“KHAMOSHI”

A couple of days ago, during my usual Facebook procrastination, I came across this image which a friend had shared, and my nerve endings went numb. Not because the image was painful or NSFW, or even gory, but because it resonated with me on a deeper level.

I shared the image with another friend who called it “unsettling”, but I believe that the image had to be the most powerful one I had ever seen.

 

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A lot of you might have already seen it, and after a little research I found out that this image dawned from “Khamoshi”, a bridal couture collection by designer Ali Xeeshan, which apparently addressed the taboo of child marriage, and also is a part of a small film by Abdullah Haris.

You can watch the film here!

 

Now, I’m not here to talk about child marriage or the horrors of the situation itself. I’m here to talk about something else- another crucial yet sad thing this image reflects.

 

Notice the bride’s expressionless, tired, sorrowful face. Notice the happy, bustling people surrounding her, and manhandling her. And most importantly, notice the lock placed on her lips.

The lock signifies the silence that is forced on a bride, regardless of the situation, or the standard. It tells you about how the bride-to-be isn’t allowed a say in her own wedding festivities- ranging from not getting to choose her spouse to not being allowed to arbitrate the wedding party. What’s worse is that her smile (God forbid one exists) is shamed on during the proceeds of her OWN wedding.

And this injustice hails from continuation of bland, rusted cultural marital pressures- both on the family, and on the victim.

And desi families are so accustomed to these pressures and expectations, that they’ve blurred the line between necessary and pathetic. In desi cultures, it is never about the bride (or the groom). It is first and foremost and ALWAYS about society. Each action, each function, each decision is only finalised after weighing it on a societal importance scale, which we are more familiar with as, “log kya kahenge?”

According to some people (and unfortunately people I know), they believe that you can only function as a part of society if you’re willing to accept everything they believe in, no questions asked. And I find all of this supremely foolish.

WHY is your hunger for acceptance and admirance so distressing that you’ve allowed yourself to be encompassed in idiocy? WHY is your respect in society so important to you that you’re willing to spend on superficialities rather than essentials? WHY do you think random people who you say hello to in passing hold more substance than the people inside your own home? WHY are other’s amusements more influential than your kid’s?

 

People like me are accustomed to rebuke, especially when we put the words “simple” and “wedding” in the same sentence. Its sad, really. I had read this quote once, on instagram I believe, which went something like this-

“In today’s world if someone were to have a simple wedding, people would think it’s because they’re poor.” (or stingy)

 

I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, having a grand wedding will be robbing me of my credibility. Sure, most people don’t really care about stuff like that. But I do. As a staunch believer and supporter of “No Band. No Baaja. No Baraat.”, it is horrifying to be silenced and blackmailed into accepting and giving into cultural pressure.

 

If only the elders opened their eyes to reality, then maybe, just maybe they’ll reform.

 


 

You can visit Ali Xeeshan’s Instagram at @alixeeshantheaterstudio

HEIL FRAU!

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Image Courtesy: favim.com

 

A couple of days ago, I had the chance to talk to somebody about their life- A woman. (Happily?) married for almost ten years now, she spoke to me about her daily routine, things that keep her busy and what her (extended) family is like.

 

And what I found out was shocking, and supremely sad.

 

I had known her for a long time, but I had no idea about whatever she was going through regularly. Problems exist everywhere, but her story, albeit a very common scenario, was heartbreaking.

 

If you ever read this, I’m writing this for you. You were the inspiration behind this. And I love you.

 


 

Rafia (name changed) is a beautiful, loyal and hard working person. Apart from her radiating personality and charming laughter, she is humble, down to earth and severely respectful of her elders and her surroundings. A mother to two children- an introvert and a mischievous bloke, both school going, her days usually revolve around taking care of them, and her in laws, and the rest of the house.

 

I am witness to the amount of work she puts in every single day, from getting her kids to school to preparing food for everyone (give or take- 15 people), tending to her mother in law (who can be rather demanding), picking the kids from school, cleaning them up, teaching them, and handling the house-helps to doing it all over again.

