Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

Published: July 9, 2010

I went to my relatives’ place a couple of days back on my way home from university. The moment I entered the house I was dragged aside by my uncle and was told to quietly tip toe through the house and avoid looking into the drawing room. Curious as I was, I still peeked in and to my surprise there were just a bunch of aunties and uncles sitting together and talking. I had no clue what all the hush was about. As I went inside the bedroom, my aunt came rushing towards me, “Don’t you dare go out! They are here to see your cousin. If you go out, they might like you and reject her.”

Of all the things that could have happened, this was the reason why I was told to crawl through the house like a worm.

Stranger things have happened in my family before but this was something I had not expected. The one hour I was made to sit in the room, while people came in time and time again to give me updates about how handsome the guy was or how he and my cousin were talking since the last 20 minutes, got me thinking that if I did go out would it really change the fate of my cousin for the worse? Is it because of her looks only that these people had come to see her? I knew her to have far greater qualities than that and had half a mind to go and tell those people about them, only to notice the glare from my aunt and sat back down again.

It’s not just my family, but rather the perception of the whole community these days. People have made themselves believe that if they sit up straight, have a size zero figure or learn how to cook the best dishes in town, they can ‘grab’ the seemingly perfect male for themselves. They seem to have forgotten what really binds relationships together: compatibility. I am not wise enough to lecture on marital issues, but old enough to understand the problems one can face if they don’t love the person they marry. Beauty or fine dressing sense doesn’t define a person neither is it the criteria for marriage.

Recently another friend of mine had gotten engaged to a guy from the UK. The whole family couldn’t stop mentioning this fact to every other person and the never seen relatives suddenly started turning up at their house with their daughters behind them. In all this hustle and bustle nobody remembered to ask about the guy’s family or his past. Six months after the engagement, he ran away with his gori girlfriend. The engagement broke and the girl’s parents shouted about how their respect was lost in the biradri. Need I say here that if some inquiry would was done, this could have been prevented? We fail to see the bigger picture in life and things that are more important and run after those which seem good for our image temporarily.

It is a sad fact that despite all the modernisation we have gone through and how literate we have become, we are still unable to move away from the idea of materialism and the importance of social image which is deeply rooted in our minds. It is not necessary that the figure you see in the mirror reflects the reality behind it.

Nafeesa Johar

Nafeesa Johar

A student of social sciences and economics at SZABIST. She frequently blogs at [email protected] and her favourite thing in the world is her book shelf.

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