Tuesday, 28 January 2014

What I want to look back on when I'm old and brittle

Instead of writing about dick-ass tonight, as I promised on Twitter earlier today, I'm posting something that's been rotting in my drafts forever.
A piece of marriage.
Well, kind of. Sort of.
[Disclaimer: Writer is a complete romantic, thus: thoughts may be clichéd, cheesy, and portraying what some people claim is only found in movies and books. And if you're a judgemental piece of shit, I don't want you reading this.]

For those of you who may not know, I'm just going to give you a little brief note about what Pakistani marriages are like.
Pakistani marriages are mostly arranged marriages; arranged of course by the parents who judge a suitor by his family background, income, age, and of course, looks. As drab, boring, and insulting as it sounds to the poor kids who have to spend the rest of their life with complete strangers because their parents think they've made a good match. Usually, the fiancées gain each other's acquaintance before they get married by sneakily meeting each other without their parents knowing, and phone calls that no one can know about (but it's kind of obvious this happens, it's just supposedly looked down upon or whatever).
The wedding celebrations consist of 5 main events over the course of a month or so. First, of course, comes the engagement which usually comes a couple of months before the actual wedding. Then there are the dholkis that the immediate family (we use this term very lightly, mind you) celebrates, with festive clothes, music, dancing, dhols (a kind of traditional drums), and mostly yellow clothes.
Next comes the maayoun, which is also celebrated by the immediate family, but is, noticeably more festive, where again people typically wear pinks, blue, purples, yellow, and greens.

(This is just some random cultural bullshit I'm throwing in and has no real relevance as to what I have to say about Pakistani weddings)

There's the mehendi, which consists mostly of dancing. Both the bride and groom's family attends this event, and they collectively celebrate. Mehendis are actually supposed to be about the application of mehendi on the hands of the girls of the families, and the bride, but that doesn't really happen anymore. Now it's mostly about prepared dance routines, dressing up (yet more festive), and some silly rituals that only concern the immediate relatives and those who enjoy having a good time and butting in.
Then there's the wedding where the bride leaves her parents' home and goes to live with her husband. The whole wedding vows and everything are usually taken during this ceremony, unless they've been said and done earlier. The wedding is basically about saying goodbye to the bride who's now going to live with strangers. Boohoo.
Then there's the valima which is basically a wedding reception, and this, like all the other ceremonies, is one where the bride and groom sit on a podium as people pose for pictures with them, eat, and sadly, there's not even any dancing during this boring old ritual.
And then, well, the couple spends the rest of their living lives together, or hope to anyway, and give many kids to their parents who will prove happy grandparents and can say, "Oh, what a good match we made, ha ha ha," and feel their sole purpose in life is done - their kids are now wed.

Now that you're acquainted with how Pakistani weddings usually go, let me give you my verdict:
I think all of this is bullshit.
First of all, arranged marriages are the scariest fucking things ever. I know many people (read: the better half of the Pakistani population) are okay with them, but I am certainly not one of them. If I'm going to have to share my bed with somebody for the supposed remainder of my life - I want it to be somebody I love. Somebody I can wake up to and say, "Thank God I married him. Aren't I lucky?" I want looking at his face to brighten my day, and I want it to be the best part of it.
The whole family background, income, age thing doesn't matter to me. I don't want to know where the man comes from, I want to know where he wants to go. I want to know that I want to be there with him, and that he wants me with him. I don't want to be a supporting character to his main-lead movie, I want to be the damn love of his life that drags him around his life making him thankful for every single bit of it. Income... As long as I wake up, and feel content about my day ahead, I don't care if it's in a mansion or a damn hut by the beach.
Age... okay, age matters. I take that back.
Thank God I do not have to worry about this part of the whole thing, because my parents aren't the arranged marriage kind, and who also had a love marriage.
Second - the sneaking around behind your parents to meet the person you're going to spend the remainder of your life with. I want to be acquainted with the guy, before I show up in his room on our wedding night, and then proceed to bang before we've even had our first consecutive conversation.
Third - which is actually part of the first, but oh, well. Organization was never my forte. Pakistani parents seem to raise their kids not so that they can grow up and live their lives, but so that they can get married and follow the exact same path in life that they've followed, and so have all their ancestors. This is where I plead my parents guilty too. I want my parents to know that they've raised a strong, independent young woman who does not need a man to take care of her. Same goes for boys. Their parents shouldn't raise them like pigs for slaughter, who need to grow up, go work, make money for them, get married, and make a lot of babies so they can continue the whole marriage process all over again.
I mean, what the hell is that about? What are we even trying to do? And why?
What's the purpose of this viscous cycle?


Sunny Williams said...

Wow - I actually didn't know a thing about any of this. The five events sound pretty nice - apart from, yes, the whole 'arranged part'.
I guess it's not really a problem for me at all, but I agree with every word. I know that we say brides are 'given away' but I absolutely could NOT stand given away to someone I hadn't chosen. Scary? I think so.

Adeena said...

Exactly! Plus, saying the bride is "given away" just sounds so degrading, you know? Like she was a part of some sort of bargain. I'm reminded of all of these things each time I attend a wedding back home and I hate it.

Catalina Blue said...

Well, actually, the girl has a choice, she does get to say no if she doesn't like the potential suitor. But if she remains silent, it means she accepts. The choice is always there. So she's not exactly "given away". Perhaps the weddings you've attended are mostly centered around culture rather than religion.
Lovely post though, I enjoyed your style and opinion xD

Adeena said...

I agree completely. Both, the boy and the girl, do need to give their consent, and nothing against their will usually happens. But that's not exactly the point of this post. The point is that we're all growing up to get married, not growing up to live.

Ellie Clarke said...

You're blog is truly inspirational - I enjoy reading what you have to say so so much! It's always so original and true!

Adeena said...

I'm just now reading your comments.. thank you so much. Your comments just made my day.