity, that’s fine by me). I accept myself and I accept everyone’s ability to pick their own identities. To live a healthy life, we should only be concerned with ourselves and care enough for our neighbors in such a way that it doesn’t become like you’re judging them. No one likes judgement. BUT then again, we live on Planet Earth and we are humans (no, no angels amongst us, I’m afraid) and there is some form of judgement…so learn to live with it and you’ll be fine.

So…Zahra actually didn’t learn much about sex or sexuality here in Pakistan- she learnt about it when she moved to Canada. I went to school in Canada…I didn’t learn much about sex there… but i wasn’t really looking and I guess things shocked me way less coming from a background that was an amalgamation of two cultures. Also, in no way does being religious ALWAYS make you judgmental. It’s a disease a lot of people suffer from even WITHOUT religious affiliations.

I’m going to end by saying that Sex happens in Pakistan and it also DOESN’T happen. It depends on who you are; Your experiences…and this is true for people around the world. Sex will ALWAYS happen, wherever you go- you just need to know if you want to or do not want to be involved. You , and only you, make that decision.

 

Set back.

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W’s father hasn’t improved much since surgery, and this week it was my turn to fall prey to infection. My infection didn’t hit my tummy or someplace you couldn’t see…it was RIGHT on my face! The left side of my face swelled up to at least 5 times its size! I swear, i thought my face looked like it was wearing a fat suit.

Basically, my dentist detected an infection on a root canal that was badly done apparently and he let it slide. Then he said that he would tackle it after the wedding…so there I was with an infected tooth, wandering around. The day after the visit, i felt weird. The day after that my tooth got EXTREMELY sensitive which didn’t make sense BECAUSE  a root canal renders your tooth insensitive. I was pretty scared. And then I noticed a weird swelling on my cheek. I was taken aback and I thought I was seeing things. By the 3rd day, the swelling and pain were undeniable, and I contacted my friends who were dentists. They recommended antibiotics and told me to keep calm. And then it blew up.

When I woke up the 4th day…oh that was Monday, my face had swelled even more, and my tooth hurt! I contacted my childhood dentist because I sure as hell wasn’t going back to the dentist who left me with an infection!He took a look at my face and my gums and was like…Ummmmmmm, i can’t do anything. You have to take antibiotics and hope pus comes out because that is one heck of an infection!

On Tuesday, I had to go to the hospital because LO an BEHOLD My face swelled up MAJORLY. By this point, my eye was closing rapidly because of the swelling. People were turning around to notice my fat face! When I got to the hospital, the doctors took me to see the vice principal of dentistry and he recommended I get my swelling drained because it was probably full of pus. 4 shots and two dentists later…I still had a swollen face but i did feel a bit better. The miracle was that the ‘dentists’ working on me were residents; young guys but with a gentle hand!I left pretty satisfied…but then again…I was pretty worried too…24 days to my wedding and I looked…well there’s no other word than terrifying.

It’s the day after my dental surgery and the swelling has gone down SIGNIFICANTLY. I would totally share pictures but…butttttt it’s better I don’t. I deleted them anyway. I can’t believe the last 4 days of my life… the drastic change in my face and the immense amount of panic I felt.

Has anything like this happened to any of you!?!??!?!!?!?!

SMILE and OOWWW!

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I am most definitely going through the worst toothache EVER. I think something is infected because there is definitely pain and its spreading and it feels warm and i think my gum is about to explode. OWW is an understatement. I’ve taken a pain killer and am headed to the dentist ASAP. I wonder if whatever infection is in whatever part of my mouth will spread…hopefully not 😦

So remember I told you guys I wanted to discover local brands? I messaged them and received the following replies 🙂

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So as you can see, the only brand that managed to give me a proper reply and pique my curiosity was Luscious. I’m giving MM cosmetics points for replying . OF COURSE i didn’t expect either Redah or MM to reply, but a good representative would’ve been sufficient.

Todays Adventure with W: So he comes over and, you guessed it, formality prevailed! And i’m talking, me not being there; me going to the roof to walk to wait till he leaves…Yeab, that’s too Sharmeeli- even for me. But i did it…for the most part until he walked back to the living room – he left to my dads mancave aka home office- only to see me and jump back out of the room. weeeeh me. A .5 second encounter with the man I am about to marry. The man who probably is getting as curious as I am to really know the person I have to share a bathroom with in 28 days. Freaking seriously?What if we don’t like the same brands of SHAMPOOS!EVER THOUGHT OF THAT!?!

We’ve managed to have a few serious conversations. Things that make me believe that there is hope…that things will be fine in sha Allah. I secretly (well, now it isn’t a secret) worry- just like anyone else about to tie the knot i guess. Perhaps it isn’t worry, it’s a whole bunch of emotions that just leave me…they render me semi confused to be honest. I enjoy these moments of silence, typing out what I feel…its gets it out of my system. I think every bride out there needs a way to get these feelings out- even if it’s utter joy. You need a place or a way to say or show it. And it’s gotta be your own way. Theres no right or wrong way to do it,say it, feel it…it just happens. I guess this is my way- I mean IT is.

One piece of advice people…stop butting noses in people’s business…Day before I heard of someone who stalked me on FB to find out what i looked like. W’s friends wife. She then sent W a picture of my Display Picture- W, by the way, is NOT on FB- and it was me on the couch at our ‘haan’ with an OMG on him, hiding his face. I am not hiding his face for any reason other than the fact that I want everyone to see him at the wedding, at the appropriate time. WHY does one have to do things the way other people want them to? This ‘well meaning friend’  can cause a lot of problems if she continues doing what she’s doing, feeding MY HUSBAND to be with ‘info’ . I’m lucky that W is smart enough to ask me, but I was absolutely grossed out by that dumb action. Realize that even small bits of unnecessary info can cause misunderstandings.

