10 Questions Almost Every Hijabi Has To Answer

As a hijabi, we’re entitled to a lot of different things- The judgmental and unapologetic stares (of both non and other hijabis alike), new fashion statements (the HOOJAB YAY! For those of you who aren’t aware what the hoojab is, it is Amenakin’s signature hoodie+hijab. Y’all know Amenakin? The Youtuber? If you don’t, check her out this instant! But hold up. Finish reading this first.), our never ending battles with the weather and much much more.

But probably the most annoying of all the struggles are the ridiculous questions. I asked a few hijabi friends of mine what their experience in this particular field has been, and made a list of the weirdest questions people have ever asked.

FouseyHijab

Question Number 1:
“Are you bald?”

Uhhhh…no. I prefer not having bad hair days. Or maybe I am. But that’s for me to know and you to find out. HA! *clutches hijab and runs away*

Hair

Question Number 2:
“Don’t you feel hot in that thing?”

Not at all. I have miniature air conditioners installed inside this “thing”. It’s AMAZING!

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Question Number 3- my personal favourite:
“Can you hear with your hijab on?”

Excuse me, what? I didn’t get that.

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Question Number 4:
“How can you even wear that?”

Well. I start by placing it on my head and slowly wrapping…oh, that was rhetorical? Really? I thought you were being serious. My bad.

On that note, how can YOU wear THAT?? *point to UGGs*

Jasmine

Question Number 5:
“How does that stay on your head?”

Let’s just say I’m not pro-wardrobe malfunctions.

ninja irani

Question Number 6:
*in an examination hall* “Are you hiding anything underneath your hijab?”

Yeah. My brain. GUILTY!

Hijab

Question Number 7:
“You probably don’t buy hair/head accessories, do you? Haha.”

Think again, girlfriend! *snaps finger*

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Question Number 8- This one happens with us desis in desiland, more of a general idea rather than a question:
“She probably doesn’t know English, poor thing.”

EXCUSEZ-MOI!

student hijabi

Question Number 9:
“Are you comfortable?”

Not in your presence, no.

saima2

And finally coming to the big one and the most commonly asked one, the big one-oh,
Question Number 10:
“Why do you wear a hijab?”

I never have a satisfactory answer to this one for the masses, but let’s just say, I can if I want to and also because I’m FABULOUS!

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Oh. And for those of you who really want to know, I’ll just let this sassy 17 year old answer your question.

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SLAAYYYYYYY, GIRLFRIEND!

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This One’s For The AMU’ites

Let me make this perfectly clear- I am NOT a political news writer, nor do I write about current news events. But owing to the present scenario in the Aligarh Muslim University, I was forced to tell you EXACTLY how I feel. Mind you, I am not pro-nationalism or pro-love for the university. I am simply a neutral spectator publishing their feelings.

Let me start off with what caused the uproar in our university campus (yes, I’m a student of AMU too). Apparent reports by the media which, thanks to their natural talent of distorting words and the truth, tagged our university as “anti-feminist” and “oppressive towards women” led to resentful feelings by the students who took up the approach of an “anti-media” or peaceful protest.
I was trying to avoid talking about this subject because I didn’t know how people would respond, but seeing certain images posted on facebook of the protest sparked the fire in me.

On my way home from college, I noticed a slow, but rather progressive buildup of public at the Bab-e-Syed gate, which is also the main entrance to our university. The blockade caused me to get stuck in traffic, even if for a little while and but obvious, annoyed me to the core. Later, I find out that the very obvious gathering was the initiation of a “peaceful” protest by the students of the University, mainly the women, led by nobody else but the “power to the people”- the Student’s Union.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a very vocal person and I encourage people to be vocal about how they feel, but let’s get some facts right first.
A. I’ve been a part of this University for almost 8 years now, and you, reader and I are both aware of the actual situation of the Maulana Azad Library in our campus.
B. We know that us women are given equal, sometimes even more opportunities to excel in our fields and are encouraged in our education.
C. We also know that no amount of defamation trial will actually affect our University if we show people the truth.

So here’s a situation-
When you screw something up, and your parents start yelling at you and cursing you and being loud with you, do you actually listen to them? You obviously don’t.
But when they sit you down and talk calmly and explain the consequences of your actions, what happens? You break down, and end up apologizing and learning something out of it.
The exact same thing works here. When you talk about having a peaceful protest, do you know what people who aren’t in the cause with you hear? PROTEST. That is ALL that they make sense of. The impression that you’re giving them is that we’re all adrenaline fueled people who are blindsided by their love for the University.

Yes, you do love your university and you despise the media for trying to defame the prestigious institution. But have you heard the saying, “You can either fight fire with water, or fire with fire.”
I say fight fire with fire, but not literal fire.
Everybody knows how fast things spread on the internet, how quickly they go ‘viral’. This is not only for the pro-writers but for you and I, for everybody who can express exactly how they feel. When you love somebody and you want to tell it to them, what do you do? The poets write a poem, we common folk simply pick up our phones and text/call the person and tell them we love them.

The media isn’t sitting in front of your university with banners and hoardings and telling you what you should think. They’re using their words.
“The pen is mightier than the sword”, and in today’s world, posts on the internet are. Pick up your phones, open your laptops, login to your facebook, or your wordpress and talk about the truth! TELL people what the actual situation is. If every one out of ten people posted something on a public forum, imagine how many people would read it and clear their heads.
Right now, for them, we’re women who hit the streets because our University was shed with false allegations. You’re a woman- be sophisticated, be an actual lady! Use your words, fuel them with your emotions- WRITE! POST! TALK! SPREAD!

