Part Two here. Brace yourself; this is a heavy dose! 😉
Part three: The Blossomming of the Swan
By now, I am sleepy enough to drop just about anywhere and fall into blissful slumber, but the girls have other plans. The twins and the sneaky younger sister hover around my suitcase — vultures vying to get a look at my well-guarded outfits. “Show us what you’re wearing tonight!”, the twins squeal. Today is the dholki, a bachelorette party where the Dulhan-to-be celebrates her ‘last days of singlehood’.
But I grin cheekily. I was loving the suspense and there was no way I was killing it so soon. After weeks of waiting, surely a few more minutes wouldn’t hurt? But the twins press me still, so I bring out my outfit for the nikkah, the wedding reception.
It is a modern twist on the traditional Pakistani shalwar kameez: beige and magenta, embroidered with gold and silver motifs. The sight is met with ‘ooh’s and ‘aah’s from the twins,and rightly so. It looks sparkingly gorgeous (if I may say so myself!)
But the show-stopper is still to come. My sneaky younger sister pulls The Yellow Bag from the depths of my suitcase (my dress is from Forever 21, by the way) and in no time at all I am wearing my outfit. I am dressed in a light cream-coloured dress, a black cropped jacket, a white belt and black heels. The twins are wide-eyed.”Raweeha, you look beautiful.” I smile, and this time it is from deep within me.
You know how, one day, your entire life flashes before you? This was my day. Within moments, I was a bubbling six-year-old; an ambitious ‘scientist’ making shampoo and baby powder ‘potions’ in the bathroom. Then I am a brooding ten-year-old, trying to think thoughts that are too big to fit into my small head. I am twelve and irritable, a nuisance to those around me, but inwardly questioning my identity. I am fourteen, mature but slightly oblivious to reality. And then I am back to my present self, at sixteen years, eight months and four days old. Who am I now?
I’ve had something of an ‘ugly duckling’ transition to adolescence. I have been annoying. Annoyed. Confusing. Confused. Disagreeable. Pitied upon. But today I was not. And I realise the self-indulgence of this, but I felt that, after years of hiding in the shadows, I had emerged in the limelight; an ugly duckling no more. The nikkah may be the Dulhan’s moment to shine, but the dholki was mine. The swan had blossomed, and today, she would take to the skies.
A few minutes later, with the Dulhan-to-be out sight, I usher her twin into the room and explain my surprise present to her. I bring out a bag of Quality Street, a ceramic replica of an ice cream sundae and a plastic envelope of paper hearts. The idea: to give people a piece of chocolate and a heart, ask them to write a message and then wrap the folded message in the remaining cellophane. The ‘ice cream sundae’ would then be filled with ‘candy’. In my excitement though, I unwrap the bubble wrap, and … The lid slips from my hand, lands on the floor and cracks into six pieces. I want to slap myself. “We’ll improvise”, the twin reassures me, but that seed of regret has been planted and remains within me for the next three days.
The preparations begin. Balloons are brought out and we blow, blow, blow. Just before tying them we pop in a little piece of folded paper. Dozens of balloons are given this treatment, and, lo and behold, we have created a balloon Pass the Parcel cum Truth or Dare.
The hours pass like seconds. I have finally managed to get some sleep, showered, dressed, done make up and failed, yet again, to curl my hair. It’s party time.
The first guests arrive and the Dulhan-to-be is taking her sweet time getting dressed. I ampushed into the living room and soon a whole group of us is sitting on the floor in awkward silence. Who drums the dhol, and worse still, who sings? We had a tambourine and no willing singer. The problem is soon solved when a cousin comes along with a wooden sewing machine lid. Pretty soon, we are singing and dancing along with the hilarious air of amateurs pretending to be Shah Rukh Khans. The Dulhan-to-be then stands up and summons us into a circle. It is time for the balloons.
The shock on people’s faces when the balloon pops areirreplaceable, the dares even more so. One contestant is asked to do two laps of the corridor — hopping on one foot. Another is asked to apply lipstick on some one else’s lips — blindfolded. Most people most people choose to pop their balloons using their finger nails, others sit on them, a few brave ones use their teeth. Pretty soon the music stops, and what do you know, I have a balloon in my hands.
I pop mine using the back of my earring. My dare: Drink two glasses of 7up in one minute. I ambitiously gulp down my first glass and, it is FREEZING! Eyes watering, I loosen my belt and begin my second glass! Somehow even colder than the first. As someone begins the countdown I nearly give in, but …. I finish my second glass in just under a minute, spilling half of it down the front of my dress and taking my belt off entirely. Phew. How embarrassing.
I then manage to put my baby nephew to sleep (walking around in heels, yes!), eat some, pose for pictures and make a call to my ‘stylist’. All while chasing confused (and rather uncooperative) guests with their paper hearts. PLUS hiding this from the Dulhan-to-be! It is not long before all has wound down and I have collapsed into bed.
What a night.
