Excerpts from my life

New Place

Five days back husband and I moved to a new place.  We are putting up in the college campus.  The place is beautiful with lush green corn fields all around. There is a small village outside the campus.

The house is a tiny apartment, one side of it overlooking the fields and the other side faces the campus. The railway line is so close to my apartment that I can feel my bed rocking when a train passes. Early in the morning the horn of the train gives me palpitations at times. Takes a while to soothe my nerves.

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Train through the fields

 

One strange thing I experienced after moving was relocation depression. Perhaps I am still overcoming it. I do not exactly know why this happened. It was certainly not due to my attachment to the old house, nor was it due to the sudden dearth of my social life. In fact, more often than not I spent a lot of time indoors even in my previous home. I sort of like the new house. It is a lot like how I like homes to be- Compact, serene, airy, huge windows, away from hustle bustle and more of a settled life. Sometimes I find myself overwhelmed with ‘setting up the home’ work. So much that I just let the things be. I am yet to even start unpacking things.

The worst time is immediately in the morning when husband leaves for work. For a while I do not know what to do. Though there is a lot to do, I simply end up sitting at some corner and killing time till he comes back. Mostly on the internet. As, I am writing this, I am realising the solution lies in getting up and doing ask the tasks one by one. I have exams coming up after two weeks and I am supposed study. I am terrified of Arabic. I keep forgetting what I learnt for my previous exams since  I do not have anyone to speak in Arabic and practise my lessons. I have been running away from it.

There are also times I think I should ring my neighbor’s doorbell. But there is certain hesitation I feel. What if she is not all that welcoming and warm? My previous neighbours were awesome. I remember, the day I moved in, they were all so warm and came home to greet me.

I try to counsel myself. I count my blessings. There are many things to be grateful for. I am certain I am amongst the blessed ones in this dunya.

I have a roof over my head. I am in a place that is peaceful and safe, so that I can practise my religion freely

I am allowed to study after marriage which is still rare in India. I have exams to appear, which is the easiest thing to do on planet. Yes, I feel studying is the easiest thing one can do. Taking up responsibilities and handling real tensions is so tough.

There are no daily targets and pressures to do anything. Alhamdulillah, I am still connected to some good muslimahs via Whatsapp

Every day I watch the fields at Maghreb and sunset looks gorgeous. Something like this-

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The sun literally drowns in the corn fields. The view is breathtaking

There is a village outside the campus and the villagers tend cattle. Alhamdulillah, for the first time we came across a man selling goat’s milk. Husband and I decided to try it out for a change and it was yummy.

The place is good with certain amenities like gymnasium. Though not very well equipped, but In Sha Allah I intend to join it.

There is a squirrel’s nest on my kitchen window. So early in the morning after fajr I watch them clean themselves and leave their nests only to come back at Asr. I am amazed by their strict schedule. There is some movement in their nest until early Maghreb after which they goto rest. Were we meant to follow the same routine? Husband and I are usually up until very late. Perhaps until 1am or 2 at times.

In the evenings, we can often hear peacocks and parrots chirping 🙂 I am blessed with a lot of beauty around me. Evenings are more relaxed as the day comes to an end.

I downloaded my study modules today. Tomorrow In Sha Allah I must start studying and perhaps unpack one box. I need to meet my neighbour too and figure out how to start some Deen activities here for Muslimahs.

Hopefully, I can start making my days more productive. In Sha Allah

How do you deal with relocating? Ever been through relocation depression? Comment below and share your thoughts

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Excerpts from my life

Marriage Market

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

The wedding trends these days are disturbing. I live in a city dominated by Muslim population. However, extravagant weddings are not a rare sight. Often, during the “wedding season”, we find decorated wedding lawns, burstling with crowd and loud music. More to dismay, we find bearded men and abaya cladded women walking in and out of the premises.

 “If someone should come to you whose religion and character you are pleased with, marry (your daughter) off to him. If you do not do so, there will be mischief in the land and widespread corruption” [At-Tirmidhee (1085)]

It is common that we are told by mothers and sisters to update them if we have a suitable match in sight. On a personal level, I do not mind and often I do exchange references of good muslims. In many cases, it is surprising, that people reject profiles merely by seeing the picture. The deen and character is not even enquired or considered. A fat, dark, poor and short person will stand no chance, no matter how good her/ his character is.

