Another six years...

November 27, 2012
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Another six years…
“I want to die!” she sulked twirling for the fifth time. “Well,” Said Rahilla with typical big-sister optimism, “at least you look good.” Anoushay observed herself in the floor-length mirror.
Even at just twenty she had the charm of a woman. Tall, voluptuous and blessed with natural warmth, that only a rare few can carry off. This combined with Rahilla’s expert make-up technique made her an eligible bachelorette to be reckoned with. The contrast her ‘peaches and cream’ complexion formed with the burgundy peshwas also deserved credit for the goddess looking back at her. Rahilla was right.
“Aright,” she lifted her duppata, “let’s get this nightmare over with.” Flinging it over her shoulder she heaved the most depressing sigh she could muster. “Come on,” Rahilla patted her back, “maybe it won’t be that bad this time.” Anoushay snickered in agreement. Nothing could even begin to be as bad as her most recently rejected suitor.
She had barely managed to get the overloaded tray to the dinning-table without spilling the tea, when she noticed Rahilla. Her sister could keep her calm during a hurricane but just then she was almost hysterical with silent laughter. Following her gaze Anoushay noticed what was sitting on the couch. Clad in what looked like cotton and denim curtains and sneakers that had just swum through a sewer was the man her mother wanted her to marry. His hair could have given Snoop Dogg a run for his money. And his sunglasses (which he was wearing at midnight no less) could most definitely block out the sun. “Ah my darling” her mother smiled mischievously, “come, come!” Anoushay looked at her mother with a ‘you cannot be serious’ expression. But, whatever Mrs Abbasi lacked in sympathy she more than made-up for with firmness. And so, Anoushay had to sit through the whole two hours of “Andy from Australia,” (whose birth name was Adnan Shah, but how he’d lost it on the way back to Pakistan she could not think.)
“I guess it can’t be that bad.” said Anoushay adjusting her hair. But as she looked into the mirror, she couldn’t help but admit that this ridiculous ‘hunt for the husband’ had started because of her own request.
It was a calm summer evening. The breeze sneaked in through the window and teased Anoushay’s hair as she sat across her mother who was engrossed in eating her trifle. The calm of the outside world added to Anoushay’s anxiety. But she had to speak, “ammi,” she started, the begum looked up, “ammi… there’s something I want to ask you...” “I could make that out,” said her mother sternly from behind her glasses; she did not have time for small talk, whatever her daughter wanted she’d have to be quick about it. Unnerved, Anoushay started again, “see there is this thing that I wanted to ... ask you...” “Yes I’m sure there is.” The begum cut in sarcastically, “but how you expect me to know about it without telling me I can’t understand.” “Uh... oh, right,” stammered Anoushay, “well, I sent some articles to some new-blogs and they printed two, and also wrote back saying that I had potential... and I just thought that...maybe...I could...” “Well speak up girl!” Mrs Abbasi exclaimed losing patience. A horrified Anoushay exclaimed in a jumbled ball of words, “I want to be a journalist!” looking up she faced what she had least expected. Sure she had expected her mother to be a little surprised, even shocked, at first. But ‘shocked’ was an overly minimized understatement. Her mother looked ready to hurl the dish at her. “What!” her eyes popped out like balloons, ready to explode. “You want to work?” Anoushay thought for a second, “yes,” she said finally. Her mother got up“What about getting married? You are of age you know” was the begum’s protest. “Ammi,” Anoushay exclaimed, appalled at her mother’s alternative, “I’m just twenty! And I want to wait at least another six years…”
The following morning Mrs. Abbasi embarked on a five day mourning period, before she realized that, being her mother, she could ensure that Anoushay didn’t wait another six years.
And now here sat the annoyed daughter again, looking at another spectacle of ridiculousness her mother so happily chatted with. In the five suitors she had turned down, this was by far the worst. Wearing snow-white shalwar kameez and an ajrak, he reminded her of the hero of a cheap Sindhi movie. “This is for you.” He reached forward and put a jewellery box on the table. Lazily she opened it to find the most disgusting example of free-spending. “You shouldn’t have.” She said plainly, “but I did, you see in my family we believe that a generous gift makes a love-filled wedding.” Thomas Hardy’s words drifted through her mind, “the rarest offerings of the purist love are but self-indulgence with no generosity at all.” She smiled politely while “Basham Shah” put the bracelet around her wrist.
When they were no longer in the extravagant presence of Jahangir Mansoor her expectant mother turned to her again. “So,” she asked excited. Anoushay looked at her, “please don’t tell me you’re serious!” she got up. “You didn’t like him either?” her mother was in tears. Anoushay spun on her heel, “I think it’s going to be a while before I get married.” She thought walking out.

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damonischen_Engel said...
Dec. 5, 2012 at 7:13 am
A definite change from the west to the east and a needed one. Hmm typical it is yet it holds you back to read till the end. Nice job. Keep it up
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