You’re not the marriageable kind

Published: April 29, 2015

She remembered how desperately she wanted to be understood as a normal woman who wanted a family, love, and respect. PHOTO: PINTEREST

An image of Akbar, her ex-fiancé, flashed into her mind as she elegantly sat waiting in her small, dark living room. A lonely candle flickered unenthusiastically on a wooden table by the window and the scent of the earth before the rain perforated the room.

“Had I not come into your life, you would’ve destroyed yourself!” Akbar would say to her sternly.

This memory of him haunted her.

Choti (small), as she was affectionately known as, laughed a lot, travelled, was ambitious, made friends easily – perhaps had too much personality, if there is such a thing. Unfortunately, this approachability was routinely and falsely confused with promiscuousness, or for a woman who could not be controlled. Akbar felt that. But she was not like that.

An industrialist’s son once candidly explained to her at dinner,

 “You’re not the marriageable kind because you have ambitious career goals and do not require financial protection from a man. You’re one of us and we never want to get married!”

He winked at her; she was repulsed.

Another young man, who was moving to the US and looking forward to sleep with American women, told her,

“I will only marry a woman of my mother’s choice. You know, the innocent kind.”

And Choti was not that kind of woman and neither was she capable of divorce.

Other men simply asked to climb into bed with her because someone like her, who was open and approachable according to ‘western’ designs, deserves only such propositions. When she refused, agitated disbelief was clear on their faces.

Choti was packaged the wrong way.

She remembered how desperately she wanted to be understood as a normal woman who wanted a family, love, and respect. She thought of mending her ways, but what was it that required mending? She felt guilty, but was not sure of what; she felt dirty and was sure it was because of the way she was looked at.

She felt lost.

Akbar’s love arrived at this confusing juncture in her life and he wanted to surprisingly marry her. In his shadow, she remembered how she allowed herself to be convinced to be seen as damaged goods that were grateful to have found a virtuous path in a world where her alleged imperfections were almost contemptible.

Duct tape was used to package her correctly. Choti was told to tone it down and keep her reservations, but despite all this, she continued to laugh. She allowed herself to be controlled, but eventually felt suffocated years later. Too late to try to be herself with him she thought. She realised who she truly was, and she was someone he did not like. There was no choice. She left.

“I knew it,” Akbar yelled, “You just want the single and fun life!”

Akbar stuck to the convenient and hurtful label just like everyone else and that was exactly what she did not want.

“I know I am to blame for letting Akbar love his own image of me. The contempt for my so-called imperfections was so great it felt impossible to stand up proudly and hold up my perceived ugliness. Every man has desired me to be this pure and submissive little thing; and I have desired to be that creature because it would have been simpler.” she thought to herself.

She had failed at this.

She could hear the rain drops falling on to the leaves, sliding and disappearing on to the concrete.

There was a new man in her life but he could never be hers. He did not define her by her past and believed she was wonderfully human.  In his kind love for her, she allowed to forgive herself.  She felt like a leper grateful for being seen past her dreadful image.

What she was doing was wrong though, but knowing the ending had given her strange reassurance. Without pretentions, there was nothing to hope for; she simply learnt how to enjoy this rare gift that healed her.  Did she not deserve this after so much pain?

The phone vibrated and a message icon appeared on the screen, interrupting Choti’s thoughts,

“Hey Sarah, had to drop Amina at her mother’s. I’m on my way. Ali.”

Beenisch Tahir

Beenisch Tahir

The author has graduated from the London School of Economics, London with an Msc in Social Policy and Development and she is a development professional in communications. Head of the LSE Alumni Chapter in Islamabad. Writing for a hobby. She tweets as @Beenisch (twitter.com/Beenisch)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • “Yuxr’a”

    No idea what she wrote about. But, “Beenisch”… really?Recommend

  • AB

    So in the end she married again??Recommend

  • ZA

    I really read this thing? Really? o_ORecommend

  • Parvez

    I got all confused……then I thought I had it…..but three quarters of the way down I got lost again. I’m not much good at this Poetic License thing……sorry.Recommend

  • Browncoat

    What the falooda was that? -_ORecommend

  • Abeer Kasiri

    so in the end she became that woman who is actually with a guy that is cheating on her wife with her? she became a what???Recommend

  • Tajamul Hussain Turi

    JUST CONFUSIONRecommend

  • Rupa James-Haroon

    I so can understand what this is about. Not many people will but those who do understand it will appreciate it. A caged soul wanting to break free. Recommend

  • Amna Saeed

    Worst story ever. Men tear her down and she falls for it? Valuing your self worth by the attention you get from men and making yourself out to be a victim and blaming men in the process. Yeah, next time you can also have her blame her mum for encouraging her to study and have a career.Recommend

  • Syed Sherry-r

    She became w****.. simple… she is now in relation with a man who is already married and she is loving that when she got man who used to love her she couldnt take it.. that woman is bad soul… and what a khichdi writing.Recommend