 

There is this one mother, who has demanded that she wants only a doctor or an engineer from IIT for her daughter. That is because her daughter deserves no less. She is the topper of her department, she is beautiful and from a good background. So, these are the factors which make her a top class girl (not her deen) and a deserving candidate for a top class boy (not deeni boy)

It is disheartening. Is it just a textual thing today? To look for a spouse based on deen? Religious people are not considered “worthy” at all. I wonder what Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) saw in Ali (radiallahu anhu) to marry off his daughter to him. Perhaps people of this age would prefer an Abu Lahab.

The story of practising people is no different. Practising brothers reject sisters profile because their mothers did not find them pretty enough. or because their mothers want them to marry in same caste (reverts are a banned commodity). When will we learn to take a stand for haqq?

 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

If they (parents) say to him: Do not eat this food, do not eat meat, do not eat rice, do not eat a certain thing – and it is something that he wants to eat – then he is not obliged to obey them in that, because it does not serve any interest for them, and it is harmful for him because it causes him to miss out on something that he likes.

End quote from Liqa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh (49/6)

It still amazes me with what ease people leave pious people with the knowledge that they are rare. The criteria of being a good muslim today is one who prays five times a day. Anyone who does just that is considered super practising. His aqeedah, his ‘Ilm, Sunnah, ‘Adab and ‘Akhlaq are irrelevant. We watch Televisions, listen to music, lie with ease, clean shave ourselves, keep our women without hijab and then we pray. Therefore, we are very practising

 

On the other hand I have had religious and pious sisters reject pious brother because the brother earned less than “xyz”lakh per annum. They have a minimum slab which males have to cross. Allow me to clarify that I do not expect rich girls to marry someone bankrupt. But rejecting young educated men who have begun their careers a few years back and In Sha Allah seem worthy to make more money in future, I find it futile. Females are seeking in their grooms status which their fathers achieved at 50 years of age. Even in these cases, if the girls are fine with it, many a times parents are not.

Other than that, of course we see people rejecting each other because he is too fat, he is too short, beard is too long, she is too skinny, her nose is too big, she is too educated, she does not speak fluent English, she is not fit for our family etc.

He does not have a beard, he does not wear pants above ankles, she has not memorised enough surahs, he does not pray Sunnah, his income is haram, she does not proper hijab as Allah says, he does not lower his gaze.. these are never reasons I have heard for rejecting anyone. Rather such prospects are picked first from the market

What is wrong with the ummah? Why are we forgetting the story of Musab bin Umayr. How he withstood the pressure of his family for haqq..  It is never easy to choose Islam over everything else .There will be many occasions that will require us to compromise a bit on deen to please others. First society and then parents. Sadly, when it comes to marriage we consider their wrong preferences over the pleasure of Allah.

 

The result?

 

“…….If you do not do so, there will be mischief in the land and widespread corruption

As warned in the above hadith, Muslims today are frivolously looking at profiles after profiles as if searching for a car for their children. Just how people unaware of Islam and who do not recognise Allah search- based on looks, background and status. After this, if the prospect is religious then Ma Sha Allah, Alhamdulillah. How many religious muslims do we see today marrying the first religious alliance that comes across? Okay, let us give a concession. How many marry from amongst the first five?

Young muslims are unmarried until thirties and forties. Bad marriages have become so common. Women are reduced to maids and nannys whilst men are reduced to money minting machine. People no more exist as servants of Allah post marriage. No time for religion. No time to gain ‘ilm. No time to do any good for the ummah. A monotonous system that has been framed by the society and thus, being abided by.

Zina has become easy. Nikah has become so difficult.

Recently, the mother of an eighteen year old messaged me that she is worried for her son. He is about to join college this fall and she is worried what if he falls into any fitnah. At a time when there is open invitation for zina, it is a genuine concern. We discussed giving books and talking it out etc. When I mentioned this to my husband, his immediate response was, ask her to get him married before joining college.

