Almost Wordless Wednesday

Lilly loves wearing her ‘traditional’ Pakistani clothes, even though to her, it’s more a costume than a normal outfit. It’s funny how what was ‘normal’ for me growing up is more of a fun Halloween-esque costume for my daughter, but at least she likes it! Learning about the actual culture will have to come with time.

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Eid!

After a month of endless fasting, mindful praying, excessive cooking, never ending exhaustion and the testing of the boundaries of human patience, Ramadan is finally over and Eid is here! 

Happy Eid to everyone who is celebrating!

eid-mubarak

Arranging Love (Part 7): Engaged!

“Are you nervous?”

“I’m trying not to be so don’t remind me!”

“What’s the fun in being the bride’s best friend if you don’t get to tease her?”

“I’m not the bride yet, today’s just the engagement!”

“Honey, you became the bride the moment your parents said yes to his parents.”

“….”

“Oh don’t stress so much! I’m just bugging you! You look amazing! You’ll knock his socks off!”

The girl smiled at her friend. “Thank you!”

“Now stop pacing and sit down. I’m going to go see if your mom needs any help with the arrangements. They’ll be here soon!”

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“You know, I’m really getting tired of all these grand entrances I have to keep making,” the girl lamented.

“Get used to it, there’s still a lot more to come!” Her friend laughed, glancing at the clock as she did so.

The girl had a vague feeling of de javu as she paced the floor, waiting for her sister-in-law to come get her.

 

———————————————————————

“Are you ready?”

“Yes, I think so..”

“Ok, deep breath and smile!”

The girl entered the brightly lit living room, hoping she didn’t look as nervous as she felt.

The women surrounded her, full of kind words and smiles as they steered her towards the empty space next to the boy. Her heartbeat quickened as she took her place, stealing a shy glance at the boy beside her.

This was their second ‘meeting’.The warmth of their family surrounded them, cameras flashed, and laughter and chatter filled the room as the two sat side by side, too conscious off propriety to talk to each other, but at the same time very aware of their closeness.

After a while, the boy’s mother came and sat beside the girl, ring in hand and a smile on her face. With lovely words of blessing, she put the the ring on the girl’s finger while the girl’s mother followed suit, placing a ring on the boy’s finger. The small gathering of family and friends erupted in celebrations, congratulations being given and accepted by all.

The girl and the boy were officially engaged.

 

…to be continued.

Over the years since I’ve been blogging I’ve been asked more than once how I met my husband, how arranged marriages work. Each marriage, arranged or not, comes about differently and I can’t speak for them all, but this is my story.

I’m telling this story in order so if you missed it, here’s Part 1. If you want to know what happens next, stay tuned for the next instalment!

 

Pink Pear Bear

Arranging Love (Part 6): Yes or No?

The tea things had finally been cleared away, heels had been kicked off and collars had been loosened as the family sat around the living room, everyone giving their own 2 cents about the boy and his family.

The girl smiled to herself, remembering the endearing way the boy’s brother had managed to break her away from the women and seat her right across from the boy. True she hadn’t actually talked to the boy himself (that would have been scandalous!), but she had watched him converse and interact with her father and brother, she had noted his easy smile and his respectful demeanor, and she had blushed at the covert glances he had sent her way.

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Listening to everyone happily discussing the evening, she realized that she wasn’t alone in her positive thoughts. They all seemed to have loved the boy.

The girl was still smiling to herself when her father turned to her and asked her the all important question.

“What did you think of him N?”

“I thought he was nice, they were all nice.”

“Are you ok with us saying yes?”

The room was quiet, all eyes on the girl. This was probably the most important decision she would ever have to make in her adult life, and she knew it. What she also knew though was that she trusted her father’s judgement and he would not be willing to give her away in marriage unless he really liked the boy and family in question.

She turned to her father and felt herself blush.

“Yes.”

…. to be continued.

Over the years since I’ve been blogging I’ve been asked more than once how I met my husband, how arranged marriages work. Each marriage, arranged or not, comes about differently and I can’t speak for them all, but this is my story.

I’m telling this story in order so if you missed it, here is Part 1. If you want to know what happens next, here is Part 7!

Arranging Love (part 5): The Boy

The boy, understandably, was nervous but hoped to God it didn’t show. The last thing he needed was to make a bad first impression, and as far as first impressions went, the first-meeting-with-possible-future-wife situation was pretty much the most important first impression in his life so far.

He nodded and smiled at the girl’s dad, willing himself to focus on the conversation instead of worrying.

He was still smiling when he heard the door open on the other end of the room and the rise in conversation that followed.

He looked up, and there she was.

Smiling self-consciously, nervously adjusting her dupatta, the girl took a few hesitant steps into the room before looking up.

Their eyes met, and for a split second the rest of the world went slightly out of focus.

love
The girl blinked, breaking the spell, and the boy quickly looked away, not wanting to get caught starring at her. From the corner of his eye he could see the girl take a seat next to his mother, on the other side of the room and out of his line of vision.

