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April 15, 2018


Asalam-o-Alaikum Auntie,
I am a 21-year-old boy and have recently completed my graduation. Although there is a lot of confusion in my life, I have two major problems. First, most of the time people disapprove of me and make jokes about me because of my short height and glasses. The second and most important problem is related to my future. I am in love with a girl whom I met about three years ago at a wedding ceremony. We have been in touch with each other through Facebook and exchanged mobile numbers. I have been talking to her for the last three years, and have sent her gifts, books, etc., from time to time. Recently, we both met at a relative’s wedding. I belong to a village, though at present I reside in the same city as her for my studies. My parents still live in the village and they are looking for a partner for me from the village. They have indicated to me that they will not allow me to marry someone of my choice; however, I don’t want to marry any girl from the village. Your precious advice is required for these two problems.

Dear Smarter-Than-That,
The problem lies not with you being short, but with the people who tease and bully you. It is actually bullies who have issues. They are usually the ones who have been mistreated in life. They (wrongly) think that the way to cope with their own hurt is to go around hurting others and picking on them for things that are out of their control.

Unfortunately, they continue to bully you because they are feeding off your politeness. Even if you assert yourself in anyway, these people are likely to dismiss you and will try to make you feel small, just to prove to themselves that their skewed way of thinking is correct.

‘I don’t want to marry a girl from the village’

Next time someone bullies you, just walk off if you can. Refuse to listen to them and interrupt their ‘show’ by leaving without saying another word. If you are feeling brave you could also confront the bully by calling them out. Say something like, “You really think it is okay to make fun of people based on how they look?”

There is no guarantee that you will be able to shut up the bully, because we cannot control other people’s behaviour. But you can control what you ‘let into’ your brain. The most effective way Auntie can think of, of dealing with such people is to think of them as socially challenged with sorry lives and ignore them.

As for your love life, Auntie would say, you need to ask this girl how serious she is about you. At the moment, it sounds pretty casual between the two of you. Have a serious conversation with her and ask her whether she wants to marry you and if she will be ready to weather any storms to get there. Before you do that though, you also need to ask yourself whether you are ready to ride through a storm for the love of your life, because a storm may hit once word gets out to the parents and family. You really don’t want to be left high and dry if your lady love decides to acquiesce to her family’s wishes, if things get rough. You also don’t want to buckle if your mother goes on a rant against the girl and her family. It won’t be comfortable. Do it only if you are ready to be challenged.

Have a serious conversation with her and ask her whether she wants to marry you and if she will be ready to weather any storms to get there.

Please ignore all of the above if marriage will pose a danger to you or the girl’s life.

Auntie will not reply privately to any query. Please send concise queries to:

Published in Dawn, EOS, April 15th, 2018