I was amazed at the simplicity of the solution. Why not open doors to nikah and shut the door to zina for our youngsters forever. I told this to her, she agreed Islam is perfect in all ways. However, I am not sure how many of us would like to implement this for our children,

We have forgotten the main purpose of this Sunnah. We forget that we are choosing a companion whose character greatly affects our life in hereafter. We forget what being “coolness of eyes” means. That is where we make the major mistake for the next few decades of our lives and sometimes there is no turning back.

May Allah give us hearts to obey his commands. May He give us beneficial knowledge and keep us on siratal mustaqeem. May He help us obey Him and love Him the most. May He protect us from the fitnah of this world and make our spouse the coolness of our eyes.

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Excerpts from my life

A Lot of Water in my Broth

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

It was one of the Friday classes. Today’s class was on ‘Adab (Etiquettes) with neighbours. The average age group in the class is perhaps five. The class was vibrant and I think, there is no better way to learn than to teach. More than what I am able to impart, I imbibe lessons from the little Momins of the class.

I introduced the lesson with the verse of the Magnificent Qur’an:
“Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.” [Surah an-Nisa, 36]

 

and then, I followed up with this narration from the two Sahihs.

 

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In a very derogatory sense, I asked the class

-“if your neighbour gives you a hoof will you like it?”

I was expecting a clear “no” to which I thought I would say that despite that we must not dislike our neighbor. No matter how small or detested things they gift us

However, their minds word differently. It was an immediate and excited reply, “Yesss ma’am, I will like it”

I was spellbound for a minute, only to realise that in India, the goat’s hoof is used to prepare a delicacy (called Paaya_) …who would not love to receive it here. I chuckled at myself. They got me good

 

The class proceeded smoothly as we ventured and discussed various etiquettes prescribed in Islam towards our neighbours. Soon the following hadith came up for discussion, which is also very popular amongst us

 

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We were amused by the simplicity prescribed in Islam. Never before had we thought that simply by adding a little more water, we could add another member to consume the meal

The most hilarious point of the class was towards the end. I had asked them, what if they have very little food, sufficient for just one neighbour. However, there are many people living close to them. So how would they choose to whom they must gift that bowl of meal?

Amazing answers came up.

  • we will distribute it equally amongst all [ I dismissed it saying, then nobody will be able to enjoy it, as they will just get a spoonful]
  • We will ask mummy to make more for everyone [well, that would be too much for mummy]
  • We add lottttttttttt of water to the brothhhhh ..

at this point everyone seemed convinced. and they repeated the same , “yes yes, we will add water for everyone”

. I was spellbound again. I had no rebuttal for this. Completely amused and not knowing what to say, I just narrated the solution that Rusool Allah (salallahu alayhi wasallam):

 

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May Allah help us in obeying His commands and be good to our neighbours.

 

 

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Excerpts from my life

The Perfect Tea

Almost every Sunday we have our Tarbiyah study circle. We are a group of women who study tafseer, hadith, authentic books , Arabic etc. That requires us to spend a good four hours in the classroom.

The aunty who hosts us every weekend at her place is very kind to serve us tea and snacks every time we are in our learning process.

It was the same that day. The tea arrived and the tray was circulated amongst us. We gladly took our cup and sipped into glory……. Only to realise there was no sugar.

Tea in India is a glorious drink. It has water mixed with milk, sugar and tea leaves boiled cumbersomely until it drains the leaves off all its goodness. Sometimes it has spices in it to enhance the flavor. Miscalculation in any of the above can lead to serious disappointments to tea addicts. That, is a huge portion of Indian population. My parents and husband, both cannot do without their daily two cuppaa! May Allah bless them.

I watched the expressions change. Silent expressions and confusion. Frowns, pursed lips, shrugged shoulders, raised cups hinting what was to be done. Suddenly we hear a poised firm voice -” what an amazing cup of tea isn’t it?”, and sips on with passion

Another quickly backs, “indeed it is delicious and so healthy”
-“white sugar is the poison of the century “, says another. ,” we must now start drinking this tea only. Beautiful ”

The tension suddenly eased. Everyone was smiling and giggling. And everyone continued to sip their cuppa with ease and happiness. Indeed we were reminded of another sunnah

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would never complain about food. If he desired something, he would eat it. If he disliked it, he would leave it.

Sahih Muslim 2064, Bukhari 3370

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Excerpts from my life

Guidance.