 

Trust me, her life isn’t easy.

 

I have seen her on her feet for hours on end, without any breakfast and no lunch, and not complaining.

 

And what she gets for all of her effort is nothing. Her mother in law has a nasty habit of complaining about her to everybody she meets, and discourages her in front of the same people. Her sister-in-law is of no help, being a “working woman” and always adds insult to injury. Her husband does not value her as one should and constantly belittles her in front of her kids.

 

I clearly remember her crying as she told me all of this. I was aware of the injustices towards this gentle soul, but I had no idea of the extent of this corruption.

I know that women are mistreated in our society, and are considered equal to nothing in front of men.

 

But what angers me are women doing this to other women.

 

WHY?

 

Have you forgotten that you were once in the same position?

 

If you want less of a daughter and more of a maid, get a fucking maid. Please. But don’t ruin a person’s life whose primary goal SHOULD be her family, but she ends up getting pushed into your nasty affairs.

 

I hold nothing against serving your in-laws, after all they are your elders and you should respect them, but silently suffering through misbehavior isn’t something a woman signs up for when she gets married.

 

I’m no advocate of any other religion, but in Islam, a woman has no obligation on her husband’s parents. And if she does serve them, she does it only out of love for her husband.

A Muslim woman is entitled to her own separate house and can also ask for wages to take care of the children. Plus, let me remind you, housework is the responsibility of HER HUSBAND. It is HIS duty to figure out how work around the house is tended to.

 

I know that in the present world, everyone thinks that a Muslim woman is oppressed beyond belief. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but that isn’t true. I come from a family of doctors, and having 5 sisters, I know a thing or two about a woman’s rights. In Islam, a woman is MORE important than a man.

 

To the people who complain about women being a miscreant or a burden- If it weren’t for a woman, love, you wouldn’t even be existing. Funny, right?

 

It’s so easy to call women weak. But we’re the stronger being. Physical strength can be lost, but breaking somebody’s spirit isn’t easy, you know? A woman can be subjected to a lot of suffering, but she has the strength to bear it all. Probably the biggest challenge being pregnancy and child birth. So before you call a woman weak, think about how your mother silently suffered to bring you into this world and not your father. Think about how much your mother or your sister or your wife or your daughter will love you and take care of you, only out of the compassion in their hearts. Think about how many times she will be torn down, and how many times she will rise back on her feet.

Do you think housework is easy? Give it a try. And do the same thing 365 days in a year. And then live every second without appreciation and tell me how that feels.

 

And possibly what I hate the most, is when men call other apparently weak men, “women” or “bitch” or “pussy”.

 

EXCUSE ME, but we’re stronger than you nut carrying creeps can ever be.

 

Me and another friend have decided that from now on, NOBODY is a bitch- they’re a dog.

NOBODY is a whore/slut- they’re a pimp.

NOBODY is a woman (aurat)- they’re a man (mard).

 

THIS is why we need feminism.

Because women don’t deserve equal treatment, they deserve better.

Because they ARE better.

Better than ANY man.

Better than what society has her believe.

 

She is strong.

She is powerful.

She is amazing.

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Image courtesy: bloodmile.tumblr.com

 

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.”

– Diane Mariechild

As A Matter Of Fact

Imagine a girl.

Now imagine a group of guys.

Imagine the girl passing by these guys.

I don’t need to tell you the next situation, do I?

A while passes by, and the girl and one of the guys in the group are dating.

Fate happens and they break up.

Now. Another guy from the same group approaches the girl to console her, to ‘talk it out’. He charms her, and tells the girl that he had ‘liked’ her since day 1. After getting over her initial jhatka, the girl and the second guy start going out.

The second guy goes back to his circle and starts telling his friends about how he managed to patao the girl. And they all laugh about it, and talk about how the girl lacks moral character. And ofcourse, the group still has the first guy in it cuz ‘bros before hoes’, right?

And but of course, they discuss about how another guy from the group will date her once the second one dumps her.

And SHE’S the one without character? Absolutely.

Character. I hate this word.

