So I have a DEADLINE.

Things are turning beyond bad and it looks like I will have to take extreme measures which can even turn out to be quite dangerous and absolutely ugly.

The mother wants me to get married and in order to get married I have to change everything about myself.

I currently live at my aunts (since October) on the pretext that it is easy to travel to work. But the real reason is that things have turned so absolutely crazy that the mother uses every possible minute to dictate how I should live my life. How I should talk, how I should dress, etc etc. So living at my aunts is quite a relief because I don’t have to deal with it on a daily face to face basis. Just weekends, and the random days she comes over. And of course the constant barrage of texts.

“I hope you have deactivated your facebook, there’s a proposal and I don’t want them to come and say anything about you being on facebook”.

So yeah I gave in, I no longer have facebook.

Somewhere around last month she said that I’m on a deadline, and if by the end of the month I don’t don the hijab I will have to stay at home. What the hell, no way. Good for those who want to, but well its just not for me. Anyway while I was out of town last weekend for work (a fundamental part of my job) she texts me, “going out of control, will have to decide”. Fuck. These texts are real scary my brain actually shuts down and I am unable to concentrate on anything for a good while. Eh. I was supposed to return home on Saturday (by home I mean aunts) but I decided id just stay over at my friends and face the drama on Sunday. Returning on Saturday meant drama on Saturday plus Sunday. So Sunday is just one day less drama. So Sunday eve she starts calling. Well do I have an option? So I go home to face the music. The nagging, the threats, the taunts, the abuse..

I get to aunts. She is there waiting for me. I wash up and then hide in my room until I am summoned. She calls me. Fuck. I’m mortified.

“get ready to come home, go get your bags”, I say no, I have work tomorrow. She goes there is a van (office transport) and that I can go in that. She was making things really ugly and that too in front of my uncle so I said fine call the van and see. She gets in touch with the van however fortunately for me they don’t take the same route.  Plus they reach my work place at eight. Whereas my work place is quite flexy in terms of the time we start so nine is the right time. Yay!

Then she goes, “I gave you time, you better start covering from tomorrow”.  Apparently men want “decent girls”. She also told me something about getting material and sewing me some tops. She even threatened to burn my clothes. Eh.

I say no. What the hell. Then she goes “tell your work place that you won’t be travelling from now onwards”. I said “No, I can’t do that I’m not working for your Company”. To which she goes then you can leave your job and stay at home. Apparently when you are allowed to travel the level of fear in one’s self goes down, which apparently is bad?  Hmm.. She also goes “Just go to work at 8.30 and leave at 4.30!!” Ahuh?

Then things get worse. Because I refused to cover and said that it is not possible for me to not travel from work. She starts blaming my friends. I have apparently been influenced by my friends. Influenced to do what? Sigh. The she gets sort of worse. Goes on about how she can’t wait to get me married and get rid of me. How much of a burden I am and that I have brought nothing but shame and heartache to her. Lord… Then she goes “Are you coming home or am I going to take you by force. I’ll bring everyone and come, its going to be ugly” By then I dunno why I usually manage to keep my cool but I suppose because this went on for nearly one and half hours, or because my uncle was feeling bad for me, he came and patted my head,  I just lost it. I couldn’t stop the tears from falling. So fucking uncool. So embarrassing!! He takes a seat next to me and tells the mother, “Give her one more month. Let her be here.” Then he says that he will place an ad on the matrimonial section in the Newspapers and include the fact that the family is prepared to give property. Oh how wonderful. Now I feel like a cow.

Mother calmed down a bit for this. So now my deadline has been extended by one month during which I will have to find a place and move out. This is not normal in our part of the world and culture. The family will come in hoards and create a scene, drag you back and keep you under lock and key. But really I don’t see an alternative. At times I have thought of conforming, just agree to whatever, but that’s just momentary. I can’t seem to do that. So let’s just hope I don’t get killed now, shall we?  Heh

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Round-table Discussion?

Taking yet another crazy turn, the mother’s youngest brother calls the extended family for a round-table discussion of a sort, to ‘discuss’ my ‘matter’, the matter being my pathetic and miserable unmarried state. WHOA!

I was informed of this ever so casually whilst engaging in some office work…trying to summarize points discussed at work regarding the Draft Right to Information Bill!  I froze. My brain froze. My hands felt clammy. The blood rushed to my face. My heart started pounding at a rate. Drama Queen? Over Reacting? Paranoia? To be honest I quite don’t know. But I did feel all of that and more!