Great. So much for meeting the girl. Now how was he supposed to look at her without twisting his head around and being super obvious?

Damn it.

————————-

“Damn it,” the girl thought as she nodded along to the conversation, “I can’t see him from here at all!”

She had only caught a glimpse of the boy when their eyes had met across the room and though it had been an intense moment, she had barely had time to take him in properly.

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She was still trying to figure out how to steal another look at the boy when she heard someone calling her name.

“N why don’t you come here for a while? We haven’t gotten to talk to you at all!”

It was the boy’s brother, who just happened to be sitting right next to the boy himself.

Panicking, not sure what the proper response should be, the girl did the only thing she could do: she looked at her mom for help. The girl’s mother smiled and nodded.

“Go ahead.”

The room wasn’t an exceptionally large one, but it felt like it took forever to walk across it to the small enclave of men on the other end. Her heartbeat thumped in her ears, almost deafening.

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Relieved that she managed to make it across the room without tripping over her own feet, the girl sat down next to her father, smack dab in front of the boy.

Breath in. Breath out. Relax. Look up.
To be continued…

Over the years since I’ve been blogging I’ve been asked more than once how I met my husband, how arranged marriages work. Each marriage, arranged or not, comes about differently and I can’t speak for them all, but this is my story.

I’m telling this story in order so if you missed it, here’s part 1. If you want to know what happens next, here is Part 6!

Arranging Love (part 4): Girl meets Boy

“What about this one?” The girl asked anxiously, holding up a pink and white dress with a colorful dupatta.

“It looks really nice!” her sister assured her from the bed, where she sat amid a pile of discarded clothing.

The girl held the dress up to her chin and peered at herself in the mirror, trying to ignore the waves of panic rising in her belly. If this is what it felt like to have ‘butterflies in your stomach’ then she was glad she had never felt it before.

butterfly
Today though? Today it felt like she had an entire colony of the buggers inside her, and all because the boy was coming to meet her for the first time. So yes, she was just a tad nervous.

After a few months of conversation between their families, a handful of meetings sans her and an intricate  screening process conducted by her father and brother, she and the boy were finally going to see, meet and talk to each other for the first time.

So yes, no pressure.

Exasperated, the girl tossed the dress onto the growing pile on her bed, and went back to rummaging through her closet, searching for that elusive perfect outfit.

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“Ok, they’re calling for you,” the girl’s sister-in-law announced, breezing into the room where the girl and her sister had been waiting tensely ever since the guests had arrived.

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“I think I’m having a heart attack.”

“No you’re not! You’re just stressed! Shake it off, come on they’re waiting!”

“Ok ok, let’s go. Wait, where exactly is he sitting? I don’t know what he looks like! How do I know which one is him and which ones are the brothers?”

“He’s sitting next to his dad at the end of the grey sofa, don’t worry, I’ll sit you down somewhere with a good view!”

“You better!”

“Ok stop stalling, it’s time for your big entrance!”

“Ok now I’m hyperventilating again!”

The girl’s sister-in-law laughed, giving the girl a quick hug before ushering her out and gently steering her towards the sound of laughter and voices.

The two girls paused just outside the door.

“Ready?”

“I think so..”

“Ok, smile!”

Smiling nervously, self consciously clenching and unclenching her fingers, the girl followed her sister-in-law into the brightly lit room.

She could feel her heart pounding, sure that everyone could hear it. Her face flushed, she tried to remember to smile and return everyone’s greetings as she took a few awkward steps.

Her eyes darted around the room, from one new face to the next as she took in the boy’s family.

Then she saw him. There, on the far end of the room, a nervous smile on his face, was the boy.

He looked up, and their eyes met.

 

…to be continued!


Over the years since I’ve been blogging I’ve been asked more than once how I met my husband, how arranged marriages work. Each marriage, arranged or not, comes about differently and I can’t speak for them all, but this is my story.

I’m telling this story in order so if you missed it, here’s part 1. If you want to know what happens next, here’s Part 5!

I am not Superwoman

The world of motherhood is a strange one: Being a mom is a full time job but it is still seen by many as ‘easy’ and ‘not real work’, which in turn makes moms feel inadequate or anxious when they can’t ‘do it all’. At the same time mommy culture tends to put moms up on the superhero pedestal, insisting that we are superwomen, each and everyone, which again just sets us up for failure.
Don’t get me wrong, motherhood is a beautiful thing and it’s all worth it in the end, but putting moms up on the superhero pedestal just sets us up for failure, frustration and tears.

superwoman
Moms are strong, they have to be, they can handle so much more than they thought possible pre-motherhood, but we are not superwomen. We are flawed, we have limits to our patience and energy and there are days when we just want to crawl under a rock and hide from it all.

So yes, I’m a woman, I’m a mother, I’m stronger than I thought I could be, but I am not superwoman. I am not infallible, I am not without flaws and I am definitely not strong enough to handle everything life has to throw at me without breaking down every now and then.