Despise.

Loathe.

Abhor.

In our extremely ‘modern’ and ‘culturally rich’ society, we are so quick to judge a person’s character without knowing them inside out. And even if we do, we feel that we have a birth right to taint a person’s soul with crude remarks and incessant gossip.

Our values have been moderated so much that a person’s respect is a joke to us.

Agar hamaari izzat nahin hai toh dusron ki kyun rahe?

People go to universities and colleges to observe, categorize and brand other people. And it is a universal subject- something we never get tired of.

But yeah, a course book or a class totally puts us to sleep, until someone says, uske bare mein pata chala?

WHY do we pride ourselves on being so culturally diverse when we can’t even stand a person who isn’t from the same geographical location as we are? When we look down upon somebody who might be financially weaker than us? When we’re not of the same gender?

WHY is it that when two people break up, the female is the immoral victim and the dude is the one that gets away with it? And let me add the scenario where the guy is fooling around with multiple chicks, it is still that poor chick who is blamed for everything. So much that other girls are asked to refrain from becoming friends with her because wo sahi ladki nahin hai.

Our generation is full of guys who LOVE to gossip and tell tales, sometimes even more than women. WAY WAYYY MORE. They’ll pick a chick from their college or mohalla and gang up against her existence. And then they talk about respect. Fuck-off.

Exactly how much time do you have in your life?

Let me rephrase that-

Exactly how much WORTHLESS time do you have in your life? Apparently, all the time in the world.

And then you’ll run around to fix your attendances, and your grades and your rapidly descending and empty life through jugaad.

Good going, mate. You da real MVP.

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I don’t relate to feminism too much because these days, people take it as male-bashing and/or for females to have their clothing/sexual rights.

But I believe we NEED feminism.

Why?

For what I explained above.

For a woman to not have her dignity or her respect taken to the circus.

For a woman to be able to make her mistakes and learn from them. Because that’s what they are- mistakes.

For a woman to be able to walk into her place of education or work without avoiding eye contact with people because of what is being said about her.

For dudes to start respecting women, because clearly, that isn’t the case anymore.


In case you’ve noticed, I haven’t used the term “man” anywhere for the male sex.

Because real men don’t behave erratically.

Because real men don’t indulge in crazy talk.

Because real men respect women.

The Great Indian Tamasha

Before you start reading this post, there are two things you should keep in mind-

ONE- I don’t need you telling me this is a worldwide issue. I am well aware of that fact. Note that the topic is titled “The Great INDIAN Tamasha”, because due to reasons known only to God, I am an Indian. This topic is related to the entire South East Asia (tragically).

TWO- If you’re the kind of person who gets easily offended on the internet, I’m going to urge you to grab a chair and open a new tab, because you’re probably not going to like what you read. Don’t expect me to respond to your hate comments, because I don’t have the time or the energy to deal with people who can’t respect other’s opinions. On that note, I have nothing against you, reader. This is simply me stating what I believe. And I don’t expect your agreement, no more than your change.

So shall we begin?

Some of you must have figured out the topic of discussion by now. Some of you are still wondering what this shit is all about. So with no further ado, let’s jump right to it, the thing I dread the most- WEDDINGS.

Let’s face it. Indian weddings ARE a tamasha, for lack of better word- the expenditure, the stress that comes along with it, the pre-year preparations and my personal favourite, the people.

Log kya kahenge?

Now. I’m going to break my rant into two parts- the logical rant and the religious one.

Let’s proceed to my logical rant.


So.

For people like me, weddings are a headache- whether somebody else’s or my own. The entire process of deciding on the joda, the jewellery that’s supposed to go with it, and the endless cribbing over nothing working out.

The joda– The wedding attire. Something you’re going to wear for a couple of hours and never wear it again. You’re willing to spend thousands on it, but you have a problem making a donation or giving a beggar 10 rupees.

In my case, me being the sort of person who wants a low key wedding (insha’Allah) or should I say, IF my society lets me, I don’t want to wear a ridiculously pricey outfit. But people have called me crazy for even presenting the idea to them. Why? Because log kya kahenge?

