Then I spotted a Gold Digger!

A few days ago, I had a terrible experience. An incident that once again revealed the creepy attitude of our society. A society that is insecure and has no traces of empathy left.

I posted a girl’s profile for a marriage proposal on a Facebook matrimonial group (without picture). The girl is a mature, educated, independent, and self-sufficient lady who has crossed the ideal age range of marriage set by society. It was a pretty straight forward profile as she doesn’t just want to get married to anyone available. A basic right of every woman; a life of her choice.

The amount of jahalat flown in the comments stunned me. She is a hijabi (covers head) and many proposals were rejected in the last few years on this basis. So, she gave a red flag to anyone expecting a beauty contestant in teens. Some cool men commented on her looks and age without even looking at her picture and mocked her demands.

She is a working woman who wishes to maintain her lifestyle so she also mentioned the minimum salary demand which was way lesser than what she already earns. O My my, this point touched the weak nerves of all those insecure men who couldn’t do anything in their lives. Those chickens who don’t even know there is a world outside their coop, called her “Gold Digger”.

A girl is a gold digger if

  • She has demands in life
  • A girl who has spent a good amount of time to establish her career and wants a compatible partner, is asking too much
  • A girl is uncultured because she refused to consider proposals who don’t want a career-oriented partner
  • A girl is destined to get bashing if she doesn’t bow down to the stereotype and patriarchal system
  • A girl with an opinion and mind is unacceptable.

Yes, this is the progressive modern society we live in. A rishta parade that happens in every other house is a soul tearing process. A woman is judged on her appearance and age. The age range starts as soon as the girl hits puberty to the age she learns to use her mind. If the girl can use her mind, oops she is too overage for the misogynist partner.

She is examined according to the standard of society by ruining her self esteem. The audience of this show doesn’t have empathy when they switch houses one by one in the search of their ideal minor angel-looking puppet.

If they mistakenly encounter an alive human with her senses and especially functioning brain, they conveniently exclude her from the “eligible girl” criteria list.

I noticed that the profiles on that matrimonial group which had no demands were taken as ideal proposals. On the contrary, girls who have specifications for their future partner were called arrogant. God forbid, if the girl has entered the age of 30s, she is being casually recommended to accept whatever comes her way.

I wanted to reply to many comments as harshly as they responded to that post. I could be as mean as they were but then I could already sense the illiteracy from their words. The men who want fancy wives who would have no requirements in life. The wives who are educated but worship the patriarchy. The wives who would tolerate their bad mouth as a duty. The wives who would lay eggs (oh I mean babies) and dedicate their lives raising them without any support. Why? Because in a patriarchal world, it’s not a man’s work to help his wife or give her breathing space. Actually, mostly wives are given value by considering them highly skilled like a ROBOT.

Dear men, don’t get offended that you are being targeted. Your mothers are equally responsible for letting you believe that you own the world alone.

Picture Courtesy: https://imgbin.com/

Do we need an enemy or are we enough for each other?

Some events leave an everlasting impact on our life.

I would really appreciate it if you would read the whole article to understand my point.

So, it’s about the time when I was in 8th grade. I went back to school after 4 days Moharram holidays. For Shia students, it was 7th-10th and for the rest of the students, it was 8th-10th Moharram. I usually don’t remember such details but that one extra day left a huge mark on my memory and personality too.

I clearly remember when I went back to school, all of my friends were acting weird. None of them were talking to me including my apparent best friends. It was the most uncomfortable day of my school life. I was on the verge of crying after the reception of this behavior. I was a kid and not at all a carefree person who would not notice the changed behaviors.

After spending a few classes in misery (yes, it’s the right word), I got to know that my so-called best friend discussed religion and sects on the day I was absent. She convinced everyone that talking to Shias is more of sin so they all should not be friends with me.

That was the mindset of an 8th standard girl (around 13-14 years old). Surprisingly, most of my friends obeyed her. Some of them were passing smiles awkwardly as they were also scared of the wrath God will send upon them for talking to a Shia.

Here comes the entry of my supergirl (my best friend since then) who confronted everyone for being silly and put some sense in my other friends’ heads. She almost scolded everyone for hurting me and how they can become better Muslims after hurting me like that. Eventually, everything got back to normal, some came to apologize and others said sorry with their compensating behaviors. Apparently, everything was normal after some time, but a lot had changed for me. After that day, I used to dread religious topics among friends. I had become a people pleaser as I didn’t want any confrontation. I was a frightened and dependent girl for a long time.

