Tuesday, 29 November 2011


I got a text from my friend today. She was asking if I was interested at all in him.
He wants to meet again.

I feel really bad for not giving him another chance.  Partly because I see myself as someone who's fighting for the underdog, and on principle, I do believe in second chances. 

But no amount of rationalising can make me want to give him another chance.

And he's not marriage material - atleast not for me. He's insecure, unmotivated and lacking self-confidence.  He could really benefit from some social skills training, actually. And the more I think about it, the more inclined I am to believe that he's likely suffering from acute depression or a related mood disorder.

I'm not saying this to dismiss him.  Just as someone who's trained to work in the mental health field. When we do intakes and consultation interviews, there's a number of symptoms and signs that are immediate red flags; it usually means that a psychiatrist referral is the next step.

Now, I obviously didn't conduct a mental health interview when I met him.  But there's certain things that do stand out: his flat affect, lack of social supports, perspective of life as "boring", inability to envision a future...etc. And if we did end up together, I'd constantly feel like I needed to take care of him.

I don't want to feel like I need to take care of my husband.
I want to feel like I want to take care of my husband.

And I know what I need in a husband.  Someone with a zeal and excitement for life. Someone who's driven, responsible and is comfortable taking initiative. Someone who is comfortable wearing the 'pants' in the relationship and being the Amir of the family - because I certainly don't want that role.

There are far too many marriages that I know of where the Amir in the family is in fact the Amirah. Now, I'm not opposed to strong women in leadership roles, in fact by most standards I do consider myself a feminist. But, personally, in the home setting, I know that it's not for me.

So, sorry, Zayd. InshAllah, you meet someone who is a more suitable match for you. And I pray that you're able to overcome whatever difficulties and challenges you may be struggling with.

Monday, 28 November 2011

“The Blind Date”

Well, it was awkward to say the least. 
I walked in, ordered a large peppermint tea and chose a small table in the centre of the cafe. As I waited, I noticed a guy in an orange parka behind me. I assumed he was a student by the way he was dressed: t-shirt, toque and a big, wooly scarf. After all, working in a government office requires some level of formality, right?
Apparently not. That was him.
We were supposed to have met up at 5.30.  But he didn’t approach me until 6.00 even though I was the only hijabi in this small cafe.  Actually, I was the only brown girl in the place.
And here’s the punch line:  why didn’t he approach me?  Because he wasn’t sure if it was me!  Ha ha ha...as if!   S
So he was sitting there texting his cousin, asking her what I would be wearing and seeking her advice on what to do next. And yes, he disclosed all this, after the introductions had been made.   I remember thinking that this was odd, and perhaps showed a lack of confidence.  But I gave him the benefit of the doubt, afterall, maybe he was just super nervous. 
"No worries, of course it's awkward," I said, as I gave him a reassuring smile.
"Yeah, it is."
We talked about the weather, family and our childhoods.
I asked about his life goals.  He rambled on for quite a bit about he wanted to pursue a Master’s or PhD, but hasn’t got the time for it right now, and it would have to be an online programme, and that it’s really difficult and it's really too much work.  Almost as if he was trying to justify his lack of action in this regard.  To me?  Or to himself? Anyways, we talked about my programme and career ambitions, and I asked him where he saw himself in 10-15 years. He just shrugged, and noted that he hated his current job and at best, it was "okay". 
It's one of those things I always ask about:  dreams and ambitions, or as some people call them "Life Goals".  I think they say a lot about a person and give both parties an idea of whether a future together is feasible.  But everytime I asked him something related to this, Zayd simply avoided the topic. And this is definetly a red flag for me.  I know that he has some dreams (like the Master's and PhD), but the ambition, the focus and the self-confidence are truly lacking.
I don’t think I could deal with someone like that.   I’m passionate about my dreams and I work hard to get to where I want to be. In fact, so are the majority of the people I know.  I mean, you can’t just let life pass you by like that...passively living.  Which is  exactly what he seems to be doing.  He’s not sure what he wants out of life, switching jobs every so often because “it gets boring” and not really having goals for anything else.   It's almost as if he's already hit his mid-life crisis.
Some of his questions were a bit strange, to tell you the truth. He asked about how many prospects I had seen and how long I had been searching. He asked about what the other guys had asked and how long our conversations had been.  He made a comment about how odd it was that I wasn’t married yet, because you know, "in our community, everyone get married young, especially the girls". Now that I'm writing this up, it almost seems like I was being interviewed for a documentary on "The Marriage Quest: A Muslimah's Journey".  And although my friends and siblings were offended that he had asked such intrusive questions ("You should've told him off!" and "I would've left right then and there!"), I was just very intrigued.  I'm a Type Four, with a heavy Type Five wing, so I know that it's just the curious observer part of my personality that was being entertained then.
At one point during the conversation, I laughed at something and he defensively asked, “What’s so funny?” as if I had been laughing at him. 
Fifteen minutes into the conversation he remarked that his train was coming and that we had another fifteen minutes to talk, “not that I’m rushing you or anything”.  
Okay, cool.  I already knew by this point that the chemistry was seriously lacking.  [BTW, how much value do you guys place on this? I know some people who believe that chemistry only develops after the nikah, whereas others believe that it's this spark right from the first meeting.]
There’s this one question that I ask myself when I’m considering a new prospect. It’s something that usually makes things very clear cut for me, and gives me direction, wherever that road may take me.
Is this someone that I can respect and look up to as a role model?”
Zayd, he’s not.
And if he’s not, then that means that he’s definitely not The One.
Nonetheless, I'm still glad I had the opportuinity to meet him.  Because with every new prospect and rishta experience,  I learn more about myself and who I really am.  And I've come walking out of this one, with fresh new insights.
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Breaking Point

