Feb 4, 2009 - Uncategorized    54 Comments

Of weddings and new(er) insults

During the December Shadi (wedding) season, something strange happened. Quite a few people asked me about my academic qualifications, which I believe is totally unsuitable a topic of conversation at weddings. At weddings, you are supposed to ask extremely inappropriate questions with impunity. For instance, you may ask single people if they are getting married any time soon, if they have no such plans, you tell them to take the plunge and try and fix them up with first available person. You can ask the married ones if they plan to have any children and if they are not having children you tell them to procreate. You ask those who already have a child if they are having a second child and the minute they turn their back, you shake your head somberly and say that if they continue to breed like this, they would single handedly be responsible for the eventual dumbing down of the society. In short, you have the license to be as obnoxious as you can and you usually get away with it.

As I am eternally single and it has been discussed to death by every chachi, mami and khala, people have become more imaginative and developed a new set of insults and inappropriate questions to ask. One uncle asked me what I have done academically, when he found out that I have two post grad degrees in social sciences, he shook his head and said that if I had studied something worthwhile (preferably a business degree) I would be rolling in money and not wasting my time with the non profit non-sense. Still reeling from the shock that all my college education was deemed useless and my choice of career non sense.

I guess the old insults won’t do hence the newer insults are all the rage. Gotta come up with more flippant come backs now.

Clip to Evernote


  • Being a student has a lot of advantages that most folks do not even understand. For instance, it gives you license to complain about things to no end. You hang out with younger and cooler people instead of old fuddy duddies that abound workplaces. You can stall growing up for far longer if you stay in school. You have long weekends almost every week, get time off every six months, if not more often and you can sleep in everyday. Last but not the least is that you are not judged for being unemployed because you are pursuing academic excellence. Who cannot fall in love with such charmed existence?

    Completely agree and well said! Perpetual university education, especially graduate studies in the social sciences, is probably the best way to have a ‘fulfilling’ life, one without the angst and the anxiety that accompanies most urban living in our time. Admittedly its often a materially poor life but well, who says one cannot find fulfilment in tins of baked beans and stale bread? πŸ™‚

    After all..it seems the Krauts do have something nailed – seven year degrees, and an average of two degrees per person…now that’s an ideal any society should sign-up to! Though to be fair..a lot of the wonderful things about being at university/grad school do also apply if one is an academic / researcher at one (though not a junior lecturer).

    Perhaps a lot of the general illiteracy and badtameezi (and the materialistic culture of being one-up on the Joneses) one sees in Paki-land is because universities there are by and large such boring, unstimulating and hence unfulfilling places – focusing on the ‘how much’ and not on the ‘why’….

  • At weddings I am usually asked when I am getting a hair cut πŸ™

    But yea sleeping in and long weekends and cooler people are good enough reason to stay in college for life.

  • i’d get another post-grad degree if someone paid off my first one and sponsored my second. so yes, refering to your first post i read, looking for one sugar daddy, a mr darcy-like would be much appreciated

  • I just dont attend weddings πŸ˜€

  • wholly, wholly agree with your take on the charm of staying longer in grad school. alas, i tried to stay in as long as i could, but now must step in the treacherous, unstable domain of the real world. sigh. i do however, plan on getting back to school and doing a few more grad degrees, come the years ahead. marriage season is brill, eh?

  • haha. three degrees is too less, i know (considering i haven’t even finished with one yet… :P)

  • LOL…My sister is doing her Masters in Anthropology and she was chastised too, because people deem it “worthless”.

    Theres more to life then making money. And yes money is important, but we need a balance in society.

    I’ve always said that being a student is the best life, its all the fun with very little responsibility. And life is generally much more interesting, because you’re learning every day instead of being confined to conversations about the weather and the US president.

  • I so badly wanted to have the time to study a bit longer. But for this reason or that, couldn’t. Still keep boring my husband with fantastical plans of joining a university again. I wisshh!!!
    About social sciences, yeah our society doesn’t get the first thing about em.
    I finished my intermediate with pre-engineering, all the while thinking of joining NED or FAST for software – however, when it actually came about, I couldn’t make myself go – went crazy discovering new subjects & taking admission tests for all imaginable stuff – from psychology to public administration – cleared the tests for a few apart from the NED and FAST thing, opted for Mass Com – and got all kinds of people hounding my mom, telling her k bin baap ki bachi, bigar gayi hai. Direction hi sahi nahi choose ki, sahi control nahi kia bhai ki death k bad.’
    Ugh! Cant tell you how infuriating it all was.

  • That’s the reason why I avoid attending weddings. I am an engineer and they still bug me for choosing instrumentation over computer science or I.T! And they mock me for getting certifications in languages rather than java and what not.

