And This, They Call a Thriving Marriage!

A traditional Pakistani society -even the Urban Community- is still, in this twenty first century, not very prone to the idea of a love marriage, which is indeed a shame to this society but that’s not the point of discussion today.

So, a girl aged 18 is forced or rather lured into getting married to a 23 year old hardworking or sometimes hardly working lad. Just to be more clear and precise, I said ‘lured’ because marriage is made to look like a bed of roses to girls and a rose of beds (if you know what I mean) to boys in countries like Pakistan. Apparently, before we go any deeper into their oh-so-thriving marriage lives, we must know what their pre-marriage backgrounds are.

She’s a girl born in a cultured and traditional household where she’s taught, since her childhood, that her prince charming would come and he’ll sweep her off her feet. But, she’s not allowed or it’s rather unethical and extremely unruly for her to find him or meet him herself. They -yes this ‘they’ is an ambiguous pronoun here- ought to choose him for her and she’s bound to spend her life with him. These girls are taught to be efficient chefs and highly skilled housewives. They are taught to waste the day at home doing the laundry and to look good in the evenings for their husbands. Precisely, they are taught to be pleasure providing poor puns to their husbands. Concisely, they are taught to be anything but themselves. They are taught how they have to stay at home and look after the house, cook, do the laundry, do the dishes, give birth, look after the kids, raise them blah blah blah…

They provide them with the character and scrip and the girls are ready with dialogues learnt and gestures memorized to pose to be an elegant daughter in law, an understanding and considerate wife and obviously a proficient house keeper. In the anticipation to play all the roles properly, she forgets herself, she loses herself or I’d rather say half of them have never found themselves hence; losing is not an option for them. 

She hasn’t seen the world. She wasn’t allowed to open her eyes and observe and explore. Her eyes were shut. She saw the world from other people’s eyes; father’s, mother’s and the society’s. She was never conferred with the right to experience life face first. She was never allowed to drive, she always sat in the back seat while ‘others’ steered the car for her. And guess what? She has always been happy with the setting. Or has she? Even if she hasn’t been happy, she embraced it with her hands wide open as if it was the only reality of her life. Now, that’s a daughter they’d call their pride; a daughter who’s a human less and a mute wordless painting more. And, that’s exactly what they desired for.

On the other hand, the young man has recently done his bachelors. He started his job. He has spent the last five years in the craziest ways possible partying around with his friends every other night. He went out, met girls, had relationships, broke them, fled around, studied, made a career, returned home, got pampered by mummy and daddy and went out again. He does not have a faintest clue of what responsibilities are. He has been taught since his childhood that he’s a man. He has got an upper hand over women. Women can never compete with him or stand shoulder to shoulder with him. They –yes, ‘they’ is again an ambiguous pronoun here- taught the guy since his childhood that after he has had all the fun he wished to have with girls out there, he’s going to get a burqa clad highly virtues girl. He’ll do the extra ordinary favor to her and her family by marrying her and accepting the dowry which is oh-so-lower than his standards. These boys are not made to repeat this mantra like an enchantment because it settles in their systems all by itself when they reach puberty.

He has been observing this ‘male dominant’ society since he was just an infant. He has seen in his baby court how his father fearlessly shouts at his mother and how his mother fearfully cries her eyes out silently. He has seen through the window, while carrying his cricket bat around in the backyard with his friends, how the neighborhood girl, same as his age, is not allowed to come out and play. And finally when he entered his teens, he has seen girls getting harassed and abused on the roads by some gutsy and spirited young lads. He has tasted the power. He has savored the flavor of supremacy and command already, how on earth do you expect him to not enjoy it when every male he has seen since his childhood is enjoying it? It would be a question mark on his manhood to not take pleasure in being superior. He can’t afford it. Can he?

Here he is, ready to take on his throne. He’s ready to get married and take charge; take charge of the house and the woman. He’s going to decide what she wears, where she goes, what she does, and how she lives. It’s his turn to be the man. I’d rather write it in capital letters – “THE MAN”.

