From an unerring codification of female characters stamped between the great pillars of the Mughals to recalling the tragedies encompassed by the folklores of Sassi Panu or Heer Ranjha on ancient divans, South-Asian women, particularly the mango women of Pakistan have endured more drama than love usually has to offer.

From the time you fall in love at eighteen to the time you fall in love in your forties, several things will torment you apart from ‘the total agony of being in love’ itself.

Falling in love in College or High school

‘He’s too cute for you!’

Not that you hadn’t thought of it yourself, but the laws have always been pretty set in this regard. He is ‘out of your league’, for even your friends have giggled it to each other deliberately in front of you so you know for certain that the privileged league comes with a prescription (please note): fair skinned, blue (or green) eyed, silky haired, skinny and the list goes on.

‘Don’t tell him!’

There will be a time in the years to come when you’d want to go back to high school and tell the other girls that it is in no way demeaning to ‘tell him that you like him.’ If he feels repulsed by your confession, then please, grab a copy of Manto kay Afsanay and eat coffee instead of drinking it. Also, please tell the young ladies that they need to stop internalizing patriarchy and safeguard themselves from pests such as ‘social norms.’

The parents catch on

Undeniably the most miserable of days is when your love letter (or a phone text) has been caught red handed by the parents. You’re now living in a hell house where you have become the punishment for your parents’ past sins (ever heard the dialogue meray gunahon ke sazah?). How the parents choose to deal with young girls in love calls entirely for another piece on parenting. For now, just don’t make your girls hate themselves for it.

Falling in love when you’re baked for marriage

Make way, the Rishtas are coming

All the Paki-doctors who have been good little boys in England or America are looking for a tehzibi and ghareelo housewife. Now is the time to settle down; now is your age to give up your dreams for some body else’s. This is your prime time. Because, apparently, like yogurt which isn’t consumed within three days, you will expire. And if you’re recklessly in love with a fool who isn’t ready yet- I am so sorry. You have come so far and you let go of so much, only to find yourself misunderstood and in front of another moashray ka marhala.

They wanted arranged, they got love instead. 

His parents and yours BOTH wanted an arranged marriage. What will the relatives say? Where will the respect and dignity of the family go? His parents are thinking that you are too career oriented and not khaandani enough; your parents are thinking he’s a good for nothing flirt who doesn’t deserve their over-protected princess. Drink chai. This too shall pass.

But, he’s so young!

Pakistan remains to be one of those countries in the world who are hell bent on having old(er) husbands and young wives(the younger the better). He is supposed to guide you and show you the way while you’re supposed to follow on blindly. But I’m losing my mind; did I hear you say that he’s two years younger than you are? Have you ever heard anything so odd?

When society dubs you as ‘beyond loving and beyond being loved’

How can you even feel such a thing?

When he falls in loves in his forties, it’s normal. But for a female, it’s terrifying to know that your heart can still feel and that your blood is still flowing. You’re in your forties and there are other things that you should be thinking about. Like, perhaps, the size of your grave. Whereas he, well… let him be naughty at forty!

There it is, ladies- the seemingly perpetual race which so many of us have lost. But Salam, the race isn’t over. Let’s keep our hopes high for the generations to come- may the women of Pakistan be free to fall in love, rise in love and be loved in return! Amen.


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