That day, I cried in front of my Ammi. Asked her many questions and she replied all of them. In the end, she suggested keeping the religion out of your friendship as we were too young to understand things completely.

I’m so lucky to have parents who didn’t feed me with more hatred after that event. They told me to study religion from authentic sources but never impose your beliefs on others until they are ready to understand your perspective. Sometimes, I used to get upset at my parents for raising us like that. Now, I’m glad they did what they did. I don’t call myself a very religious or knowledgeable person but I have learned to speak or act in such conditions only when you have enough knowledge and the other person is ready to listen.

I really want to give credit to my husband for teaching me to think logically and find the authenticity of everything. There are a lot of beliefs in religion we follow blindly. It’s not that all of them are wrong but we lack their understanding and history. The same goes for other beliefs, its good to search for the reasons behind other beliefs instead of just tagging them as non-believer/kafir.

If we talk about human rights, prejudice, justice, anti-bullying then we have to pay more attention in raising children with more acceptance. Acceptance of different religions, sects, ethnicity, color, language etc. We have to teach them to become responsible for their words and actions since very beginning. Today, we see hate speech, intolerance and extremism so common that I fear whether our children will grow up considering these normal human traits?

The Game of Respect

Nothing is more painful than staying quiet and not being able to correct someone out of respect. In fact, I don’t consider this behavior as respect at all. This can be fear, ignorance, weakness, numbness but definitely not the so-called respect.

One common parenting goal that I have observed since forever is to raise well-behaved children. We were always reminded to behave in front of elders, neighbors, in-laws, guests, and every other possible human. Let me elaborate on this well-behaved term a little according to our society. You are well-behaved and well-raised if:

◾You act dumb to every unnecessary comment from elders around the globe
◾You don’t mention your preferences and choices in front of anyone
◾A child of your family doesn’t report molestation or abuse because he would fear that it might be disrespectful towards that SAINT.
◾Children in your family choose their careers only according to the elder’s wishes and orders
◾You are bound to ignore all the privacy invaders with a smile because oh dear, you dont even know how to set boundaries
◾You have no power to protect your dear ones from the toxicity because respecting the wrong person is apparently more important than saving someone’s life

◾You have no courage to correct the authorities
◾You keep respecting and keep losing your self-respect

I’m sure every third person can relate to one of these and proudly call them well-behaved and well-raised.

The heart shattering part is when I see the abuse at the name of respect from the educated ones. Education is indeed the best thing that can happen to a person until he/she starts feeling too educated for others. You can spot these people among your family, relatives, colleagues and sometimes at street who are just too educated to think, too educated to learn more, too educated to adapt, too educated to even listen. However, always too good to give others any respect.

When the pseudo education gets to someone’s head, it intoxicates them with the lust of control over others. The vicious game of respect is more common among such people. Surprisingly, they find a massive audience and generations to help them grow their “respectful circle”

The circus of respect is getting suffocating but am I allowed to stop being “well-behaved”????

Eligible for Respect?

“You should learn to respect your elders.” his father told him in a stern tone.

“But, aunty was being unreasonable towards me”. He protested.

“Stop it. She is older than you. You don’t say such things about elders. Have we not taught you this?”. He almost screamed.

“But…….”. He stopped after looking at his father’s expressions.

He was hurt. He was hurt to disappoint his father but he was hurt more because he felt unheard and disrespected. He couldn’t stop thinking if only elders deserve respect?

He is one of us. He is another victim of the so-called rules of respect followed for generations. Apparently, there are certain roles, relations, and financial statuses that deserve the most regard. We might be in a modern era but somethings have followed us down here in 2020 too. There are numerous daily examples that cause damages at the individual level due to this vicious cycle of respect.

◾A child is forced to be nice to everyone (guilty of doing this). Sometimes to an extent that with the time a child loses his ability to judge according to his own instincts and just quietly keep “respecting”.

◾A teenager has been molested by one of the respectable members of the family for years but she couldn’t say anything because she feared it would be disrespectful to say something against him.

◾Talking about sex education, menstruation, and puberty changes in the family were considered a taboo. The kids learned it from the wrong sources. Now the family is trying to save its respect.

