Simply Put

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One of my English teachers in High school told me that if I had something to say or to write, it would be best if I used language so simple my grandmother could understand what I was saying.  I looked at him squarely in the face and told him the joke was on him as neither of my grandmothers spoke English! He laughed and said, ‘Well kid, make it so easy that any English speaking grandmother will understand!’

So what does that have to do with what I am going to write next? Well, i am going to try to put my ideas as simply as possible so that I can get through to you as effectively as possible…Please get comfy and pretend to be some English speaking grandma on a Hawaiian getaway…ready?

The topic is one that bugs me immensely. The one which ‘bugs’ parents and their sons and daughters alike – RISHTAS or matchmaking.

I have many a horror story about my time in the living room- as do many parents, sons and daughters. Being a woman, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t believe girls had it that bad. Their experiences in the living room might actually be worse than some boys. Personally, I’ve gone thru simultaneous interviews by a sister and sister in law of a potential; I’ve been shocked by the arrival of multiple boys and been told to guess who the potential was (no one was happy about that and my parents who had walked in with me just told me to go, we obviously didn’t get the ‘joke’ ) ; and once a potential kept yawning in my face! AND these are the TAME stories- I have a few ‘wild tales’ for another time, perhaps.

These people didn’t just knock on the door randomly – well, one did- and ask to meet my parents about their ravishing daughter, the families were set up by the infamous RISHTA Aunty – who, by the way, was subject to change as time passed by.

Rishta aunties, and certain Rishta Uncles, are popular in the parent’s circle because, really, who couldn’t use a little help???

While there are very reliable individuals out there, there is also a majority of ‘let me take your money and prey on your insecurities’ types. These people have a limited number of people that they keep showing to everyone and they hope they just click somewhere. These people also tend to take your money and VANISH into thin air. You call and call and call, initially they pick up, and then the picking up ceases.

I have seen parents pay good money to a large number of women and men; after showcasing a family or two, these people vanish, along with your money. Someone once suggested that my parents call a woman who was the ‘best in the business!’ because at 28 and still single, i NEEDED a miracle. My supposed savior came to my home, checked the garage, the home and then told my parents that they should have called her sooner and she would have had me married by now. She told us of rishtas that ‘fit’ the bill and then threw in a few ‘super wealthy, super educated’ types. And then she mentioned her fee. A grand total of 6 lakh, 3 lakh to be given NOW and 3 lakh after the wedding. Also this fee included that the boy would be a national of some other country other than Pakistan (which is something I sorta of wanted as I wasn’t Pakistani). She told us we had to hurry because I was aging as I sat there, right before every ones eyes. She then threw out her disclaimers: namely that she wasn’t responsible for checking the background of any people she recommended , she couldn’t guarantee successful matches or weddings  and that WE would have to call her daily.

For the steep ‘price’ of a match, I would have thought she was well on her way to finding me a dream match and she would actually be able to say that we would be a fantastic match. I also thought SHE would be the one calling.

My mother, not being a Pakistani, had heard enough. She politely told the lady that she would call if she decided to take up her services and announced that we had to go for dinner. I looked at my mother with a surprised look on my face…what dinner? Was she really going to throw away my one shot at happiness? At that price, SURELY i would meet Mister right and I really wanted this torture to be over!

My father and I looked at each other as my mother came back after seeing ‘Mehngi Tareen Rishta Auntie’ out the door.

‘Where has your faith in Allah gone to!? WE ARE NOT PAYING ANYONE!’

‘But mooooooommmm!!!!!!!! Desperate times call for desperate measures!’

Looking back, I definitely see WHY she had shaken me. I had been brainwashed by this auntie momentarily; sure my parents wanted to marry me off and we had talked about God’s plan and how we should wait to actually meet someone who clicked but something in me had just gone bonkers. This ‘auntie’ had taken a bite out of my own self confidence by ‘selling’ marriage to me.

It took me a good nights sleep and some reflection to figure out what was going on. Was I really desperate ? Was Something wrong with me?? Was I too picky ??