“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”
― Audrey Hepburn
The definition of beauty is not a territory uncharted; hundreds, if not thousands, have tried (and failed) to define, to capture, to explain this subliminally powerful entity. From One Direction’s childishly simple What Makes You Beautiful, to Zadie Smith’s sadistically disturbing On Beauty, the idea of beauty has been explored and exploited for centuries past, and will probably continue to do so for centuries to come. There will be, of course, ones that stand out more than others, and this is one such example, which I got from a sweet (and anonymous) person on Facebook. Enjoy reading 🙂
Showing off your body to men doesn’t make you beautiful …
The more you hide the more they’ll want to chase after you.
Keep them guessing, don’t just give them what they ask for.
Don’t let today’s society poison your mind with things that aren’t even true.
Beauty does not come from your face, or your hair, or your body.
It comes from your heart. Having a kind, selfless, caring, heart is what makes a girl beautiful.
Just because you see underweight models on magazines,
Doesn’t mean you should take them as an example of how you want to be.
These girls would probably love to have a burger every now and then.
But they can’t because they would hate to lose their job.
You may think they are happy, but you never know what truely hides behind a smile.
And if you think that showing off your skin is the only way you’ll find love
Men, especially men who treat a women right, love those who are modest.
Who protect their body from the eyes of men.
These are the women men are looking for.
So stop trying to be like everyone else.
Just be yourself because You Are Beautiful ♥
I wrote this on the 29th of September (it’s been a while, I know!) and I believe it would fit quite nicely into the Imaginative/Narrative/Descrpitive component of AS Level English … speaking of which, my first term’s exam is on wednesday and I’m undergoing something of a panic attack. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to English I certainly know my As from my Bs (I got an A* at IGCSE!), but, you know, that last-minute booster to your self-esteem always helps! 😉 Anyway, here’s the HandWritten post I’ve been promising for so long, and when you finish reading you are obliged to comment — if you don’t … well, I have my ways of knowing! Happy reading (and reflecting, naturellement 😉 )
FYI, for you clueless ones, I’m taking you on a tour of my beloved notebook (your imagination shall be required).
It’s not the first time that the corridor lights have remained switched on, the clocks ticking (or beeping) way past my usual ‘bedtime’ of pre-10 pm. A familiar pencil-case is pulled blindly out of a familiar bag, and the familiar, muffled sound of pens being spilt on the rug is heard. A notebook is opened, its pages lined with a mosaic of words. The first page has my name, of course. But with the pages that follow, it is a matter of chronological guesswork. The first few pages are geography notes, decorated neatly in a rainbow of pink, blue and purple ink, complemented by a sprinkling of quick -but still neat- sketches in subtle, grey pencil. But, moving onwards, the notebook has a few surprises up its sleeve.
And then you realise that surprises don’t always stun you in eye-popping shades of colour. And also that, on the opposing extreme of the spectrum, the most boring, mundane things attempt to catch your attention by throwing themselves at you in screaming hues of neon fuchsia — ugliness pretending to be beautiful.
In this notebook, you will meet my writing — honest, quirky, introverted, always reflective and reminiscent and occasionally funny. It’s always in pencil.
You will also bump into ostentatious pages painted in pink, purple, orange and blue. Upon closer inspection you will realise that these are rows after endless rows of quadratic equations — and half of them have the wrong solutions.
That’s an analogy for life, i guess. Look past the gaudiness and into the subtlety. Past the beautiful and into the ordinary-looking. Look past the million-dollar cars and designer handbags and into the eyes of those quiet but serene, soft-spoken but resiliently happy. They don’t throw their beauty in your face, sure. But they’re beautiful all the same.
Read between the lines — not just in this notebook but in this life. You’ll be surprised by what you discover.
Beauty blooms in unexpected places.
You’ve probably noticed that most WordPressers take a summer sabbatical and don’t post anything during the hottest few weeks of the year. Well, I took a break for the summer, too … okay, I confess, more like a summer-plus-autumn-plus-halfway-through-winter sabbatical 😀
Why, you ask? Okay, here goes:
Need I say anymore?
Anyway. AS Level is slowly but surely taking its toll; I now stay up till 9 pm and back up at 3.30 am! I am surviving on coffee (ran out last night and mum refuses to buy more, oh sh*t.) I complain about Mechanics (more about that later!) and am nervous out of my wits for my first practical (Chemistry on Monday 22.11! :O).
But A Million Reflections is not dead yet. Oh no. My baby is a year old and may it live a life of cyber-fame and a loyal readership. And this isn’t the end. There’s more posts to come — mostly just HandWritten ones, so you guys will get to read my real writing, not this keyboard-composed stuff. Oh and muffins too, naturally. I promise. Pinky swear 😉
Until then, ciao. And fingers crossed for my AS level exams. I’ll do okay, right? I have to believe in that.
Oh and if you didn’t recognize the title, it’s a line from The Script’s For The First Time.