Life’s tough

Pakistan as a country has its problems and Pakistani society has its problems. Now I’m not going to talk about the political issues that sadly have caused us to become an example for “when democracy goes wrong” nor the economic problems that have plagued us since as far as I can remember. I’m talking about the daily social problems, that some lucky ones view as mere glitches on their rocky roads and the rest of us… well those problems become our lives.

Sadly there’s not much to do entertainment-wise in Pakistan (unless you call political shows fun and games…) which lead to all the issues below.

From the meddlesome in laws to the mad maid who’s run off with the cook, from the boss who stinks (literally, let alone professionally) to the utility bills that sends shock waves down your spine. The sexy girlfriend who has now turned into a money grabbing wife and the husband who once stole your heart with his bad boy look now pisses you off when he refuses to fulfil your dreams. The teenage daughter who breaks the bank balance with every month’s phone bill and the unruly son who was meant to be your pride and joy turns out to be a complete loser!

Life’s tough.

But it can be all fixed and here at Big Pen we’ve got some solutions that might just make life a bit bearable!

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# 1 – In-laws

Okay so we’ve all been there. Sobbing on the phone to our mums (yes that includes men too!) about how unfairly we’re being treated. How we hate our in laws. How all we ever wanted was a “house of my own… a car of my own… my own kitchen… my privacy… my OWN MAN!” It’s really simple. Pakistanis or south Asians in general believe in extended families and there is no changing that AT ALL. Even when our kids have grown up and gotten married, we too will hound them to live with us and the cycle will go on and on. So what to do?

You stay away from my son you… minx!!

In laws want to be involved in your life. So first step is to accept that fact. That does not mean that they accompany you to the loo but they will want to be involved in everything you do wherever you are (even if you’re in the next room they WILL want to be a part of it all).

So make the most of it! Get them to polish your silver, sort out your cutlery, scrub out your pots and pans, babysit the baby when its having a colicky moment, do your grocery shopping (sabzi mandi is the best place) and iron all your bed sheets, pillow cases, duvet covers, panties and socks. Every now and then flash them a smile to show your approval and gratefulness.

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# 2 – The mad maid

This is a tricky one. Being a liberal at heart I believe that if someone wants to sleep around or elope then so be it. Live and let live. But when it comes to the house maid who does the cooking, cleaning and childcare my beliefs do change a bit. Yet love knows no bounds. If she is being wooed by the cook next door, there aint no mountain high enough, aint no valley low and no river widen enough to prevent them from getting jiggy.

So do the right thing. Call the cook over for chai (no need to get the china out unless you’ve got an in law around who’s going to be willing to help clear up) and sit the two lovers down. Hand the guy a pack of condoms and the woman a pack of birth control pills. Tell them you know what’s happening and if they insist on keeping up with it they better come out with it and be proud of it. After all, there isn’t any shame in love is there? Most likely they’ll stay silent so on cue, call in your local mullah whom you’ll introduce as the man who will perform the nikah.

Or launch into an Islamic rendition of ‘Dil Dil Pakistan’.


If that doesn’t scare the love away then you know they’re the real deal. But if the cook does a runner and the maid suddenly becomes the next Mother Teresa… love hurts.

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# 3 – Utility bills

The future isn’t looking very bright for Pakistan. There’s no gas, no water, no electricity and at times, no food (alright sugar and wheat specifically, so people can’t even eat cake). Yet every month your bills ensure that the hair on your head turns white prematurely.

Plus the teenage daughter who racks up a hefty phone bill and refuses to understand your point when you ask why she needs to spend hours on the phone with her friends when she sees them everyday in school – “homework isn’t done in school is it?”

Well the way things are going it’s about time we got to grips with things and realised that our true calling is not fashion shows or television. We need to get down and dirty – and that means replacing the old trusty Toyota by a tonga, air conditioned air is now fresh air, the only gas in the house is the one that comes out of your arse and heat is generated by wood.

Homework can be a family activity because there’s no phone to call other children, disturbing their study time. And since there’s no television perhaps you might be able to invest more in your son therefore reducing his loser-ness as time goes by.

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# 4 – Money grabbing wife and the sarhyal husband

So first we deal with the wife. You remember seeing her, way back in college, when she had a perfect hourglass figure and a face that put Helen of Troy to shame. Her every move was pure class and whenever she walked past it was as if an angel had just flown by. She swore to love you eternally even when you told her you couldn’t afford her the same life that her industrialist daddy gave her. She cried soft tears and promised that material things meant nothing in front of your undying love for her.

Ten years on the hourglass figure seemed to morph into one big ball of fat. Long lost are those whispers of love which are now hollers to get the bills paid, pick up the kids, and never ending demands for a washing machine, a diamond ring, new wardrobe, annual holiday, money, money, MONEY!

And now the husband. The coolest guy around town, slicked back hair, twinkle in his eye, that Elvis Presley type upper lip. The ultimate rebel who set your heart racing with the freedom he promised, how he listened to your childish dreams, and those promises he made to “take care of you… look after you… treat you like a princess”.

Sure he did.

Ten years later, he’s not interested in hearing about your dreams and what you thought “marriage would be like” – he wants his food. He doesn’t care if you’ve got a headache, get a panadol and get the driver to take you to a doctor. If there’s a family dinner chances are he’ll sit and sulk through it without making any effort to speak to anyone unlike the very first dinner after getting married where he wooed everyone with smooth chit chat. And what’s that he’s saying… “another night out with the girls? Let me remind you, you’re a married woman now and the women of my family remain at home”.

Big Pen’s advice to both: Get laid.

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Categories: The World I Know

Author:Mehr F Husain

Mehr F Husain was Features Editor of The Friday Times. She lives out of a suitcase.

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3 Comments on “Life’s tough”

  1. Kashan
    September 27, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    hehehe…brilliant solution for #1.very funny article

  2. Alliya
    September 18, 2011 at 3:18 am #

    great article!

  3. rumi
    September 16, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    loved the sarhyal husband and money grabbing wife one…so true 😀

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