◾A girl’s dream of higher studies was crushed under her grandparent’s wish to get her married soon. The parents were respecting the elders and they didn’t realize the harm they did to the person with her own heart, soul, and desires.

◾He was sharp, energetic, and full of ideas until he switched to a new company at the start of his career. His new boss didn’t believe in considering junior’s ideas. He was ridiculed in front of the whole office for proposing changes in a new project. The company later lost that same project as well as the self-esteem of their employee.

◾He always loved the magic of different spices that come together to make a delicious meal. His passion for cooking grew with age. When he excitedly shared his decision of perusing a chef career, he was reminded of the only few noble professions that are respectable. Later in life, he was neither a good chef nor any in other professions.

◾They brought the dead body inside the house full of people. She looked at her mother. Everyone was crying. She was crying too but she could feel the calmness on her mother’s face. Her mother was at rest now. Her mother doesn’t have to fear anyone. She doesn’t have to listen to those harsh taunts. She doesn’t have to prove herself as a good daughter, wife, daughter in law, and a mother. She doesn’t have to compromise on her self-respect by respecting the most honorable (or horrible) relations.

A person dies gradually from inside after respecting the pre-defined rules of society and disrespecting his own self. Everyone deserves respect. Parents, children, elders, youngsters, rich, poor; these tags should not define the eligibility of respect but only the individuality of a person.

Let’s be a generation who listens and evaluates the matters rationally rather than with a fear of “it was not common in our time”.

Safe and Sound? – Flash Fiction

“Didn’t you sleep all night again? ” her mom asked him looking at his red eyes.

He kept quiet with his deep brown eyes looking down on his hands on lap. His mind was blank but too tired to listen or respond to anyone. This has been his condition for many days now. His mom’s heart sank once again to see his son with a pale face and messy curly hair which was the exact opposite of his usual bright looks.

Musa was a 19 years old chirpy boy who was hard to ignore for his bright, handsome, and carefree personality. He was another teenager who would like to enjoy life ignoring all the ifs and buts.

Flying with the wind on his bike, Musa left college early than usual as he just had one class that day. Sliding smoothly on the service road reaching his society, he saw someone running on the road. Within a few seconds, a waving hand of a girl caught his attention and he stopped the bike with a jerk as she came just in front of him. She was a beautiful girl with a lean body in her mid-twenties wearing turquoise shalwar kameez with a comparatively darker shade dupatta hanging on her shoulder. She came closer to Musa hurriedly, ” Can you please drop me off at the next stop?”, in a breathless panicked tone while holding her big brown purse. He didn’t understand the attack from that girl on an almost deserted road. It was the peak hot summer day when there is very little traffic on roads. He suddenly recalled all the crime news coming along these days. His mind worked abruptly and he accelerated the bike as fast as he could without saying anything. He didn’t listen to that girl. All he heard was her scream of “wait, wait, don’t goooo! “.

Throughout his way, he kept praising himself for dodging the criminal gang and for acting vigilantly on time otherwise his name would be in news as another victim.

Soon after entering the home, he proudly announced, “Mom!! Go and pray nafil, your brave son saved himself from an incident right on time today”. His mom ran out of the kitchen in a hurry towards him.

“What happened? Are you alright?”, she asked with a panic in her voice.

She looked at him top to bottom and took a sigh of relief after finding no visible injuries. He grabbed an apple from the kitchen counter and crashed on the nearest sofa in living. He explained the incident with little spices while switching TV channels. He later went into his room.

He woke up to the knock on his bedroom door. He looked up to see the clock striking 10’o clock. He stretched his arms with a yawn to feel the pleasure of oversleeping one more time. His sister entered the room.

“Dinner is ready Nawab Sahab, would you like to join us?”, Natasha informed with a pure sisterly tone.

He came out of the room grinning displaying his achievement of taking a more than 5 hours long nap.

“Good morning, son”, his father greeted him sarcastically and turned towards television screen again.

Musa opened his mouth to say something but the news bulletin caught his attention. They were taking the name of the road on which he passes every day. It was the same road on which the incident happened today. His eyes popped out when he saw the picture of the girl. The news anchor was repeating, “Girl was attacked with acid for refusing the marriage proposal of a colleague.”……..

“Was she asking for help?”
“the acid attacker was following her!!”
“I could have saved her”
“I didn’t even listen to her”
“Am I responsible for this?”

His head started to spin with all the thoughts which are of no use now!