I kinda lost it today.  Just a little.
Or a lot.

I can't recall the last time I've been this way.

Spewing out all my thoughts in angry, frustrated tears. In typical drama-TV style telling my siblings that "I didn't need this right now" and explaining how much of a burden it is to be in this situation when your own family members seem to be blaming you for not being married already. And what it's like to have to always be the strong, supportive, optimistic one.

But that's what being in a family is all about.  Being strong and optimistic when the others might not be. Maddie reminded me of that.  May Allah bless her immensely because she truly is such an incredible blessing in my life.

It's evident that the family dynamics have shifted now. Things are different now. My role is changing and the way I see this whole process has definitely changed.

Before, we were making decisions as collective unit, even the ones about prospects.  I was flexible, and could be easily swayed by their arguments and opinions.  I just kinda went with the flow.

Now, I see myself as an adult.  An adult who's making this major decision with their consultation.  They've made the transition easier for me.

Saying things like, "You're time's running out" and implying that I can't afford to be "picky" because I'm turning 25 have really nurtured the rebellious, independent spirit within me.  The big 25...might as well be the big 40, cause apparently after this blip in the hill, it's all diminishing marginal utility from there. With every year added, my "worth" in terms of marriage material decreases.

What bollocks.

As if there's an expiry date on us.  "Best Before Age 25"

lol. That's actually making me laugh a little.  Perhaps a good t-shirt slogan idea?  :P

I actually wrote about this way, way back in time. Oh yeah, back on November 26, 2007.  SubhanAllah, how strange.

"To everyone else, it comes as a surprise that I'm not married and I guess it's just going to become common as time progresses. I don't get it. I'm only twenty and I look far younger than I am. Most people pin my age at 17.

But what is the hurry? For goodness sake, live and let live.

Brown people have this tendency to think of my parent's situtation as something of a headache. My, my, a string of single children all in their late teens and 20s.
Do they ever consider that if this is to be classified as a headache, then the obligation of a parent to teach good manners, to provide a good education, to nurture their child into a good person..etc, should be classified as a heart attack?

Marriage is but a very small part of this and yet as soon as you hit high-school graduation, that's all people think about. And then they wonder why the next generation of girls are so unmotivated. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that when they hear their role models being criticized as doing something against society's norms, that suddenly what these so-called role model are doing with their lives isn't so good.

Who was it that came up with this idea of an expiration date anyways? As if we're all just cartons of milk...waiting and waiting. But so long as all the other people my age aren't jumping on the marriage wagon yet, I'm safe. But the line-up is starting. My cousin's wife is a month younger than me. My childhood best friend is a mother of a one-year-old. And as the list grows longer, that saftey net around me will slowly begin to give way. Thank God for education-it's allowing me to buy time, not for long, but at this point I'll take what's given to me. And run."

It's funny re-reading that now.   I mean, I'm definitely not running from the idea of marriage anymore, if anything I'm kinda running towards it. But my feelings about the "wagon" haven't really changed all that much.

I mean, who created all these cultural norms anyways? And who decided that we must all conform to whatever everyone else is doing? Imagine a place where we truly understood the value of individuality...man, that would be a nice place to be.

But in the end, the one thing that puts *everything* in perspective is what's really missing.  And that's the idea that in the end, no matter how much you pressure me or will for things to happen faster, they're not going to happen according to your timeline.

Kun, fa ya kun.

It's in His power. That's it.


Coming next: Update on the "Wednesday's Blind Date"

Sunday, 20 November 2011


..is when this thing happens. In my mind, technically, it really is a blind date.

My sister squirmed a bit when I said that to her this afternoon.  After all, Muslims don't date.

But really what else is this?

Meeting a prospect at a coffee shop downtown.  We've never been formally or informally introduced to each other.  He has no clue what I look like, and I have absolutely no idea what he looks like.

All I know is that I'll be on the lookout for a brown guy in his late 20s.  Or maybe I'll just be lazy and let him approach me; it would be much easier spotting a hijabi downtown, right?

In any case, it definitely sounds like a blind date to me.

