Red Dress


‘Mom, mom I always had a wish that whenever you’d look for my proposal, I’ll get ready and we’ll attack at their house. I imagine the boy holding a tea tray and serving us with tea and snacks. I’m scanning him from head to toe. Then all of a sudden our center of attention shift from boy to tray as if whole of the universe has been confined on the tray.. Just imagine mom we’re doing justice with the snacks while you without looking at anyone keep up telling them that my daughter is very much ‘health conscious’. She can’t compromise on unhygienic foods. Later you have a formal conversation with the boy and after throwing all the food items and tea in our stomachs we leave..

As soon as we arrive at home you just called them and say: ‘Umm sorry we didn’t like your son.. He’s obese a bit paunchy, small height you know.. No match with our daughter, plus his complexion is dark too’ or you simply say: ‘you can’t afford us we want a car too’ or just say ‘you’re giving less dowry’.

‘Ahh.. We’d have so much fun Mom, Isn’t it??’

Sarah kept on talking. She had vivid images in her eyes..

Her grandmother sitting near her threw her flying stick and stares at her mom saying: ‘Your love has spoiled her’.. ‘She’s going to change our custom’.. ‘Hunh is she crazy??’

Sarah was pissed off she yelled: ‘Why grandmother why??’ ‘You call it a custom in which a girl is not considered a human even..’ ‘She’s treated like cattle..’ ‘Her likes and dislikes are not valued!!’

Grandmother again stared at the mother annoyingly and said: ‘Raziyah make her understand otherwise she’ll regret, look how ill-mannered is she, who’ll marry her??’

‘Oh ho grandmother please don’t worry about me, as you and dad has sold aapa (elder sister) with an old man for his third marriage, similarly you’ll find someone for me also, but this time make sure you ask for some more money, as brother is asking for a bike.’ Cried Sarah.

Raziyah with watery eyes came and convulsed her: ‘my dear daughter please calm down, don’t talk to your grandmother in this tone. Everything is prewritten in our fate. Your sister got according to her fate; this is how Allah planned her destiny long before her birth!’

‘You mean Allah (swt) has written brother’s fate good and our fate bad??’ ‘Oh please mom, stop that bullshit, why don’t you admit that daughters are burden in your custom? It’d be more appropriate if dad had buried us alive on our births at least we don’t have to die like this daily!’

This is the story of every house where financial conditions are poor, where girl doesn’t match with the beauty standards of the society, where being a girl is a crime, a burden..

Today almost in every house there are unmarried daughters or sisters, waiting for a decent proposal, for people not demanding a long list of dowry, for the ones who don’t demand sky high beauty (who know that a girl less than Katrina is also a girl)

Islam has given woman the right to marry a man of her own choice and we, the so-called ‘care takers of custom’ don’t even bother to ask her before marriage! We sacrifice her wherever we want, sometimes for the happiness of the brother, sometimes for the sake of the family and sometimes we’re compelled due to poor financial conditions..

Unfortunately we’ve double standards; we expect our daughter-in-law to be looked every inch the supermodel; she has to touch the beauty standards but forget the fact that our own daughter has a very ordinary face. In her case we become blind!

Always remember, whatever we give to life it gives us back!

The way we treat someone’s daughter will come back on our daughter, but for our daughter-in-law we become ruthless and do not think that she is also someone’s daughter, she also has emotions, she also thinks, she also feels, she is also a HUMAN!!

To read the original Urdu version Click HERE

Written by : Yasmeen Khan

Translated by : Sobia Anjum



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