The time has come.
That time for which we have been waiting for all our lives, the time when we will make “the decision”. The decision that will make or break us. The decision that will dictate our lives. The decision that will show people what we are made of.
The decision of choosing a university, picking our career path, and starting our practical lives.
In Pakistan, the Neanderthal society that it is, the decision is usually made by our parents. The choices are simple, a doctor for girls or an engineer for boys. The boys who dare, opt for medical, and the girls who are “rebels” and “tomboys” go for engineering.
Over the past decade, ideas have changed just a little. Possible acceptable study choices now include business studies, bachelors in some science like physics, dentistry and architecture. Oh joy!
But here’s the deal, I wanted to be a journalist, an investigative journalist at that. But my sweet mother went bonkers saying that it is a dangerous field, I could get kidnapped or killed. So I rolled my eyes at her and sensibly kept quiet.
Then, I figured out that I want to become a lawyer, a criminal lawyer. I love to argue, and I usually win my arguments. I can write a nasty email to shush people 3 times my age, so why not be a lawyer? But my sweet father said that is a dangerous career for women in our country, but this time, I did not sensibly keep quiet. I went all rebel on my sweet and loving family. My older sisters said that it is not a rewarding career in our country. My older brother said a spoilt brat like me could never become a lawyer, my father, who has a law degree himself, pointed out that I should leave this difficult path and do something easy. And them my sweetest mother dropped the bomb: “Just do something easy, we are going to marry you off by 22 anyway”. And that was when I totally and completely lost it.
I threw a tantrum. I told them they cannot MAKE me marry. I quoted examples of other arranged marriages gone wrong, which is the majority of marriages in Pakistan. I told them I would study at a university in another city, and that I will choose a dangerous career because I am a dangerous woman. And reward for me is not necessarily money, but fame,success and power too. I could never be content to sit in a stuffy corporate office tapping away at my keyboard and kissing my boss’s undeserving backside.
Thankfully, this episode helped me make up my mind. I will study Communication Studies/Journalism at a prestigious university in my city. I WILL become a journalist, I WILL make my sweet family eat their words. And I will marry when I want marry to someone I love.
So here I am, a dangerous woman on a dangerous agenda, about to break the barriers in a rigid society. Wish me luck.