  • I came across your blog through, what a stupidity.Your blog is pretty neat.We both are in same boat. So,I can empathize with you.When I visit India, I find myself in same situation.

  • I hate weddings *grunt*

  • aw c’mon! those idiotic questions are the only reason i actually attend weddings. when people ask me why i’m not married yet i tell them its because iman ali just isn’t willing to settle down yet.

    sometimes they believe i’m engaged to her. which does wonders for my impressiveness.

  • I miss my college/university/school days…it’s so easy to make friends when you’re a student and find hordes of people you have something in common with, without even being proactive about it! I hate post-student proactive friend-finding

    -Friendless in D.C.

  • BTW people can totally insult you on your career choices even if you have a big fat MBA degree. Case in point: me!

  • Three is the number im stuck at as well πŸ™‚ If only I can get off debt and get the coveted green card and I will be back in school.
    As for the weddings, haeyyy I miss them and those question…uff its been a while since anyone asked me…khadija shaadi kab kar rahi ho???

  • The sad part is the lack of money πŸ™ I hated being a poor graduate student, while my job-happy friends spent money like it was water. Being a “pseudo” intellectual (I say pseudo because I’m not sure any amount of education would truly make me an intellectual) of the group was pretty cool though. I also liked boasting about all-nighters the morning after.

    Cheap thrills.

  • Weddings are fun. I like shocking people with answers like, “Masters in Clinical Psychology”. Most of them go, “huh?” and then, of course, anticlimactic as it is… they ask me, “Daktar kioon nahee banee?”

  • I loved the last paragraph. πŸ™‚ I’m considering another masters too, woh alag baat hai k ek complete nai hua abhi πŸ˜€

  • loved the last paragraph : )

  • LOL! Tez – funny stuff!! nice break from the sublime of late…

    BTW you can be all that, the last paragraph, being a careerist as well – as along as your career is something that you truly enjoy/love doing – in this case you can be all that AND get paid!! I mean not THAT’s fun – wheeeeeee πŸ˜€


  • Oh, man… I so want to study again, but the only options I currntly have is doing it part time while working and I can’t even begin to think what will happen, so I put it off again, indefinitely πŸ™

  • To put up with auntys, uncles, chachas and chachis who come up with such annyoing and nosy questions, is invetiable. They think it is their birth right. The best way is to put across the message in a polite manner and not antagonise them, lest they comment on your upbringing and disrespect towards elders.

    As for being intelligent and studying, I guess the grass is always green on the other side. Why act intelligent or whatever, be yourself(intelligent or otherwise) and let not what the world has to think or say bother you!(I know that is easier said than done but the best way out)

  • To Ph.D or not to Ph.D, that is the question?

    Seriously, being a lifelong student is great as long as you’re getting paid to study and getting published.

  • U said it all in ur last para…i wish i could get some more masters degree….i think eventually i will get some

  • LOL My aunt asked me when I was doing a post grad if it would help me in rolling out rounder rotis …. I still dont have a great retort for that one

  • How did u find deepteshpoetry?Those photos have been taken by my dad.Thanks 4 visiting.I’d luv 2 have ur comments on my poems.

  • My personal experience is that this situation is worst when the whole wide world knows that you are trying to get in a medical school but instead end up in a business school…their facial expression along with the verbal abuse…Aggggrrrhhh

  • What would you choose if given another chance ? Three degrees or getting married with nice hubby and loving kids ?

  • to date i am explaining why i chose fashion designing over the doctor, engineer, architect field. i dont know how to explain it. at weddings it goes on and on about how their sons are so well settled and doing jharoo pochaa in the US and how one day they’ll come down and marry the girl their mom has picked.. or shopped for rather!
    i dont attend weddings anymore… i am too tired of the usual explaining. why this and why not that!!

  • Bonjour Tazeen,

    Splendid description of life at weddings. And strange to say, it is the same over here. People ask you questions with impunity and they relish it.

    By the way, in German we have the word “ewiger Student”, eternal student, and they are fighting against it.

    Cheers to you

  • “Quite a few people asked me about my academic qualifications”

    in pakistan? now that’s implausible!

    “Who cannot fall in love with such charmed existence?”

    perhaps your uncle.

  • its a pleasing life.. very attractive… and full of charm… sadly people back home do not understand it…

    however… there is always the usual inclination of being a student as a career choice… you see these people living well into 40s studying and doin research work with some university, getting a phd or what not… living on stipends grants and scholarships…

    all this … quite lovely….

    but once i entered my career as a R&D guy i found out it is even more fun and rewarding… still a student at heart and mind, i can earn more and learn more πŸ˜€ !!!