Now, the girl and the guy get married. She likes the attention for a while for sure. She loves being told he likes to see her in that color and that he does not want her to be contaminated and seen by other buggers therefore she shouldn’t go here and there. Slowly and gradually, it starts to suffocate her but she has always clinched the suffocation. She has never had the steering in her hands. She’s habitual of it now. He, on the other hand, has all his clothes ready in the morning before going out, he gets to eat the best food and he gets to lie in her warmth before he falls asleep at night. And THIS they call a thriving marriage.

Now, it’s time to have a baby. Family planning? What’s that shit? What the society would say if she does not get pregnant in the first year of her marriage? They’ll all think there’s some biological problem with the girl. Yes, the girl. In a male dominant society, the males can’t have any deficiency especially biological; that’s a rule untold. A girl, who does not know what to do with her own life, gives birth to a child. She is expected to stay at home and raise the child. I need not elucidate what becomes of that kid when he’s raised by a mother like this. And then again, THIS they call a thriving marriage.

This mother tries her hardest, but parenthood gets the best of her. She shouts at her kids like a maniac when she gets angry. She does not know how to deal with her kid’s bad grades. She has no clue how to direct the energies of her super-naughty child. She knows nothing about how to deal with the temper of her teenage boy. She is never able to figure out the right words to say to her girl reaching puberty. Blame her. I dare you to blame her. This society must die before it blames this mother. She did not have a mother who knew what to say to her when she had her first period. How do you expect her to know what to say to her own daughter after that? And now again, THIS they call a thriving marriage.

You never let the girl find and explore herself. She has no personality because you never let her have one. How do you expect her to give her kid a personality now?

Women are believed to be brainless and spiteful. They are believed to be petty and scornful. They weren’t born brainless or petty or scornful. They were shaped to be scornful by the society they belong to. When you’ll give them very little or almost no exposure at all of the world, they’ll have no other choice than to make a bubble of their own where they are the queen. If you cage them up in a little burrow, how do you expect them to follow the norms and conducts prevailing in the wide world?

This marriage takes herself away from her. This marriage ruins her personality. This marriage sucks her being out of herself. And then again, THIS they call a thriving marriage.

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Set them free. Set them all free!

I believe in setting people free.

Set her free. So what if she’s a great friend and you’ve been friends for three years. She needs to go. Go and meet new people, explore the world, experience and observe anew. She deserves her taste of innovation. Set her free.

Set him free. So what if he’s your kid and you’ve spared all these years in his upbringing. He’s an adult now. Let him go. His share of world is waiting for him. Don’t tie up to him like a chain in his toes. Be his motivation. Set him free.

Set it free. So what if you nurtured it for years. Your bird does not like to be caged up anymore. It’s sick of the same old food you provide her everyday. Its wings are bored. They want to soar up high in the air and savor the feel of clouds around them. Set it free.

Set your love free. So what if you loved him like anything, gave up your career for him and sacrificed yourself to see him thrive. Your love needs to go. He does not want the goodnight kisses anymore; they’re usual and over-rated to him. He does not want to cuddle up now; it’s too hot today. He does not love you anymore and he can’t help it. Set your love free.

Have a grip little one. Stop groping them, they feel suffocated. Set them free. Set them all free. If they’re yours, if they’re meant to stay; they will. Don’t grab them, don’t beg them, Do not put yourself under them. Let them go. Keep the door open. Let whoever wants to leave, leave. You’re a beautiful soul, worthy of love and respect. Don’t let them put you down.

Don’t only set them free, set yourself free as well. Freed yourself from the bounding of this world. Do not ever sacrifice your career, your needs, your likes for them, if they are not ready to do the same for you. Give them if they are ready to give you in return. Love yourself before you love them. You deserve, at least, your own unconditional love.

Cheers baby! Smile now. This moment may never come back :’)

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A Hijra in the Family

Heart breaking.
I’ve had a difficult life but nothing feels as difficult as this. Lots of love to you. I’m here if you need to talk. The girl inside you is all welcomed here with love and respect ❤ Stay blessed.

leylashah2014

I was just another boy wanting to be a girl. Now, I’ll be just another boy. I have not complained, nor do I complain now. I only tell a tale, for that’s all I’ve got. A tale, some could relate to.

