“WHAT on the earth has happened to you, larrki?” My aunt exclaimed in a scandalous voice. “You were so “normal”! Such was the severity of her reaction seeing my head covered with a dupatta, although she sounded more like I got my head shaved or got overnight horns on my head.
This was just a piece of pie out of many comments that I received. You know it was the ‘ramification’ of my simple decision to wear, dopatta, and post-modern symbol of female subjugation. This sort of overwhelming response had already driven me crazy. I had gone through a lot of hard thinking before this ‘change’ and never knew such a plethora of response would pour in.
Not making a case here for or against hijab, I believe its everyone’s right and choice to practice what they think is right for them. As I not only preach but practiced this mantra, I assumed the same liberty would be extended to me by others as well. Alas! That wasn’t the case at all. Ours is a society only gives a very limited personal space to anyone.
As my experience goes, stereotyping is everyone’s favorite thing in Pakistan. Although I was never very bold & experimental with my attire, this ‘minor’ change in my dressing made people think that I have turned into a fundo overnight. Some friends and relatives even tried to pre-empt any possible attempts of mine attempting to convert them into a fundo too!
There were funny statements passed by people regarding my dark future prospects (vis-à-vis both career and marriage prospects) including “do whatever you want to do dear, but only after you have found yourself a suitable rishta”.
A lot of people have the same attitude in every walk of life, be it your personal or professional circle. As a result, we take even our very personal decisions based on what is and what is not approved by the society. The one-fits-all mould is used by our families, relatives, friends and colleagues in judging every thing from one’s dressing to education to career to marriage is sickening!
I am not against conforming to norms. As man is a social animal, making others happy does and should play a part in our life, but not at the cost of our own mental peace. One can only be of service to others if they are comfortable in their own skin.
Thus, my dear aunties, I will still cover my head no matter what you say because that is what I deem fit and you can have your share of fun by fantasizing about my dark, dreary & husband-less future. Stay happy!