  • A very interesting read. Btw, I landed on your blog randomly and was pleasantly surprised that you got a comment from Mohammad Hanif. Actually, currently am reading his book, “A case of exploding mangoes”.

  • Now there’s a familiar story if i ever heard one.

    And *I* don’t even have a job yet so i just get to hear, hai, you do NOTHING? Not even MARRIED. Like whatever, duh.

  • Fatima,

    I feel you. Try getting into business school after being forced to sit for all the med school admission tests in the city and roundly failing each one of them. Dream shatterer! How could you!

  • 2 post grad degrees?!! Wow! πŸ™‚
    I have 1 post grad degree and have been toying with an idea to acquire an M Phil… but, with work pressure… I haven’t been able to set a concrete goal to work towards this…

    I admire you even more now! πŸ™‚

  • Georg,

    I am quite aware of the term ‘ewiger Student’ seven year long degrees in Germany. One of my best friends is a German academician.


    Don’t get impressed at all. I finished my first post grad at the age of 21 because my mom made me start school at the age of 2. I just had to do something else later on to feel more studenty…

    Who says i can’t have it all. But if i have to do over my life, I will probably make the same choices all over again …

    I am toying with the same these days …

  • hmmm so marrages peh asey sarey hue sawalat hotey hain,anyways if you dnt mind i have a question too for you πŸ˜›

    lols its simple are you good on the paper or off the paper ?

    i know its dumn but its a question


  • holy hell.

    I think someone implying that your social science degree is worthless and that you should have been a doctor/engineer is bearable.

    Someone, however, implying that you should have rather gone for a degree is something like Marketing/Finance should be flat out shot.

    If there are more unworthy, half-brained assholes earning such ridiculous amounts of cash in the world, I’d really like to know who they are.

  • Tazeen: Study finance & business economics!

  • Interesting post here – keep up the great work!

    Would you like to have a link exchange with our blog COMMON CENTS where we blog about the issues of the day??


  • “Who cannot fall in love with such charmed existence?”

    Hehe…… I, too intend to continue my studies after IIT finally decides it has had enough of me…

  • Hi Tazeen,

    I must say that you write brilliantly well. I loved your Imran Khan’s post and this one is quite good too.

    And am equally fed up of all the chachis and mammis and there countless queries.

  • Yay for you and all of your degrees! I love it!

  • The most irritating question to be asked at a marriage as a kid was: “beta, yaad hain mei kaun hoon?”.

    Then of course, the most irritating statement: “Ah, Shahina (mom) tumhara beta kithna bada ho gaya hain!”

    Sometimes I’m sure as hell I’m all grown up now.

  • hey tazeen, thanks for informing me about bloggers.pk.

    Atlast, I have joined it succcessfully. thanks again.

  • So this is what they are serving on torture buffet at weddings these days.

  • Asfandyar,

    I so hear ya brutuh

    Kimbroly and Beenish,

    Thanks a lot girls.


    Don’t even get me started on torture buffet … the menu may keep changing but the torture is persistent.

  • Well done miss!
    im impressed – two post grad degrees!

    i must tell the parents, who are utterly and totally miffed when I tell them I want to do my Ph.D when I finish with my masters in literature.

    tell munno to stuff his degrees where the sun doesnt shine

    who needs marriage πŸ™‚
    we have ourselves, our families, our careers , our friends…
    and a whole world of activity to explore, a whole new school of people to meet..

    aur kya chahiye?

  • hades… oh my god i get that all the time…

    and i proudly say… no i do not… who the hell are u !!! lol

  • If it makes you feel any better, I’ve got a whole bunch of degrees…a BA, two MS, a PhD…and make less money than just about anyone I know…and I’m almost 43 and never married, not even in a relationship….

  • Yeah weddings are dangerous grounds for singles and students πŸ™‚

    One should be prepared with all defences one can muster. If one has a gift of changing the topic of conversation, that will be very helpful. Pretending to oversee the workers or do the chores also helps.

    However, if all luck fails, and one is caught unawares by the inevitable questions “when marriage, when job”.. one can always reply “yeah I got too many job offers, difficult to pick. I got too many proposals.. difficult to pick and choose” πŸ™‚

  • Haha! Dear, its not just weddings. It is what we call the sub-continent. People are way too interested in everybody’s lives but their own. It is sooooo damn irritating. I’ve been a recent victim too, and I reacted – badly – unlike you!

  • Hey,

    Loved this post. Try telling aunties that you’re a philosophy major. Their nostrils tend to flare, or else they love you because they’re the one eccentric genius in your family – besides you that is. Anyway keep up the good work,


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