I am at my grandma’s place. I feel jealous. Jealous of those who have Muslim families. Whose grandparents at least died uttering the shahadah. I am jealous of those who have practising parents. Who gave them  tarbiyah to be a good Muslim. Did you ever realise, that even when you were not practising, even on the days you didn’t pray salah, when you ever thought of God it was always Allah. If you ever have to beg before someone, it was always Allah.;

At least you knew His name. At least you knew there is some miraculous book of His. You always knew about the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam)

It is a different story here. If we tell them there is only one God, they ask “which one” .. Each day starts with shirk. The temple priest is a snob and everyone hates him but he has to be respected by everyone. I can’t stand his tobacco stained teeth.

I sometimes wonder whether I should get on the top of a mountain(here rock) and declare about Islam how the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) did. Whether I should break the idols of the temple like Ibrahim (as) did. Whether I should have a direct talk with the priest. Or what else should I do.

No matter what I speak to the women here, goes unheard. My blabbering about The Creator and everything else being creations. About Tawheed. Akhirah. The idols being lifeless. Trees and sun being creations. They agree and the next morning I find them back to the same routine. As if not a thought was spared about what I said for a moment. As if it was just another gossip session.

They are not even literate for me to give away books. Males are a degree above vain. It pains to see their life. Their lifestyle is way tougher than the life in city. Women are working all day long. People eat five meals a day. They are cleaning their houses, washing and ironing clothes, cutting chopping cooking, separate schedule for temple stuff, serving in laws, raising brats, tendering cattles, filling water in containers… They slog from 6am till 9pm. They are just on and on and on. To top it, there is a fast or festival every 5th day where they have to do all this without food. They have restrictions in folding also. There is a list of things they cannot eat simply because they are married.

Waste. All a waste. Aimlessly doing things just because this is what women do in the village. Their simplicity, their goodness..will they be of any use? Only Allah knows. The prettiest bride, the most educated of them, the best and the worst person, each one has the same routine.

At times I am mum. At times I discuss things with them. How is it even supposed to happen in five days? How will guidance reach them when I live 2000 kms away. At times this question haunts me: Should I live in a Muslim dominated place where my imaan is secure. Where I am surrounded with opportunities to gain ilm and practice Islam freely with ease. Or should I give up this privilege and settle here to work on my people. What is more important?

Indeed, guidance is from Allah alone. His plans and His ways are matters we will never know or understand…

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Excerpts from my life

When Old is Truly Gold- Part II

My happiness has no bounds today. I just had a hearty meal in….in…in…. My Favorite Airlines! All those who have read my post When Old is truly Gold must have got it instantly. Yes. I am back into Air India. Woohoooo

I can not explain how excited I have been since the past few days awaiting this trip. The huge flights, the amazing staff, smooth landing on and flight off the runway… The thing about Indian Airlines. It is here. Never have I felt the same whilst traveling with another airlines. 
My vis-à-vis with Indian Airlines this time started last night. I wanted to do web-checkin. Normally when I do web checkin with other airlines, they charge a bomb for window seats and some more Shellings for other seats. But that’s not the case here. Mommy knows best what to give you and for free! There was no option for me to select a seat. The moment I entered my details, I was given a window seat within a few clicks. Just like that! Conclusion: Good baby gets a good seat from momma


Pleased and eased, I was greeted by a very warm and casual staff at the airport. This is exactly what I love about them. A sense of ease. Just like home. They are like the bosses! They won’t bother to flatter you with plastic smiles and flamboyant English. I don’t know why, there is this air of depicting yourself uptown in the airport. But Air India has place for everyone. Even a shabby kid like me is welcomed with open arms. Every staff member I spoke to had a distinct accent. Thus, depicting a group carefully chosen from various parts of India. 
As was destined, the beauty at the check in counter was so glad that we belong to the same native place. The young passenger checking in before me was carrying luggage 1.5kg more than the permissible limit. The moment she kept her bag on the scale, everything stood still. She stared aghast. Was she going to be fined for every extra kilo? Will she try to reduce the luggage weight on the spot?
The beauty maintained the most calm and poised look, “Madam?” ..
-“madam!” , she startled the passenger out of her stillness, “ticket please??” 
Phew! What a relief. Nobody blinked a lid on a the extra luggage.

