“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

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.