This is for everyone who sees the queer movement as a superficial rich kid’s tantrum. I hail from a deeply religious middle class family with strong roots in a place known for its gender based crimes.

One of these days if I stopped existing the world wouldn’t know but I don’t want to be just another lgbt person. I don’t want to be just another statistic, just another note. I want to see the light, I want to be able to  hope but I don’t know where to look for hope, where to find it.

There was someone who told me, that maybe I should get my career sorted…

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Writing is Sacred.

I tried to write something a few nights back and I wasn’t surprised at all when it turned out to be a foul piece of crap. Yes, absolutely a foul, stinking piece of crap! I had to frame out an explanation to relieve the aching pang inside my chest. I mean, how on earth I tried and I wasn’t able to scribble something worth reading or at least worth bearing.

I had to think, ponder, deliberate, contemplate and then think again. What’s happening to me? Is my brain freezing? Well, not exactly. It’s my impulses going dead.

Writing is not about taking out a paper, framing up an idea and starting to fill up the parchment with ink. No; absolutely not. Writing is merely not a process including a paper and a pen. Writing is sacred. It’s above all the worldly doings that we perform every day. It’s about pouring your heart out to a sacred sheet of white milky extension. It’s about not stopping to think or phrase or rephrase. It’s just about letting the quill flow over the paper on its own accord.

You know all the extra ordinary things that writers write all the time in their books and articles. Do they always touch your heart? Not always right? It touches your heart if it comes out of another heart. It’ll only touch you if writing is sacred to the writer. There are some scenes from some fiction novels imprinted on my heart and I live and relive them again and again. They are like footprints to me. Footprints on this little heart of mine as if they are having a night stroll in the snowy garden and decided to stay for the night. Who stays in a snowy garden? Only the ones who find a certain warmth in the snow.

Here I got my answer. I got it right here gawking me in the face, telling me loud and clear: I am only able to write when I am not trying to write. I write when my heart is so swelled up that it pushes me to dispense the pent up emotions and frustrations out. Yes, writing is not a hobby or a profession to me. It’s beyond all those bounds. It is holy somehow. Very holy indeed.

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Step Ahead :’)

You can’t tame words. Can you? You can’t tame feelings. Can you? The wildest flower in the forest is the most beautiful one. Let it be. Let it grow. You should not try to tame it. You must not try to tame it. You should let it breathe in the cool spring breeze. You should allow it to grow on its own amazingly astonishing accord. Now can you see the butterfly hovering over that flower? She’s there for a kiss. She’ll kiss the flower and take some nectar. The nectar keeps her alive. She’s free and content, singing the songs of life in a joyous, mirthful voice. She’s in her ecstasy – reaching the far ends of it, getting the most out of it.

You know what? You’re a butterfly yourself – young and mirthful. Dear love, set yourself free. Breath in, laugh out loud, shriek your worries off, scream at the top of your lungs – Live; live as if that’s the only thing you have to do here. Live like it’s your first day, live as if its your last breath. No, not for those pressures tied around your neck. Loosen up today. Throw that rope away; pull it off your neck and let it vanish somewhere. Today, let yourself carry no weight. That baggage you always carried around in a sack, at your back… the baggage that makes you toil rather than walk and run and jump around. The baggage; that keeps you here, tied to a post as if you’re a donkey whose master is afraid he’ll run away. Master? Who’s your master? Fool your master away like a naughty kid today. Be your own master now. Step ahead. There’s your world – yeah, Right there. All you need to do, is to STEP AHEAD. Just STEP AHEAD!!

Free

P.S. Listen to this – https://soundcloud.com/olvido-1/fastball-the-way

Ugly and Proud

Today, I think I should do it – (deep breath) yeah.. So here it goes; iamsougly. Got that? No? Let me try again; “I am so ugly.” Hah! That feels good. “I am an extremely ugly, big fat, snouty cow.” Whoa! This is great. It feels like a burden is lifted off my shoulders.