 I started conversing with the woman in my local language and it was as if we were sisters meeting after ages.
– What are you doing here (in this alien land)? 

– I am studying. (I never say I am married and am making a home. Because that is not what I am “doing”. I am and will always remain a student in-sha-allah)

where do you live here. Where exactly is your home. Blah blah blah blah ..lot of  gupshup and chitchat. 

It was a heart warming conversation. So much that she forgot to hand me the hand baggage tags. No problem! The madam at the security check-in passed my bag anyway. It was I who went back and told the madam to please tie and stamp a tag so that I do not face issues whilst boarding. 
She gave the “huh. You know nothing” look and casually punched the stamp not giving a damn thereafter. 
She was right. Her eyes told me back then. Nobody actually checked the cabin bag tags whilst boarding. So not having them wouldn’t be a deal I guess. Silly me. I was carrying the pressures of other baby-trying-to-be-boss airlines. Where I would’ve had to run back to the check-in counter and got the tags and go through the entire security check process again if my handbag wasn’t stamped. But, as I said, boss can be only one. .
I asked a bro the way to my allotted gate. My flight departs from the international terminal. It is a hugeeeeee airport. The number of times I got lost, any person observing me would probably view me as a black pug wandering to and fro all around the airport. I think this bro figured out that I was entering the wrong gate the hundredth time. He came running from behind Bhag Milkha Bhag style screaming “Maaaaa’am..maaa’aaaam…this wayyyyyy…. “. Phew. May Allah Bless him and guide him for being so kind. I was exhausted of walking into the wrong places. 
Things went perfect so far Alhamdulillah. The bright red flight. The homely staff. Spacious and big seats. Superb free meals.
But wait. Something was missing. Something had changed since my last visit. Where are the oldies? My eyes carefully scan through the staff members. The average age group seemed to be 30s. That is a good herd no doubt. But that grace of oldies was missing. 
They are polite, courteous, beautiful and gorgeous in every sense. But then poise, confidence and X-factor.
 I’ll give you an example. The gentleman beside me was having a hard time managing the western breakfast. He left the bread and tea. You remember that AI aunty asking me pack the bread and keep it with me last time? How she came to check I was not eating. This time, the youngy just picked up his platter and took it away. So much food wasted. Sigh.

 I miss you aunty. There was no second serving of tea. There was tea bags. Sigh. 
Just as I am typing this, I see an aged air hostess. Oh my God. Made my day. Some of them are still there. Yayyyyy… Oh that gracful dressing and that demeanor. That dignity and command. I am totally a fan. Bowled!  I wonder how Air India hires its staff. Does it have a device to measure kind heartedness? 

 I guess change has to come. I will wait for this young batch to grow old in sha Allah. So that they accumulate hoards of experience and x-factor. So that once again I witness the best hosting ever. 

Keeping up with the tradition, the flight started a few minutes late. As I write this, the flight slants 45 degrees and royally glides through the clouds, marking its grandeur. You can feel each time it tilts. 
The take off, then flight and the landing are suggestive of experienced hands in the cockpit. And once again, I shall depart as a happy guest.
Humein vishwas hai ki bhavishya me aap humein first sewa ka avsar denge. Thank you. Jai Hind. (We trust that you’ll allow us to serve you again in future. Thank you. Hail India)
That’s how they conclude the flight. 
If I could afford you every time, I wouldn’t even shed a glance at any of your counterparts. End quote. 

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Excerpts from my life

The Vain Muslim Wedding-3

​Comes the wedding day. Sleep deprived me is in full mood to dodge the wedding party and catch a nap. Sigh! but that was against the decree of Allah. No corner I found could remain away from the mystic touch of chattering crowd. My ears obviously would flap wide open whenever someone commented on matters regarding Islam. The groom was dressed, his hair oiled and perfumed. The amusing part is Muslims here believe in doing everything auspicious facing the Kiblah. Let me give away the happenings now..