Well I suppose if you look at it objectively, there is nothing anyone can do. BUT, for all intents and purposes it is STILL very scary. I was shaking and could no longer concentrate on my work. I whatsapp my friend and give her an update, and also a little heads-up, to check up on me. Paranoia? I have been threatened that if I don’t agree to some bloke, I’ll be made to give up work and stay at home. The mother has also threatened on countless occasions to come to my work place and create a scene. She is quite capable of these things.  She once called a salon to check up on me because I was running a bit late.

This was the first time that the entire family was asked to gather for a purpose of this nature. A whole new level of crazy. There was one incident though when one of my mother’s brothers was summoned to convince me to agree to a nutcase who liked to fly toy helicopters in his spare time. He couldn’t stay in Singapore for a month because he missed his family. Well good for him, but I wanted none of that. Anyway the only way I managed to end the conversation is by saying , “I don’t see why I should be having this conversation with you seeing that you are nothing to me”. All that “No i don’t like him”, “He is not my type”, “This is not what I want” fell on deaf ears because the way they see things it’s all about compromising and sacrificing. I agree that you need to compromise and sacrifice in life but that comes with choice. WHY WOULD YOU GIVE UP ANYTHING FOR SOME RANDOM RANDOM RANDOM PERSON YOU WANT TO HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH? Oh and then later in the night, the mother’s youngest brother calls from abroad (thankfully I have to deal with him face-to-face only twice a year) to convince me again, and similarly when the “No i don’t like him”, “He is not my type”, “This is not what I want” did not work I had to resort to “Fine, there is nothing wrong with him, I can’t wait to marry him, in fact I am dying to marry him!” worked like a charm. He hung up the phone.

The distinguished invitees or the experts hand-picked by the youngest brother for this hushed up discussion held behind closed doors, includes of course himself (who is quite decently successful in a twisted sense, he holds a Director post in a telecommunication Company in the middle-east, married to a pretty but clueless woman who stopped school half way so as to concentrate on Sewing/Needlework and the likes? And have two adorable kids), another brother (who was pretty bad-ass when he was young, married some crazy woman who has turned even crazier and now has him by the balls, and as a result had to compose himself so as to maintain the peace at the home front (too complicated?), another brother (married to an extreme simpleton who can’t manage basically anything by herself/his daughter gave up school because she wanted to get married, moved to the middle-east with her husband and who is afraid to go to the bathroom all the way there after my grandpa’s funeral all the way here.) and OH WAIT MY BROTHER has been invited too? The very same one who half an hour ago wanted me to suggest a subject for an email drafted for him by the mother requesting an extension of leave on medical grounds. Apparently his marital status has elevated and rendered him the desired qualification to serve in meddling with my affairs. Then of course, the mother, the father, and the aunt.

We are dealing with people who are completely different from me. For them girls should be given freedom in moderation. School education is more or less sufficient, higher education is fine, and even to those who can at least to a certain extent digest a career for women, all of it amounts to nothing if by at least 22 she is not married. Well I am 26. Un-married. I don’t see marriage in the horizon. I do fear sometimes of being alone, having no one ladida but that is not good reason enough for me to take the plunge with some extremely random bloke chosen by my clan. My thinking is alien to them. Explaining this is of no use whatsoever. I have done it on countless occasions and the only reply I get is along the lines of “You have to sacrifice”, “You can change him later”, “You can’t have everything the way you want”. Well of course I know I cant have everything I want, I mean I don’t even know what exactly I want. But I do know what I don’t want and that I’m guessing is a start?

So I guess this is why these meetings are so intolerable. Simply because it is not a discussion. It is one-sided. They will bully you into answering their questions, and when the answers are obviously not what they expect they keep pestering until I say something that will end the conversation. I have two options. To either just agree to everything which obviously is never going to happen. Or just say something mean and sarcastic, which is obviously never pleasant when you are a freaking one man army.

Weirdly though the meeting broke after nearly two hours of heated discussion I wasn’t summoned as anticipated. All of this would be hilarious if it wasn’t happening to me. I was not quite sure what to make of it. Glad that there was no need for unnecessary confrontation? But then again relief is just momentary. There’s always the next day, maybe sometime I’m caught off guard, at sometime I’m less in control… But for the moment they were okay with greeting me with a nice bye-bye as they were leaving, almost as though the entire conversation was all about blowing bubbles.

So what are your expectations?

“My expectations?”

I’d like to be left alone. I’d like to have nothing to do with you or with this whole meeting. I’d like to go home and watch a movie, listen to some music or just stare into space. Well unfortunately it is only in my head that I can say all these things. Instead I just say, “Well erm nothing much, you can’t really say..”

The above exchange transpired last night, at yet another ‘blind date’/ ‘husband finding mission’ set up by the family.

These dates are absolute torture. Lets take a typical date.