To make a long story short, my husband eventually did show up after my 29th birthday and he was worth the wait. He came because it was my time to meet him and there was no rishta auntie or money involved. It was an arranged marriage that few people dare to go through now; the kind where it’s arranged and I was informed later!
And before you panic, yes I knew of him, and yes at this point, I had decided that my parents were fine to make that decision for me- and I do not regret it.

Even before my own marriage, people had been coming up to me asking me if i know someone for their sons, brothers, sisters, daughters, even themselves…and I have managed to get families to meet each other- but it always crossed my mind as to why people skipped me! I realize now that it is because of the age- and after my own marriage, i have noticed that there are now many more females above  the age of 25 in the list of women that I try to help.

After many conversations, I realized that many families fell prey to the rishta aunties & uncles that took their money and vanished. I’ve also noticed that the demands of families have gone up like anything – maybe that is why there is a rise in the ‘vanishing’ aunties;  they suddenly find that they cannot deliver custom orders.

To All the rishta aunties out there: please be honest and only take up what you can. If you’re charging people, at least CALL them.

No one is actually doing anyone a favor here, rishtas are supposed to be a community thing which no one actually does- we live in a society that is disconnected to each other. The demands on both ends are huge, the compromise is expected to be only at one end. COME ON.

It’s easier to let children marry the people they like, but lets face it, not everyone goes that route, some families are uneasy with it, theres a whole host of things.

I’m not writing this to ‘change’ society; maybe it will and people will help each other for free, people will learn to ditch unreal expectations (ex: ‘My son MUST marry a tall,slim,fair girl’ – you do realize that the average height is 5’4 and that when you see a 5’6 girl, some of you go, ‘oooo too tall’ ? Also, when going house to house, its NOT cool to say the girl isn’t pretty enough when the guy is no Brad Pitt) .

Remember people: You’re all beautiful, wonderful people and your time will come if it is meant for you. Great things come to those who wait patiently. And if along the way, things don’t go the marriage route…that’s fine too. Maybe there are BIG plans for you. Make your future wonderful.

 

 

 

SWIRLY.

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I have all these thoughts in my head, whizzing in and out, left and right- they’re creating some kind of magical, kaleidoscope in my brain! And yet, with all these thoughts, I have not been able to bring myself to blog in the last little while. It’s true that I have been busy, but I should have managed some time to myself. My blog is ‘me time’.  I certainly wish I could make this a full time career, and maybe some day I WILL, you never know. Right now, however, after the wedding, after the honeymoon ended, I faced a new reality. I was busy discovering life as a married woman, and I continue to discover what that really means anyways. I suppose everyone does- men and women recently married are finding out what their partner is like.

I don’t know about anyone else’s beginning or journey to married life, but my own has been…well, i think mine has … been my own [READ: OBVIOUSLY right here] and it’s been different. I don’t know many people who leave their husbands to go on vacation 2 and a half months after the wedding ! I went back for a visit and now I find myself back at my parents house, on a whole different continent. And before you worry, everything is fine. I think we shocked ourselves at how ‘weird’ this turned out, but it’s been good too- and that is … shocking, in a good way.

Everyone has their own dream of what married life will be like after the wedding and mine wasn’t exactly what I thought for myself but I am not complaining because Life just panned out the way it was supposed to. How odd is that man!?!?!!??!!? Things work out without you thinking they could work out. Your relationship grows in ways you didn’t think it would. Your life changes in ways you didn’t know it would. All of a sudden, you’re not alone and you’re learning to compromise in ways you had no idea you could even compromise in! You do things differently before you become your own person in your marriage…That might be difficult to understand, but i have no better way of explaining it!

Marriage is a funny thing. Who ever tells you that you will not argue while married has found the secret to living! My first argument was 4 months after getting married and that set the tone for how we dealt with all future arguments. So what was it about? Finances? Friends? in laws ? It was none of these. Our first argument was on communication. And we dealt with it pretty well Alhamdulilah. I know we have two very different backgrounds, but we looked beyond that difference.