Over and Out.

Acquisition

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Technically, this post should be called ‘I-CANT-BELIEVE-THEY-BOUGHT-ME-THAT’ but i thought i would tone it down. A wedding, particularly a desi wedding, involves A LOT of shopping.

I think for once in my life, I feel incredibly overwhelmed.I also feel incredibly grateful but i haven’t been able to say thank you to my parents…its not that i don’t want to, its just that i feel so … shocked and it just doesn’t come out. Its an emotion that wants to thank them and thank God, but right now, i just don’t have words.  Lack of words. And here I am writing it down. I guess a card is in order.

I did write them a thank you not in my wedding invite- the printer made a mistake and forgot to write ‘A Message From the Bride’  on the top. I am horribly ticked off but can do nothing about it.

I was thinking how incredible its is to be getting married to people who don’t expect a girl to bring any materials to their home. Or if they do, they have not said anything. Having been through the rishta process for a while, I had seen and heard of people who asked for a dowry. And there are ways of doing it. And if you think a lot of us have it ‘bad’, think of people in villages who think this unislamic practice is NECESSARY and they spend their  energies saving for their daughters…sorry, the IN-LAWS of their daughter/s.

Marriage has me thinking of a lot. My rights as a woman, for example. Do I really have any? Will my husband uphold them? Will I be strong enough for myself? I think, I plan and then I think some more and tell myself that things will be alright IN SHA ALLAH. Truthfully, you can plan all you want, but ultimately, nothing is in your hands. You have a lot of work to do, but it has to be done in the moment.

In the weeks coming up to the wedding, I’ve noticed people say, ‘Haww, bataya bi nahi k shaadi ho rahi hai…mujay bula rahi ho na?’ [‘Haawww, you didn’t even tell me you were getting married…are you inviting me or not?’ ]  OR THEN, people have offered to help without having ever had a conversation with me before! ALSO I’ve seen people who assume they are invite, tell you they are really happy for you…and then they never call. You never hear from them…You hear they tell people they are psyched to go to your wedding but then they never call. THAT SUCKS.

Inviting yourself to a wedding IS AWKWARD people. Let me just say that we plan for a wedding and it would be a JOY to have everyone, but realistically, it is sorta impossible because you have so many things to think about…not being invited to a wedding does NOT mean I hate you or didn’t want you there, it means I just had no space. And lets be REAL, you will not always be invited to every wedding, no matter what, it will not happen!Don’t let that cause problems in your friendship. It’s not worth it.

I’m hungry for attention since like, last week. It’s not like I am NOT getting attention, I’m getting plenty of it, but i really want W to call. He has been MIA for the last 4 days because he has been working- wedding planning and actually working his little bottom off. It’s so difficult to have a conversation these days and, coincidentally, that’s all I want. I want to know what is going on on that side of the wedding preps. When will this end!?!?!

Also, getting married made me think of one more thing…i might need to know how to paint my face. Besides the general, MAC, YSL, CHANEL, etc, etc, I saw these two Pakistani brands and I almost got them, but not quite…Luscious and Musarrat Misbah …It just occurred to me that Nabila has a brand too..Maybe I should actually try and see if they work because they are all targeted for Asian Skin… what do you think??? Also,Musarrat Misbah says her make up is HALAL, How COOL is that! Any ideas what people recommend to the new bride???

 

Prem Ratan SCARY

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W had mentioned he watches bollywood movies shamelessly. I was pretty amazed at an open admission to it- every ‘man’ I had ever met here admitted to the typical hollywood movies. On this special night (please read: boring) I fluffed up my pillows, stared at the screen, einee-meenied my way thru a list of bolly films and finally settled on one called ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’. I will admit that i KNEW the actors in this movie would suck, but i thought the costumes would give me insight into what ‘traditional’ was.

Truthfully, I cried through some of the movie. Parts of it were so stupid, I just had to cry. Who wrecks their saaris playing football? Hated all the music in this movie, I have nothing positive or negative to say, and my only observation was that Salman Khan was one tiny head on a massive body- it looks surreal. OH WAIT…isn’t Sonam Kapoor old enough to be Salman’s kid ?? WHY pair her up with him!?!?! WHY?!?! Please tell me no one sees Salman Khan as cute? How is this guy an actor??

Anyway… Bollywood films have potential but this one was unreal. I know I’ve seen a good Bollyfilm…’Huwa Hawai’ was one. As was ‘A Wednesday’.

My own bollyfilm is playing out; I’m constantly writing the script… ARE YOU READING THIS ??? BECAUSE, YOU’RE GONNA KNOW THE ENDING WHEN I FINISH! In sha Allah 🙂 So Like, YEAH. READ on babies!

I should be enjoying the time between NOW and the wedding, but truthfully- it’s been a really hectic time. It’s not just the amount of work, it’s been the other stresses that get to me. Odd friends, weirdo family members. Are these people for real? Planning for a wedding has its downfalls- there are days I feel extremely lonely. Mama is the only constant and I am super grateful. However, sometimes you need a friend whose a little closer in age who you can joke with on a more immature level.

It’s difficult when everyone works or is away…why!Khair, I am still grateful. Alhamdulilah. I hope I see people at the wedding…!!!