I come home home after work to find an outfit, usually a hideous one, laid out for me by the mother. Sometimes though the aunt who has a wee bit more fashion sense would disagree and substitute it with another one. I’d usually go with the hideous one, say for instance if the meeting is set up at home. Once I was actually asked whether I was going for a wedding and then it struck me, oh yeah the bling  outfit. Heh. If the meeting is out though I’d go for the other option because there are chances that I maybe seen by people I don’t want to be seen in this state.

“GO have a wash soon and get ready, we have to be there by 7.30”.

Right..So I don the outfit, put a touch of make up and await rest of the instructions? As expected the mother walks in, “what is this? put some make up on, I can’t see anything. something to light up your cheeks? Do your eyes. Put some lipstick, I cant see!”. Then she gets the aunts opinion and whoever else’s who’s  there. There is always someone there.

Err…

“Pull your hair back and tie it in a ponytail. What are all these pieces? SO ugly!”

Right…

Next comes the Jewellery. Gold Jewellery.

“Put these ear-rings on, the ones you are wearing aren’t bright enough”. Then she hands me a chain, a ring, and a bracelet. After a while she remembers that there is still room for a pendant. “You want to wear this pendant with the chain?” What? OMG!? I have a say? “No”.

And then she starts with the do’s and the don’ts.

“Here now talk nicely okay, ask him about his job, his interests. If he asks you about work tell him that you are working at the moment, but you are okay with giving up, I mean after all when the right time comes you have to noh?” The aunt adds,”just be diplomatic, we can only convince them later and slowly no. And you must also sacrifice, compromise..”.

More from the mother,

“Don’t keep your mouth like this” and she mocks, showing me how not to keep my mouth. “Just smile it lights up your face and then you look fairer”

“Don’t sit with your legs up” (legs crossed)

Now it’s time to go.

“Okay come soon now. No no not those shoes”.

“Did you apply cream to your feet?”

“Okay go and tell grandma, tell X, tell Y…What is your problem? Stop making that face!”

Grandma “Ill pray that you find a decent sweetheart”

An aunt quips, “tsk, go happily dear, what is this, go happily”.

Now we are in the vehicle, mother, father and the brother. The brother drives coolly. Mentions something about the rain.

Mother repeats the do’s and the don’ts. But she has more to say. “Ask for forgiveness from God”. Err WTF. “Say this” and she volunteers snippets of holy verses. I roll my eyes and whatsapp my friend.

“Put that away and listen to me”.

“What is wrong with you? Why are you making that face?”

I put my phone aside, lean back and close my eyes.

Finally we arrive at the destination and this time quite a fancy one at that. She asks me to go sit with my brother, and that I’ll be called when I’m needed, best order I got for the whole day.

So I go sit with the brother. We talk about how good the hotel looks after recent renovations, we compare it to another hotel. Then I inquire after his results. Then he tells me he has to pee and that he had to use the loo 5 times since 4.30. Random chit chat.

Half an hour and whatshisface and his family are still not to be seen.

“They’ll be here at 8.30”.

The mother comes to check up on us. “Sit up straight, sit on THIS chair, the lighting is better here. Put the shawl properly”.

Whatshisface and his family at the entrance. Finally.

This Conversation is now OVER!

This conversation is now OVER!! Oh how I love saying those words to all these inquisitorial busy bodies who always seem to think they know what’s best for me. I only wish I could say it more often, especially to the older members of my clan, but that would result in me having to take an earful of their mouthful. Tsk.

The latest opportunity relates to last night when a family friend (opposite sex, same age) tells me he has to talk to me. He seemed ever so mysterious, for instance when he was about to leave the house, he asks me not to sleep early. Waaa?  I obviously slept. As I wake up I see a message from him, which was sent the previous night. Anyway the mysterious topic relates to Blind-date 799 (https://snobregal.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/blind-date-799/), at which he along with my brother started listing out possible suitors for me from their circle, after which I stopped talking to him? Huh? Okay? What? Really?

Basically what took place here was that when “No thanks, shut up” did not work, I zoned out of the conversation and drifted off to someplace…possibly to someplace where I was mentally murdering them?

Anyway I thought I’d be nice for once in my life and explain to the fellow in his language how things work.

“You see, it’s like this, if you try to set me up with some random dude, OR aid, abet or counsel others engaged in the same, I will have no choice but to demote you to the level of an acquaintance.”

To which he goes “Are you going to be like this forever?”.  Like what? To these jokers, being unmarried is the single worst predicament that could befall a woman!

Then I say “That’s my problem.” To which he says “Not only yours.  You should think of your family!”

Good lord, there is no hope. I realized that I will never be able to reach his level of genius and out came the golden words “This conversation is now OVER.”