My Marriage

On the 13th of April was my wedding day. Getting up early in the morning because we had to go a long way from Lahore to reach Saigolabad which is near Chakwal. It is a journey of about 5 hours from here (Lahore). Our family and friends got together and we started off our journey to Saigolabad. When we were about to reach Saigolabad, we stopped at a gas station and groom’s car was decorated with flowers and petals. It looked superb. After reaching at the bride’s home, we were seated in a separate place with all the other males. The priest (as in our culture) had the papers of Nikkah (Marriage) which I had to sign. The bride had signed it already. Both the bride and groom are not allowed to see each other until they have signed the Nikkah papers. I signed and he asked if I accept the marriage, and I replied “I accept”. Then all the people which were there put their hands up and prayed for our better life. After that we were directed to the place where lunch had been setup. Then we were shown way to the place where bride and all the females were sitting. Even there too very few males were allowed to go there. I was seated next to bride. She was wearing a red colored Lehnga and she looked marvelous. I wore a black Sherwani Kurta that day along with a turban and peach colored Khussa (shoes).

It is a custom not to speak to one another as it’s considered ill mannered, so we had to be a little reserved as you can see in the picture. Marriages differ from place to place so the situation is not exactly the same at every wedding, but mostly similar to this. My marriage took place in the country side (village) so we had to respect the customs and traditions of that place. When we sat together, many relatives came and sat with us, giving us money as gift which she had to place in her purse. Then she was escorted out of her home in the shade of the Holy Quran (our Holy Book). She and I sat together in the car along with my mother seated next to her and my dad in front.

After reaching Lahore, my parents gave her gifts (dresses). It’s a kind of tradition here. There is another tradition/custom that the groom has to give a gift to bride on the first meeting after marriage. It’s called “Munh Dikhayi” (First Look of her face). This is called this way because nowadays marriages have changed a little and we already see the bride’s face, while some time ago bride had her face covered and the groom had to unveil her after reaching back home and being alone in room. But anyways I digressed, the gift from the groom can either be a flower or a thing made from gold. As from me, she got a ring with heart shape on it.

After marriage the groom has to arrange a party for the bride’s relatives and his own friends. That party is called “Valima”. I had booked a marriage hall for that party. The picture in which she is wearing green dress is of the “Valima”. On this day the groom and bride are a little less reserved than before and can talk to each other and can greet the guests. It was a party of around three hours and my friends also joined me who were unable to join me on the wedding day. This party is also considered as marriage. It’s a part of marriage without which marriage is not considered complete here. We were given envelopes of money as token of gift from everyone who joined us.

After that we went back to our home along with her relatives and family and my mother prepared tea and some snacks before they said their goodbyes.

One more tradition worth mentioning is that the groom and bride have to visit the bride’s home and live there for at least two days after the Valima Party. We left 2-3 days after the party as we needed time to rest and lived in her hometown for two days after which we left for Khanaspur (hill station) and then came back after some days as it was quite cold there, unbearable cold.

She and I also enjoyed a lot in our city Lahore which is full of sights and places worth visiting. Marriage has brought us close and it has created a strong bond of relationship, love and care which we have for each other.

Marriages in Pakistan

Marriage is an institution; unfortunately for most people here it becomes an asylum when the bride or groom is not happy. I am not joking or anything. It is true. Marriages here in Pakistan are done for many reasons except love. Love is quite rare here. Arrange Marriages take place here. The husband and wife start to love each other (kind of forced love in my opinion as they have got no other choice).

Let’s take a look at the problem in detail. It’s not that people don’t love. Man is a social animal and man always needs the company of someone whom he can trust, share his life with and enjoy every moment there is. By man I mean of course both the genders here. The concept of love is quite popular here.

There are no bars or clubs (atleast not for now) where people can go and meet someone for one night stand. So people get desperate and frustrated, and they start stalking girls. Girls who have not even reached the age of 18. The girls who have been looking at western culture through media/television have not realized that people here are not like that, so they become easy prey. Then after spending some time with the girl the guy usually leaves her, without considering anything about her, not even the psychological torture that he might have given her. The scenario has started changing now that many girls have started using boys in same manner. Those guys who are true to their partners and find mutual relationship and love still cannot be together, because the parents wouldn’t allow it most of the time, just because of difference of caste, creed or social status. The end result is again separation of the two. Guy and a Girl cannot live together out of wedlock in this country. It is considered equal to rape, and people get imprisoned (except of course some high class, which can do everything they like). Some people go for court marriage which is perfectly allowed here, but still get stuck in problems. Problems like the parents of girl side forcing her to come back and once she goes back they say that the guy had kidnapped the girl and it was forced and stuff. Sometimes the guy’s parents create such situations that they cannot live together. While many times both of them are killed in the name of Honor (Honor Killings). They call the guy as “Kaaro” and girl as “Kaari” whom they kill. The “Kaaro Kaari” culture prevails here especially in villages.

Those who manage to get past all these hurdles and get married are very few lucky ones. The marriage brings us to another problem worth mentioning now. It’s the bizarre traditions that happen between marriage like giving dowry. The girl’s parents no matter how poor they are they try to arrange things for the girl like furniture, appliances and other things that she will bring in her new home. This purchasing of stuff that they do sometimes results in their bankruptcy, because if they don’t do it well enough society talks, and boy do these people care about society talking. This society and their status is everything for them. This results in complications. Sometimes the groom side is unhappy that they are not provided with enough dowry and the fights either result in life time mental torture of the bride or a divorce.

Let’s come to the happy side now. What we wear in Marriage?