Honestly, I don’t get it. People want me to be uncomfortable in my wedding attire just because it pleases THEIR eyes? What. Even.

I believe that in weddings you should invite the kind of people who will be happy even if you serve them only dates and water. Because these people are there to be a part of your happiness. These people are genuine. These people don’t care if they don’t get to eats kebabs or if the wedding is not flashy. Sadly, these are also the people who, in today’s era, avoid going to too many weddings because of what they have become- a money spending venture.

I have seen people who attend weddings because the host was gracious enough to invite them, and while they fill themselves with biryani, nihari and kebabs, they stand at a distance and say, dulhan kaisi lag rahi hai, taubah!

Ungrateful bastards.

Upon discussion of these issues and the unnecessary rasmein that happen, I was given the exact same answer everybody else gives- Aray shaadi hai. Logon ka bhi dekhna padta hai.
And they’re right, shaadi toh hai, but it’s a not a movie that you MUST please the audience.

Some people state tradition as the answer, which is stupid to begin with.
Sati was a tradition too, remember?


On to the religious rant-

People will create chaos if you go for, what we call, a LOVE marriage. Why? Because religion.
To combat this reason, let me remind you that we are allowed to choose our own spouses.

Now when people like me want a simple, low key affair, I’m rebuked because log kya kahenge?
Where’s your deen now?

I’ve come to understand that these days, religion is okay as long as you’re commenting on somebody else. When it comes upon yourself, you go with “tradition”. Deny it all you want, it’s a fact.

Deen bas doosron ke gharon mein acchi lagti hai.

I don’t understand what the hypocrisy is about.

I’ve also been told because you need to please people (guests at your OWN wedding by doing what THEY like smh) because, God forbid, you might need their help in the future. What is HE for, then? Where’s your belief?

Doing something extreme, although religiously correct, requires a LOT of effort and faces a LOT of negativity. What course of deen was ever easy? Why do we study about our religions, if not to learn from them and apply them in our lives.

I’m not the most Muslim person you’ll meet, but if there is something that I want to do which is Islamically correct, why should I suffer? Why should I be insulted? What’s the point of preaching deen if you don’t want to practice it?

Allah swt has stated-
Blessed is the marriage with the least expenses.

Ofcourse to which I’ve been told, “If you have money, spend it.”
Yes. I WILL spend it.
By feeding the hungry.
By giving it to the poor.
By doing sadaqah.

NOT by inviting hordes of unfamiliar faces who come there for the food and the photographs.

To the people who want to celebrate their wedding in a grand way, this is not a judgmental post for you. By Allah, I hope your weddings are successes and so are your marriages insha’Allah.

But for those of us who don’t want to follow the norms of narrow minded society, please let us enjoy our weddings. If we’re lucky, we’ll have to get married only once insha’Allah and let that one day be the best day of our lives. Let us not be uncomfortable and agitated on the one day that we have the right to call entirely ours. Let us remember that day rather than want to destroy every trace of it. Let us be happy.

Thankyou.

And Good night.

I’d Rather You Not Read This

The problem, you ask? There is this dire need in society to be “high standard”- to be an intelligent smartass, to be popular and own hi-tech and pricey assets. And you know what the bigger problem is? We idolize these people. From wearing what they wear, to walking their walk and talking their talk. We’re like pseudo clones of these people we call “celebrities”.

When we’re growing up, we want to be the school jock or the classy cheerleader. And as we age, everyone wants to be a Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs. Why not be yourself? Why not use your own talent and your own potential to achieve greater heights in what we’re best. Why this constant need to shadow yourself with the achievers? Why not be one instead? Why not be the leader rather than a follower?

This is something I think of at times, and to be honest, I don’t really have an answer. Maybe we don’t have self-confidence. Or maybe we have an attachment with being the “next”. Whatever it is, it needs to be changed.

As far as I know, I’m going to be the first me. If not, atleast I’ll definitely try.
And this post made no sense. Wow, I need to find something to do.