What I learnt from that first argument was that listening was super important. I’m also not the only one with feelings! I have a new partner and he has ways of expressing himself differently. Different shouldn’t be intimidating, it’s something you should embrace. If you think that life stays the same for you, and you think you can mold your partner according to your desires…it isn’t happening. A marriage is just this two way street. If she’s angry stay calm; if he’s sad, work to cheer him up- those efforts you make for each other pay off. Everyone likes to see the efforts being made by their partner- even when you might have a tough time embracing the differences!

As it so happens, my husband is cool with bollywood…me…not at all. But i sat thru ‘Sultan’, ‘Ki and Ka’, ‘Fan’ and i can’t even remember the other he took me to see because frankly, i fell asleep. Instead of nagging about the fact that we saw an Indian movie, i tried focusing on the fact that my husband was taking me out, was spending date time with me, and that while he might like bollywood and i might hate it, i get caramel popcorn and that’s pretty good ! He noticed that I hated it and of course asked me to pick movies to watch the next time we went to the theatre. Thankfully, my husband DOES like English movies as well…He just wanted to try and show me something different. I have had enough bollywood to last me a while, so thanks but no thanks 🙂

To completely change the topic, the weirdest thing… Why would anyone want to keep in touch with someone who has exited their life? It is odd but i’ve been getting these texts to help someone who is in no shape or form related to me, and we just…i mean, i know this uncle, but…argh, ok, an ex-rishta’s dad is contacting me to look for a rishta for his kids, not including the one who was a proposal for me. I mean, I am confused as what to do.  I understand that finding a spouse is HARD and that people need all the help they can get, but when you have successfully engaged your younger son on your own, what do you need me for? So yeah, that is WEIRD. Everyone is on the ‘ignore bandwagon’ and everyone is right, but i did pass two #s of parents looking for their kids as well because lets be real, this is a real situation.

And that brings me in to the topic of actually getting married. Look- it is HARD and let me say that people need to support each other and help each other find matches. I am not asking you to go date or do something behind your parents back (because if you haven’t learnt by now, that is just a waste of time for the kids in the Muslim community; if you’re gonna do something, do it in front of your parents- for that you might as well TALK to them!). My whole point is that if you have married friends with single friends, they should either present you with someone or feel free to ask, do not feel like you are being desperate or anything because this is NATURAL, we all have to try our best, and i think not giving up is important. It is not easy people!

This issue is actually so important- particularly in the Muslim community that i feel that women need to get together to help their children. Because there are a lot of ppl who still go the arranged marriage way and no, it is NOT always awful. I have some families looking for their sons and daughters and I am trying to pair them up.

I’ve discussed this in a previous blog page (oh, its private) but anyways, the thing with women helping families find a match is that sometimes they charge and they charge TOO much. This is unfair. This should be a free service (and i am ready to help). The truth is that I will be unable to help a lot of people because volunteering takes up time- I have to allocate time to helping certain people first. HAVING SAID THAT, I have to be totally HONEST, that families come with demands. I cant cater to these demands because some of them are totally unrealistic. You can’t describe your dream girl for your son and expect me to find that ‘fair faced, hazel eyed, slim, tall, 23 year old MBA grad or doctor’ . I can’t. Be reasonable and stop putting damn age restrictions and location restrictions because let me tell you people, ALLAH changes the situation of people LIKE-THAT *snaps fingers*. I’ve seen quite a bit, and experienced something new in my own marriage. I wanted to get married here but Allah had my husband for me over there! And it was an arranged marriage. I can’t guarantee anything for you because ultimately ALLAH decides for you and you can’t leave things to just me. My role is only to connect people, that’s it. Do what you want, but please, no restrictions or complaints and whines about things like…pictures! Some families don’t want pictures…why not ask the people to send you one directly? One does something good for you, don’t come back and just put the people to work for you, this is something someone does as a volunteer; no one is your personal slave here- people who do this service are doing it for Allah but they have LIVES too…just reminding!

And after ALL THAT….I AM GOING TO BED! SHABAKHAIR

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!?!??!?!!?!?!