Updated March 03, 2019


‘Is marriage the right thing right now for me?’

Dear Khala Jani,

I belong to a family that lives hand-to-mouth. My sisters and I have crossed the 25-year eligibility standard for marriage, but we are still unmarried. Whenever I discuss this with my mother, she becomes furious and starts shedding tears.

She is not looking for proposals because she says we can’t afford wedding expenses. If this continues, we will soon cross 30. I don’t want to get married because I seek financial security or obsess about having children, but because I believe it will bring me happiness, something that I have felt deprived of all my life. I have sunk in a deep-sea of depression. Please tell me what to do. Is marriage the right thing for me at this time?

Dear Girl,
Auntie suspects that your family can afford to get you married, but that they can’t afford a big fat Pakistani wedding. Your mother probably believes she has to give you a splashy send-off. Technically, you can get married in your home in a meaningful ceremony, surrounded just by a handful of your loved ones and still go on to lead a happy married life. Sometimes you can spend millions on a wedding and end up very unhappy and dissatisfied. How happy you are in your marriage has nothing to do with how splashy your wedding was. Let me repeat that, so you remember it well: How happy you are in your marriage has nothing to do with how splashy your wedding was.

You can minimise your expenses and have a wedding that is well within your budget. Yes, some (mean) wedding guests might talk if you get married at home, have one event, offer them a one-item menu with biryani and severely limit the guest list, but guess what? A week later they will forget about it in their quest to find the next thing to crib about. Just as when they attend a big fat Pakistani wedding, talk about the hefty price tag of the bridal jorra, wonder about the family’s shady source of income, dwell on rampant corruption in society and then promptly forget about all of that a week later. You just cannot please everyone and you shouldn’t even try.

If you keep the right focus — i.e. the couple and their immediate families — marriage for you and your sisters can be possible right now. However, as prep for your amazing we-make-up-in-creativity-what-we-lack-in-resources wedding, you will need to develop a thick skin and not care what people think about you sticking to your budget. See, if you invite people to your wedding out of the goodness of your heart, and they still go sniggering behind your back, the problem lies with them, not you.

Also, there is no rule that says you have to get married at 25. It may be the norm for a lot of parents to try and get their children, especially girls, to marry by 25, but it certainly isn’t a rule or standard, so please don’t make it one in your head.

I also don’t think your family is living hand to mouth. You have access to the internet and you clearly attended a very good school, considering your English language skills (your email had next to no grammatical and spelling mistakes). In this country, you are not poor.

The more important thing that I want to ask you is, are you doing anything with your life? Are you working somewhere? You haven’t said anything about that and so Auntie would urge you and your sister to get out and find something constructive to do, so you don’t depress yourself by dwelling on your age, marriage and the lack of this or that in your life. Seriously, find a worthy focus outside of yourself and please, please, please, count your blessings. It will save you from years of depression and heartache.

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

Published in Dawn, EOS, March 3rd, 2019