I’ve always associated Karachi with weddings. Always. It’s probably because every time I’ve been in this city is for the sole reason of attending a specific wedding.
Apart from the past 3 years, I used to come often to Karachi, twice a year or more, sometimes to give orders for elaborate outfits to be worn at my brother’s or sister’s wedding, other times to come try those outfits on, and then of course to finally wear them on the big day. I used to love weddings, the ritual of dressing up and looking your ultimate best was one of my favorite, and each part of the process was dealt with painstakingly. From hair, makeup and mehndi-waalis to choosing songs for the playlist at weddings, and determining how the photography should be done, everything was important. All of that has changed.
A few years ago, I wanted to be in the spotlight, I wanted to be seen and admired and fawned over for my sense of style and my brilliant eye make-up. Now, I really cannot be bothered. I dress in what I already have, without being too picky, and I’ve abandoned my best friend, eye-liner, almost completely. Gone are the days of painfully applied smokey eyes and pouty lips; the look du jour that I am sporting is completely au natural. Very nude, very understated, with controlled smiles that never reach the eyes. Hidden is the look I am going for.
Why the total one-eighty? A few years ago, at that excited stage of being 16-18 years old, I had a penchant for being seen and, ultimately, wanted. Now, at the ripe old age of 21, with graduation looming and repressed ambitions of studying more without being tied down, being seen and wanted are at the very bottom of my list. In fact, they don;t have a place on the list at all. I would prefer to look shabby and scholastic and be known as ‘that girl who wants to study more and work’ instead of looking like a million bucks and being known as ‘the girl who will make a great daughter-in-law let’s find her mother ASAP’. It’s a veritable buffet, and we’re all veal. Now, I’d much rather be a slice of unwanted salami. Perhaps it all sounds a little silly and people very well may counter my trite plan with a shake of their heads and mutter about how things happen when they’re meant to be. To them, I say indeed they do, but even fate can be tested and altered.
At all the weddings I’ve been to on this trip, I’ve been startled to see how trussed up all the girls are at these occasions. Long sweeping shiny clothes, perfectly blowdried hair and heavily caked on yet impeccable makeup, and of course fiercely red talons and high teetering heels. I look at them and I want to laugh, they’re like prizes on display, waiting for the highest bidder, and the most qualified son. They glide around the wedding halls and lawns, their dupattas swishing in bright colours, their eyes glinting like the decorative beads on their kameeses, hunting and preying and always, always watching. It’s all a little sad to me, but then I can’t say much, I was one of them before.