The groom’s wedding dress is usually a “Kameez”, “Kurta” or “Sherwani” as top along with “Shalwar” as in place of pants. They wear “Sehra” on head as does the guy in the picture. Sometimes instead of “Sehra” they wear “Kulha” which is a sort or turban. In place of boots the groom wears a “Khussa” which is a sort of pointed boot usually golden in color. There is a wedding after party called “Valima” which is based in our religion. It happens usually the one or two days after marriage. The groom wears “Two Piece” or “Three Piece” suit on that day or a Sherwani or Kurta. The bride wears a dress of same style that she has worn, same style but different dress. I believe pictures describe better than words.

Lehnga (Bride’s Wedding Dress)

The girls wear “Choli” on top and “Lehnga” on bottom usually with so much embroidery, “Dabka” “Tilla” work done on it. These are local terms. This is a Lengha. You can see in the pic what type of work am I talking about. A typical lengha costs around 100 dollars and goes upto 1000$ sometimes even more. The one in the pic will cost around 1000$. It all depends on how much work is done on the dress. Sometimes the brides wear a frok style dress similar to this Lehnga. She gets dressed in the beauty parlor along with some good make up done on her. Then she wears the jewelry that is given by her parents. When comes the time for after wedding party, she wears the dress given by groom which is similar to lehnga or sometimes even a lehnga, and wears the jewelry given by the groom. Again she gets dressed and ready in Beauty Parlor.

Trends and New Styles

Trends are changing and so are fashions. New forms of dresses are coming both for grooms and brides with better prints and better work day by day. Take a look at these styles. These two groom wedding dress designs belong to Ameer Adnan franchise and this is just one of the many out here which have put their heart and dedication into coming up with new and exotic designs and styles. “Kulha” is the red turban that the guy is wearing on his head. and in place of shirt he is wearing what we call a “Sherwani”. With “Sherwani” the groom wears a “Shalwaar” which is usually simple without any design or anything. Sometimes there is a gold thread work on “Sherwani”. He wears “Khussa” which is usually with some design on it. Sometimes there is bead work on it too, usually beads of gold or silver.

Now we come to some of the traditions that are here. These vary from place to place even in Pakistan and from caste to caste. In some castes there is a tradition that on their way back from the bride’s house the groom has to carry the bride to the car which will take her to his home. Quite romantic if you ask me, but quite hard if the bride is a little healthy. Then at places when the groom side is going to the bride’s house for marriage, on that day there is a race between some people that whoever gets early to the bride’s house to tell them the news that the Groom along with relatives and other people (Baraat) is coming, will get a price of their choice from the bride’s dad. Quite silly but quite fun nonetheless. One tradition that is quite good, is that on Wedding night, when the groom and the bride get alone, the groom has to gift the bride something because he saw her face. That is called the tradition of “Munh Dikhayi”. Usually the thing is of gold. It can be either a ring or a gold bracelet etc.

How Will I Look?

Lol. I tried this black dress on at the shop. It looked good. I want to get the brooch removed from my peach colored “Kulha” and get it in two colors, ‘peach’ and a line of ‘red’. I will upload final pics once I get the things. They are ordered along with “Khussa”. The dress is almost ready. The “Sherwani Kurta” (black color) that I am wearing cost around 250$, the “Khussa” (shoes) cost around 100$ and the “Kulha” cost around 80$ which is moderate price here. We get married once in life, so better to wear something nice and elegant.

kosher menu

Just pregnant and the trouble begins. My girl friend just told me – hey I want to tell my parents. I answered – yes, why not. What do you want me to do? Can I say no? No I cant. OK so I said yes and she came up with this brilliant idea (sigh). We could go to her parents place, cook there for 14 people and tell them. I tried to get out of it by saying: “why so official, it could bring us bad luck”. She just answered – well I don’t believe neither in bad luck or a life after death.

Beaten as I was, I am trying to find out what to cook. She added – I want to teach me mo a lesson: there should be just ONE main dish and NOT five.

OK, lets think – of course it must be kosher.

Starters for a kosher menu

  • Antipasti (parve)
  • Salmon from the oven (parve)

Main dishes for a kosher menu

  • Kebab
  • Waldorf salad (parve)
  • rice (parve)

Dessert dishes for a kosher menu

  • pineapple papaya salad with coriander
  • strawberry cake

Boy or a Girl? is it so Important?

The world as we knew is changing at a rapid pace and so is the thinking of many people along with technological advances. Man has left certain odd traditions and customs behind but there are still some areas where there is same old illogical and irrational thinking and beliefs. We take the example of countries in Asia like Pakistan, where still there is gender discrimination between newly born babies.

In Pakistan, many areas are still under-developed and people are not so aware of the technological advances and inventions like Ultrasound. They wait 9 months for the baby to step in this world, and as soon as they know that the baby is a boy they celebrate it and tell the whole town how proud they are. You may ask what happens if there is a girl? Well, they feel shame and disgust. Then the parents usually try to go on reproducing until they get a boy and sometimes for this reason they end up having five to seven daughters and a little boy. During the whole life of daughters they are mistreated and not cared about while the boy remains the center of attention to the whole family. Some parents even go to the extent of giving their daughters to their relatives who are childless, sometimes dropping the baby at other’s homes and sometimes dropping the baby at foster homes like Edhi Welfare.

The areas where there is a little know how about technology; people opt for abortion as soon as they know that it’s a baby girl. I don’t understand the difference. Its not about Pakistan only, same thing is happening in many other countries. May be it is because of the culture that prevails i.e. the male dominant society, or may be its just that they don’t realize the importance and value of child no matter what gender the baby is. It’s a life and we cannot just end it for the sole reason that it’s a girl. We should love whatever God has created.