Yep – popping the P – I called myself ugly. I decided to get over with this once and for all. Each day standing in front of the mirror, before going out, I tell myself, “It’s okay. May be tomorrow. You’ll look better tomorrow. It’s fine if you have no idea what to do with your hair. It’s fine if you’re not girly. And It’s fine if you look like shit. May be tomorrow’s your day.”

And no tomorrow proved itself to be MY DAY!

By the way, I was being a bit of a drama queen in the beginning. I am not absolutely ugly or a hopeless case. I am just me and this amazingly-non-girly me, has no idea how a girl ought to look. Nah, not that I want to know, but yeah, I am not girly. I have not got the faintest clue of how to curl my hair or straighten them. I love my baggy shirts and my cool jean pants. And I am obsessed with my sneakers. But, there are days, when I look at my properly dressed up girly female friends and realize how out of the box and out of order I look when I stand with them. I go back home and ask myself if there is anything wrong with me. Why am I not as pretty as them? I try to pull out looks and wear clothes that kinda make me look like them but no, I am never able to be them! I mean, I don’t look hot and sexy when I try these girly outfits. The next day comes and I am back to my baggy shirt and jean pants. I tell the mirror – may be tomorrow – and I’m off to work.

So, today I decided to get this one thing straight for once and for all. I can’t be girly. I am cool the way I am. I am the finest and the most classiest when I am being myself. What is better than being myself? I am what I am and I can change for none.

And who said I am ugly? I think I am beautiful; like everybody else, just in my own crazy way. So, yeah, if you call not being girly ‘ugly’ – I am ugly and I’m kinda proud of it.

Being the ugly ME is always better than being someone else what so ever : )

Parcel from a Long Distance Friend

Do you have any idea, how joyous it is, to receive a parcel from a long distance friend? No, take a minute to ponder over it. Not any friend but, a very long distance friend. Nuh uh, you haven’t met them, you have no idea how they look and how they sound when they speak. But, above all the appearances and sounds, there is this thing called “feelings”. You have not the slightest idea of their physical being but you know them the best – through feelings. You’ve been with them in the intense, deep-rooted, dark dungeons where they hide their souls. And, they have been with you through this roller-coaster ride and have experienced with you all the bumps and thwacks and bangs in the way.

I have so many friends. Some I met at the University and others I met at work. I go out with them every now and then and when we are together we laugh too much. We party hard and try all kinds of crazy things. All in all, we bond really well. But, are we related by feelings? Or we are only related by the fun we have? Will they be there when I need them? Am I ever going to be able to confide in them during my darkest of hours? It’s embarrassing to say no, but alas, it’s pretty obvious.

But, I have a friend and I can confide in him any time I like. I can pour my heart out to him; show him all the scars and take out all my fury and rage. Whenever, I’m down we get drunk together in the sea of expressions. And when I am happy we celebrate together sitting on a cloud over the top of the moon. We are two people, living at two distant ends of the world connected by feelings.

This noon, my doorbell rang, I called out ‘who’s there’ and the postman said, “A parcel from San Diego, USA.” I couldn’t believe it. My dear long distant friend sent me a parcel. I could feel him in the warm gesture. I could smell him in that little package. I couldn’t bring myself to open it. You know how you get this strange feeling when you’re holding something sacred; that parcel felt sacred somehow. I felt this profound desire to keep the package somewhere, where I can see it all the time and my eyes could savour the paper of the curvy envelope. It was a gift from a friend I have never met but, we are connected; connect in the best way possible. We are connected through feelings.

Thank you Lawrence Freeman. You are unquestionably the best person I know 🙂

P.S. These little creations of yours are amazing. I love all your photographs on them. I always knew your talent was special; never knew it is this extraordinary.. I am so overwhelmed. You simply made my day 😉

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Note: Lawrence Freeman is a long distance friend of mine. Formerly, he was a private investigator but now he’s giving time to his passion – photography. You can visit his photography blog here: Messages Without a Code.