And trust me, that is exactly how you will make a difference. Sitting under the hot sun, chanting while blocking the road causing trouble to other people is not going to help you in your cause. Use the exact same tools the media does. Use the social network. And I promise I’ll back you up. I promise you, we’ll beat them.

Ye mera chaman, hai mera chaman,
main apne chaman ka bulbul hun

Hurt

In the dark of the night, twirling her finger in her hair, she sat.
The kind of silence that deafened you, surrounded her.
She bit her lip while her pain devoured away at her chest, the sinking feeling too much to bear.
What she thought was her finest masterpiece, didn’t seem so perfect anymore. She felt trapped inside her own self.
Her feelings clouded her grief, raining more sorrow over her delicate lashes.
She knew she had to make it right, in order to see the twinkle in his eyes, she was willing to do anything that was asked.
So she prayed. Eyes shut, on her knees, head on the floor, she prayed.

Self Harm

I don’t know why I decided to write on this particular topic. I suppose I just felt like it and probably because I understand how it feels. And because I was a victim.

I am Maimoonah Hassan, and I was a victim of self-harm.

It all started in the Xth grade. Continuous exam and peer pressure, and my declining health were the primary reasons I started to hurt myself. Initially, it was little. A slight cut or maybe cursing myself was the way I felt better. The main problems started when I moved to India to pursue further education. My life was a total mess. Tons of family, social and health problems had started weighing me down, and my migraines just made everything worse. My grades fell and that was when I started seriously harming myself. There was something in slicing through my skin and watching my blood trickle down my hand that relieved my pain, if only momentarily. At that point of time, nothing felt bad. I didn’t feel any pain, just a sort of high. It was a feeling that can’t be explained.

I was angry, I was depressed. And there was nobody who made me feel better. I was an outcast. My family didn’t understand me and there were barely any friends who I trusted enough to let them in my life. I used to project my anger by punching through windows or using the blade on myself. That was when I felt in control of my life.

A year later, I moved out of the hostel I stayed in, and moved into our apartment, and that didn’t make me feel any better. I hid my scars by wearing full sleeved tees or kurtas, not that anybody noticed if my arms were exposed. I bottled all my emotions and every time my mother yelled at me for being incompetent, the blade was there. The blade I used to cut myself was the only thing that kept me from completely losing my mind and drowning into nothingness.

I cried myself to sleep every night, and put on a lot of courage and a brave face to go to school the next day. That year my sister had qualified her Pre-Medical Tests, enabling her to take admission in a medical college and start her professional career as a doctor. That was when things started getting tougher.

I was considered to be the “intelligent” person in the family and my fate was decided and handed over to me- I had to follow in the family’s footsteps and become a doctor. I just HAD to. And because of this dreaded expedition, I had to drop a year for preparing (Which is a common trend in India nowadays.)
I moved to Kota, and joined the prestigious Allen Institute, to fulfill my parent’s dream of becoming a doctor. My health further declined, and my migraines caused me to remain half paralysed in my room day and night. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. And during Ramadan, I starved, as I lived among 99.9% non-Muslims. But thank the Lord I made amazing friends who took care of me and made sure I stayed alive. But it wasn’t happily ever after yet. The nagging continued, and so did the self-harm. The worst was when I failed to qualify my PMTs. That was the real trigger.

My parents admitted me into the Dental College of the same university my sister was in and of course, she got in and I was sold to the faculty, so that made a HUGE difference. I had self-esteem and confidence issues and I HATED the faculty of Medicine so much that I couldn’t bear waking up in the morning and going to college. And what was worse? The mutilation never went away. I used to cut myself and bleed onto the floor and my sister, who used to be in the next room, never noticed it.

My parents did, though. And they “warned” me to not cut again. Yeah, right. I don’t have a magic on/off button. But whatever. I mean, what did they know? All they cared about were good grades and a degree. Never did they ask why I did it, nor did they bother to find out. I pretended to agree and that was the end of it.

More boy trouble and overwhelming college gossip later, I realized that what I did to myself, stayed with myself. And that projecting the anger I developed because of others onto myself made no real sense. WHY should I hurt myself because of what others did to me? Or how they made me feel? It’s not like they’ll ever regret their choices to even stop for a moment to consider. Nobody cared. And I hurt myself, over and over again. That was when I decided to stop. I looked at all the scars that were born over the years and thought how pointless each and every scar was. I knew I needed help but didn’t bother to get any. I conjured up all of my strength to stop cutting myself because it was wrong. It was wrong in so many ways.

I was always a bright kid in school, but was always bullied. I tried to be popular in so many ways, including lying, but nothing ever helped. Eventually, I gave up seeking attention and because of pressure, lost my focus. I won’t say I’ve gained it all back and am supremely popular in college.
I don’t even have my stability back. But I’m getting there, one step at a time.

I wrote this for the people who are like me, who share my story. Because I know how you feel. And because I can tell you that harming yourself will do you no good. Because the people who don’t care now, never will. So I urge you, please, stop hurting yourself. I’m not asking you to go seek psychiatric help because you are not diseased. You are merely broken, and you alone can fix yourself. You’re beautiful and you’re strong. So pick up those pieces and start over. Because if I can try to make it, anyone can.