KARACHI: There is perhaps nothing scarier than dating in Pakistan: it’s difficult to meet people in the first place, then you have to worry about ‘log kya kahien ge’, you have to limit the PDA to your cars and you’re constantly made to feel like you’re committing a crime (which you’re not).
It’s even worse when you live with a strict mom because then, dating requires a LOT of sneaking around, and it doesn’t matter how old you are because strict parents will always have a problem with you dating. But I’d like to share a story with you, of the time I snuck off to a whole different city with my boyfriend … and got caught.
I grew up in a strict household and couldn’t even do sleepovers at my best friend’s house at the age of 23, and to be honest, I never debated this rule. It wasn’t worth the trouble, my mom would get really angry if I tried to convince her otherwise and I was a pretty obedient kid so I just didn’t argue.
Then I started dating this guy who had a far more adventurous life. He traveled all the time, was friends with celebrities and other famous people, was invited to lots of parties, and the rebellious child in me wanted to be a part of all that excitement. Dating him wasn’t easy at all; for someone with a curfew of 12 am, it was really difficult attending dinners and parties that wouldn’t start before 11 pm. I’d be dashing out of everything at the stroke of midnight and would experience a lot of FOMO at having to miss all the fun.
But something was better than nothing so on it went for a few months till one day, my boyfriend (let’s just call him P) asked me to marry him and I realised that things had become quite serious with him. It wasn’t just about the exciting, rebellious stuff anymore – we wanted to start planning our futures together. That’s when he suggested we take a trip because if you’re able to endure a trip together, it means you’re compatible enough to want to live with each other every day for the rest of your life.
We decided to take a quick five-day trip to Bhurban. I could barely contain my excitement but the idea of telling my mom was gnawing at me. What the hell was I going to tell her?
I came up with a simple explanation: I was going to Islamabad for a work trip. It was an easy lie to concoct, simply because it was a believable one. I would be back in five days; my mom said she would want to drop me to the airport herself and there was no way of her finding out that my office had no plans of sending me anywhere. Easy peasy, right?
Well, the trip went smoothly. I said yes to the pending proposal from my boyfriend in the mountains of Bhurban, where it was snowing when we reached. We met our friends, went on hikes, ate a lot and came back excited about what the future held for us.
I truly believed I had gotten away with it but that’s just not how the story ends when you have a strict mom in it. A few days after I came back, I was out with my friends when I got an angry call from my mom demanding I reached home right away. At home, I was first cross-questioned about my trip and eventually my mom told me that she knew I was lying. Instead of being grounded, I was asked to pack my bags and move out.
Here’s how good a detective she is: She visited my office when I wasn’t there and asked my boss straight up if I was sent on a “business trip”. I thought I would be fired subsequently but my boss found the whole situation hilarious and talked about it with me over a cup of tea.
As for that boyfriend, my mom grew to like him and we got married a year later. All is well that ends well.
The author of this post has chosen to remain anonymous
This story is part of a series, Young Love, which is updated weekly. Read the previous entry here