  • Muhammad Abbas Ansar

    I am lost…. can someone help me understand what writer is actually trying to convey?Recommend

  • M

    Am appalled beenish more because I am that woman and more so because I don’t regret being that woman one little bit… so what… our kinds can only land a married man cuz well he’ll have us without judgement… OMG! I wish I cud unread this… so many years or so.much struggle being an independent happily single succesful woman in a man’s world… n younger people like u come and undo all that we have worked at and are not ashamed off or sorry for! Jeez! Recommend

  • [email protected]

    Sigh. These afsana nigars on Tribune’s pages are going to be the end of me.Recommend

  • Stealthy Spirit

    Kindly write something in a more easy way. So, people like me that are not of the literary kind and still want to read, can easily understand things.
    Got really confused in the article. :-/Recommend

  • http://thoughtsandotherthing.blogspot.fr/2015/09/vegetarianism-ritual-killings-et-al.html Supriya Arcot

    No, she became a part time mistress of a married man.Recommend

  • Rabea Saeed

    i can identify with first half ov the woman… but the second half just blows my mind off.. on the grounds:

    1. do not make falooda ov things please
    2. do not degrade women… being independent n being able to laugh doesnt mean u trun her into someone so appalling… she, by no way, represent strong, independent women… Recommend

  • Muhammad Umer Hafeez

    thank you for droping big fancy words,Recommend

  • AshYaqoub

    I don’t agree with this article at all! I understand every woman has to face problems, YES our society is horrible, male-dominant and too quick to judge, but you have to deal with it and make yourself stronger. You don’t succumb to their judgement and prove them right!?!
    No matter how educated you are, there will be a ridiculous number of times you will have to compromise; not because you’re weak, but because nothing is perfect and (i know this is an old cliche) but you have to choose your battles.
    Plus a little constructive criticism: you need to work on your writing because an article should never be so confusing.. After all, it is meant for regular readers to understand and make sense out of.Recommend

  • Belal Khan

    why do you guys have to make it so dramatic?Recommend

  • Belal Khan

    are you addressing to all independent women?, indirectly talking about male chauvinismRecommend

  • Belal Khan

    What I understand, “Choti” has dimagi fatoor, she needs a Dr.Recommend

  • MuppetHater

    Did Any of you muppets ever wonder if the ‘Amina’ in the story could be Ali’s Daughter, and Ali could be a divorced single father and not a married man.Recommend

  • Jehanzeb Mahar

    She could also be her maid servant, yoga teacher, Milaad wali aunty, rishtay wali baji etc etcRecommend

  • Jehanzeb Mahar

    Part time mistress. Everything explained in just three words :)Recommend

  • Marzia Raza

    Choti has a bohot bari mental problem. An empowered woman does not seek approval from her man and deals with rejection like a boss. Stop portraying women like helpless, melancholic creatures all the time.Recommend

  • Umer Rasheed

    This is what you get when a blogger switches off Gossip Girl and reads Khalid Hossaini for 30 mins and then switches back to Gossip Girl.Recommend

  • Zafar

    Men and Women seem to have forgotten a simple but very hard fact about marriage and relationship i.e SacrificeRecommend

  • Zafar

    What I got from it is that there is a girl who wants to be free, independent, travel a lot, have a lot of male friends and still be able to have a family with a happy and understanding husband and kids. As if that is possible …..Recommend

  • Bilal Ahmed

    In this whole crap, where did “chooti” tried to live a normal life.wot I got outta it Is that as chooti was educated she sacrificed her relation to persue her happiness… Which is not yet defined. I don’t know wot sort of breed this education is harvesting. Recommend

  • maria

    its al right to be open and fun and to have ambitions, and even giving up some one who loves you because he suffocates you is totaly normal ……. but what kind of a” too much personality” she has when she doesnt even like herself ??? only because there is no man around yet who could love her for what she is , is not reason enough to think of yourself as a leper, all she needs is a little help to boast her self esteeem rather than Aminas husband.Recommend

  • a.i.

    I enjoyed the ambiguity. Everyone is entitled to their experiences and opinion/voice and personally I appreciate the author for exploring such horizons :) Recommend

  • anon0912

    Sheesh…how about i give a summary since people are too dumb to understand this.Sarah liked to mingle socially but she was never promiscuous but people kept judging her due to which she felt guilty for no reason.She gave in to Akbar because she wanted to fit in but felt suffocated later on because he was too controlling.She had an affair with a married man which she knew was wrong but it takes two people to tango so don’t be so quick to judge.She felt accepted only by him and from what i can gather..the guy either left his wife for her or the affair went on.The whole article is about how nasty in this country people are and about the independence of women.Recommend

  • thriftysmurf

    I have had friends from all races, religions, and cultures and all of them use a common phrase ” Marriage Material”. Like it or not, evolution has trained men to marry a certain woman; just like evolution has trained women to go for certain successful men.Recommend

  • Average Joe Bodybuilder

    @Beenisch Tahir – A or B or C or D BCD. Either way don’t pollute Pakistan.Recommend