1. Attending it. No matter what you say, if your parents want you to go, you’ll go. Yes, even if you bribe them with the promise of doing that one thing that they have been begging you to do for years now. No, there’s no way out of it.
2. Dressing up. Dressing too casually will freak your parents out and dressing too heavily might have you mistaken for Meera. And even using that as an argument doesn’t get you out of it.
3. The weird aunties. Some auntie will eye you from a hundred tables away despite your efforts to hide yourself. Even if you’re wearing a bored-to-death look that’ll make Kristen Stewart look hyperactive, said auntie will approach you and take in every detail of your time on earth from you, before moving on to verify your bona fides from the hosts and the people passing by — yes, even them.
4. Having your mother approached. The same auntie will want to meet your mother. Urgently. Yes, she has an unmarried idiot of a son she needs to rid herself of.
5. The gawking. Every fat, middle-aged, mustachioed, beady-eyed man will gawk at you till you wish you could drop dead. So what if his wife is sitting right beside him?
6. Being unable to dance. Despite badly wanting to dance, you can’t because these people are complete strangers. So you sit there and watch all these bimbos dancing to the latest Indian tunes, in the latest Indian styles, in almost the latest Indian clothes. Hey! We’re Muslims, there ARE limits.
7. Arguing with the parents. You whine, sigh, groan, grunt, snort, until you catch your parents’ attention. You explain how you detest every second of being there, and they tell you it’s just a matter of another hour. Then you have a staring contest. Your parents win.
8. The forced courtesy. People mistake you as someone else and tell you all about what’s been up with them recently before allowing you to tell them you’re someone else.
9. Not being able to eat. By the time dinner is served you offer a little prayer of thanks, only to find that auntie has found her way back to you. You leave the food and run. She’ll run after you. Mind you osteoporosis doesn’t have an incidence rate of a 100 per cent. Auntie will manage to corner you and have you meet her son.
10. You know the son. Need I say more?
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, August 28th, 2011.