1. Great Food: No denying this. Food is superb. It was however sad that I had a hard time eating all the gravy and masala and chat from under my niqab due to the presence of males all around. At the end of the festivities, a lot of it goes wasted. The surprising thing was when some poor relatives expressed interest to take some food back home, they were denied. A day later, it was in news that lots and lots of food was wasted and thrown.
Another amazing thing I witnessed for the first time was food stealing in the wedding party. Hoards of sheermal (delicious Indian bread) were sneaked in and locked by some relatives, creating a shortage whilst serving the guests.  No wonder so many people were astonished seeing one on my plate! 😀 Yeah I managed to get one of those last pieces served. 

2. Nikah Rules Crashed: women gathered into a room for the nikah to be conducted. Phew. Finally that one moment where I could remove my niqab and flash my make up a bit. 

No no no. What I forgot was that it was the best opportunity for the Romeos to catch a view of all beautiful ladies at one go! So we had Romeos peeping in one after another and Juliet’s blushing or acting to ‘not care’ .. Blah blah blah burrrrrrrrrrrr

Soon the bride accepted the groom as her husband. And there was a group crying session. They cried and cried and cried. 

This moment amuses me every time. In the excitement of getting married, I forgot to cry at my wedding. :-/  Till date when I witness the brides weeping, I try hard to grasp the emotion but I am only left gawking 

Then I was waiting for the khutba…but….. There was none that I could hear. Husband says, nikah khutba was merely a formality of few things uttered and nobody paying attention. Nobody bothered about putting up speakers for the audience and women to listen to the khutba. 

The bride is then taken to dress up. Yeah, they get married in one costume. Cry and ruin that make up and costume. Then they change for the final look. So the $1000 (Rs. 65,000 approx) wedding gown is just tossed off after 30minuted of use. And to shop for it, we waste approximately 746373hours. [Warning: serious exaggerations!]

3) Dwaar chikhai– so I was boggled when I was stopped at the door after we went back home. I was clueless. A random me asked what the matter was

-“there is a ritual left. Dwar chikai” , says the groom’s sister

-” what’s that? “, clueless super innocent me

-” you don’t even know what dwar chikai is?” , sharp taunt from irritating aunty. As if not knowing dwar chikai disqualifies me to set my foot on this piece of earth.

-“it’s not even an Islamic ritual :-O”, bang on reply.  

The stupidest thing she went to do after this is to complain to my mom in law. 

-“your daughter in law says dwar chikai is shirk ”

-“it’s not shirk. It’s biddah”, I prompt from behind

*smug* *smug*

-“haan haan she is right “, says my ever supporting mom in law

Haha. We giver her the “loser” look and annoying aunty shies away from yet another failed attempt. 

So the groom is basically stopped at the doorstep and denied entry or privacy with his wife unless he pays some money. 

So what was all the fuss about? Grrrrrrrr

4) Joota churai : Grooms shoes are stolen by bride’s sister and he must pay a price ten times its market price to get it back. Bride’s sister/ bridesmaids laugh and tease the groom. Groom’s brother/groomservants tease them back by refusing to pay. Finally groom obliges and increases the cost price of those shoes by thousands.

5) A beautiful bride: You see none like them. Hearts skip a beat to witness their beauty. Even of the male audience as they come to click pics and view the brides sitting on the stage. Decked up and gorgeous. The bride now adorns sindoor (auspicious religious red powder to signify marital status of women in Hinduism) and bindi (red dot on forehead denoting the same). 

Finally after being on stage for 2-3hrs, the bride has to be deported to her marital home. Therefore, she wears her seventh dress of the evening. She is covered in an abaya customarily, which is soon taken off when she sits in the car. They cry a lot again and I scratch my head wondering why. 😀 I am being mean I guess. 

The vain wedding is followed by a month of controversies and disputes. Many are still finding out flaws in the much extravagant wedding. Pointing out shortcomings in gradeur or royal treatment of guests. Arguing over how they felt humiliated when XYZ said so and so ..or when the bride’s mother did not do so and so for her. The villains are investigated by the Sherlock Holmes of the family who knew the realty of ABC since ever but found this an appropriate moment to unleash their reality. We also get intimations of who said what about us and how much the informer loves us for having informed us (though said nothing in our defence on the spot)..and the saga goes on and on and on…..

Phew..

Jazakallah khair for being my patient reader. May Allah reward you

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