Blushed-glowing cheeks, shinny-crayoned lips, black-cajoled eyes and body appareled in a new Bareeze dress; a girl waits for her proposal to ring the bell.

Whereas they come, often late than the expected and appointed time, a stage is set! The long-awaited guests with no Khandan (family member) left behind are taken to the best-ornamented room in the entire house. Mother on the news of their arrival turns into a robot: patrolling the house recklessly while her heart starts throbbing vehemently. The object to be exhibited has lost its makeup in the wait, therefore, instructions are bombarded to hide the tanned skin and to apply some paint “again” to whitely-beautify the face.

The show goes on. Dishes clatter; plates are set amidst food heaped on them with a precise delicacy to unveil subtly the package that will go along the “sweetheart”. Hustle bustle

occupies the house. Family members eavesdrop the conversation taking place stealthily in the sacred room; in the midst of this chaos, the mother is running here and there in confusion.

The theatrical presentation continues and the climax arrives.

The tragic hero lavishly adorned enters the pageant. Muted questions encapsulate the deafening silence of the room.

Austere critics examine her from head to toe. Are the teeth all and fully grown? Are the feet washed? Is the face cleansed?

Are nails manicured and pedicured? What about the physique? Is she fat or slim? The possibilities of being rejected are on being too fat, too thin, and too heightened or short heightened. The object inflicted with inspecting eyes smiles uncomfortably and in her mind, draws the face of her expected spouse. She attired with a heavy dress and jewelry, tantamount to 10 kg, keeps herself away from wilting. Then, the silence breaks and one of the predatory guests asks “beta! Can you cook?” Shyly, the victim moves her head up and down; intermittently another lady speaks: “beta! Can you stand up and show us your walk!” Poor girl looks up at her mom in awe and mom shows her the owl-like eyes advising her to conform. She gets up and walks on the ramp of her drawing room. The guests are convinced that the girl is of good weight and is an “eligible candidate” for marriage. In response, they start flaunting about their darling son’s education and athletic properties. They portray a prince to which mother is about to swoon, but a call from the servant, inside the kitchen, lets her not. The girl in her heart knows how royally her parents brought her up and in order to oblige them she must accept the strangeness which awaits her next; after being asked on how good a chef she is or how actively she can move and do the house chores; however the unseen prince is a relief to hold onto. The guests rise up cherishing their family and without giving a hint of rejection or acceptance/ appreciation bid farewell. Mother rushes to offer nawafil (prayer) and starts the istikhara (prayer for seeking divine guidance). The sink is filled with dirty culinary and the other members of the house get busy in their routine, while “she” tries to locate herself between an “individual” and a commodity.

This is not a story of one girl but of millions surviving whilst robbed off their identity by the obtuse disposition of our society and its archaic culture. Quandary incessant efforts of parents are put in the scrutiny of their child’s heavenly match. However, this constant rejection and showcase of oneself are what parents are unable to understand and preeminently owe its hand in repressing the child’s own voice of choice. Hence, this circus continues and the bell rings again.

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