When I was in tenth grade, the Vee Incident occurred. I have a habit of naming objects, events, people, etc. in my life. A fight with a friend becomes The Great Silence. A major issue with mom becomes The Incident. And so on. So The Vee Incident is pretty interesting because it’s a perspective on the way I used to be.

In tenth grade, as I mentioned, the principal decided to do away with dupattas, and bring in vees. No oen would protest in a girls-only school, you’d think. But we had peons, and every teacher refused to let us go to the computer lab if only the male teacher, renowned for being touchy-feely was there, so some of us, including me, were mildly miffed. I particularly remember one friend, who shared my point of view, was pleased because she wore the gown of the English secretary, which covered up quite nicely.

Me on the other hand? Well. I was always fat, and always very conscious of my body. Its how I was raised after all, to cover my sattar and the like. It wasn’t fundoo-pana at all, but just a moderately conservative upbringing. Be that as it may, I was outraged and refused to wear the vee. One day during assembly, the prefect forced me to fold my dupatta in a vee, and I remember that the pedophilic computer teacher was standing before me, I remember burning with shame and fired up with anger at the smug look on the prefect’s place; one of the girls I shared a mutual dislike with, because as I’d put it in later rants, “at least no one can tell the exact design and colour of my bra through my clothes without even squinting.” I remember folding my arms around my chest, pulling my sweater tighter, and staying in class all day out of misery. I remember going home and sobbing to my mother about it, about how embarrassing and horrible it was.

I wrote a strongly-worded letter to the principal the next day, and though that did not exempt me from the rule, for whatever reasons, I still got away with wearing my dupatta. The prefect was told off by the congenial head-girl in my presence, “No, why are you pulling Ghausia out of line, she gave her letter, she can wear the dupatta.”

I found out something about that years later. My best friend at the time told me that at the time, everyone was saying, “Why is Ghausia making such a huge fuss? Its not like she’s so shareef after all.”

Your ears perk up. If you’re a lurking troll or hater, you rub your hands in glee. You sharpen your fangs. Finally, some dirt on me! You think. Think again. Until I got to uni, I was only friends with two guys. Hell, in school, it was just the one. (Let me add that I’m not saying its a bad thing to have guy friends, that was how I, and most girls, thought back in my school days, and being friends with boys was grounds for being shame-shame) As mentioned before, I was strict about my dupatta. I did not make friends with girls who wore jeans and tshirts and who danced at weddings. I didn’t even look at girls who went out with boys on friendly trips. I say this unashamedly, because I’m no longer that person, and there’s no shame in being honest.

So, why wasn’t Ghausia back then shareef? Because, Ghausia didn’t read Danielle Steele to understand ‘dirty things.’ She looked up R-rated fanfiction and read erotica. And by tenth grade, she’d tried her hand at writing it too. Hardly that shame-shame huh? Not to me at least. Because they have whispered about what I read, but they came to me with their questions anyway. They may have sneered at me, but I wasn’t the one carrying out an affair with the peon, or whose 22-year-old artist boyfriend  picked her up from school and (as rumor has it) made out with in front of everyone, I wasn’t the one chatting with boys on Pakistani chat forums at 2 in the night. Hell, considering the shit kids these days get up to at that age, I’m glad all I did was read and write.

Anyway, the point is, apparently I had no right to speak up for my right to wear what I want because according to them, I wasn’t shareef.

But who the fuck are they to decide that? They of the see-through shirts, the tight tops, the too-high capris, the deep backs and necks? Mind you, I’m not being judgmental here, but pointing out a simple fact. If I wasn’t shareef for knowing that it was called a penis, not a pigeon, on what grounds were they judging me when they themselves apparently, by their definitions, weren’t shareef either?

Why do I rant out about this? You wonder. Because. No one had the right to tell me I couldn’t wear my dupatta if I wanted to, school rules or not. No one has the right to make me wear my dupatta now. Do I still wear it? Yes. But not out of a desire to. I believe that I’m only responsible for my sins, and if the book tells you to cover up, it tells men to lower their goddamned gaze too. No, I  wear it out of respect for my environment, and my family. It is my choice, whether I wear it or not. I could stop wearing it. No one would say anything. But I know it pleases my dad, so I do. Plain and simple. Of course you can spout some bs about how it isn’t a choice and how sub-consciously out of a desire to please my patriarchal fascist family and my oppressive tyrannical dad, I wear it, thus it isn’t a choice. Stfu okay? If I’m saying it’s my choice and I can quit wearing it if I want without any consequences, then you bloody well believe it, or quit reading my blog if you want to be skeptical. See, you have a choice there too.

This has been a subtle way of discussing the burqa debate. I have been up since 06:15am. I’m going to go have dinner now. Please to not be leaving unpleasant or rant-ish comments. I find them distressing.

  1. Well you have successfully lured me into reading this by warning me not to read it. I like your rants 🙂

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