But saying that to myself, is actually making me feel very uneasy. Because there's so much I feel I don't know.

And I hate not knowing.  Usually, I have some information.  This time, it feels like nothing.

I know his name.
I know what he does for a living.
I know about his education.
I know what town he lives in.
I know that our grandfathers were close friends many, many years ago in India.
And I know that our parents know each other.

That's the extent of it. C'est tout.

And it unnerves me just as much that Google can't even give me any information on this dude!  Not a single hit shows up when I search his name. Not even one.

O Google, you have failed me.

And if he's anything like I am, he's likely google-searched me as well.  And let's just say that there's A LOT that google can tell you about me.  In fact, the first two pages are spot-on.  Google will tell you which specific community organisations I'm involved with, and in what capacity.  It'll tell you about which high school and universities I graduated from.  It'll tell you what my professional qualifications are.  And it'll tell you what campus groups I belonged to back in my student days.


All of the sudden, I'm really dreading Wednesday.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


There's a new prospect.

It's always been (much) older Aunties and Uncles who've done the introductions in the past.

But this time, we're being introduced through one of my friends.


I seem to think so.

I think my parents do as well.  They seem very intrigued by this idea that friends are "hooking" each other up.

And it's quite a communication chain; almost feels like that game we used to play as kids; "broken telephone", where a message gets passed from one person to the next.

Parents communicate with me.
I communicate with my friend via text.
She communicates with her friend via text.
Her friend communicates with her aunt (probably not via text!)
Aunt communicates with her son.

This is unknown territory.  Of course it feels weird.

But here's what I'm really wondering about:

Our first meeting isn't going to be a typical rishta meeting where his family comes over and we talk.

No, he's requested that just the two of us meet first.  In a public place of course.

"Because he doesn't want it to be uncomfortable for either of us."

and then if we decide to go forward with this, then the formal rishta type meeting with the parents.

Is that weird?

I'm not really sure how I feel about this at the moment.

I mean I just got kind of used to having people come over and doing things the traditional way.

And sure, this is arrangement is a lot less nerve-wracking than having to meet the entire family, but it's still nerve-wracking.

All the more so because I've never done it before!

oh zut alors.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

...And the Master Plan Prevails






Can I even describe this feeling?  Should I even attempt to encapsulate it in words that are so meager that they cannot even begin to do justice to this very concept?


To understand the meaning,
the core,
the essence
of  TawakulAllah

You have to have been tried and tested.

Tried and Tested...

and to still be True to Allah,
to your faith
and to yourself.


Right now, in addition to searching for a spouse, I'm also on the job hunt.

But this post is about the prospect.  Things didn't work out with the latest prospect, let's call him Qasim for future reference.  After stalling for nearly 2.5 months, he finally did his istikhara.  Negative.


Yesterday, I was annoyed at the fact that when things in my life don't work out,
-when our scheming and planning- don't work out,

I seem to attract my personal little pity party.

Oh man, that's so sad.  
I feel really bad for you.
Let's get you busy with x,y,z, so that it'll take your mind off of all this.

And bitterness, resentment and anger.

I can't believe they would do that!
What [insert rude insults] they are!
Why does this keep happening to you?

And I understand why - they are after all, very natural human emotions and reactions.

They are very natural human emotions and reactions.


That's what they are.

Not responses, but reactions.

And in these moments, I felt annoyed that during these times, I had to console family and friends.

It's alright, it'll be okay.
Don't worry, just trust Allah. 
Don't worry about me, I'm actually really okay.  
We don't know when the best time is, or what the best thing is for us, right?

I felt annoyed because it just seems so ironic - I'm the subject of the scenario, and yet, I'm the one consoling others.


I honestly feel that when things don't work out, people get more upset and sad over these things than I do.

Often times, I'm not even sad or upset.

Maybe it's natural to feel that way, and that's what they expect of me.

Not just this time, but almost every single time,
I thought I would be heartbroken.
I thought I would be sad, even just a little.
I thought maybe I'd even be frustrated.

And perhaps that's what they expected of me as well.


At these times, I dread having to run into people I've shared this news with.
I dread having to have a conversation about it.

With my immediate family.
And with my best friends- the only ones outside my immediate family that I would ever even fathom sharing this kind of news with.

and I start wishing that I hadn't told anybody at all.
I feel so conflicted and regretful,

And here it comes again....Oh Goodness, I really am such a people pleaser. It's always about thinking about their curiosity, their need and right  to know what's going on in my life, their need to express sympathy, empathy or whatever.

Before I share something like this, do I ever ask myself why I am doing so?
Do I ever question my own motives and desires?
Am I doing it because...
I'm expected to?
Because I feel they should know?
or because I genuinely want to tell them so that it benefits me?

And you know what, I know that my loved ones - every single one of them,
are the type to understand if I say I don't want to talk about it.

And not the type to feel insulted or angry that I didn't share 'news' with them from the very beginning.

But there's still that internal struggle.
on the one hand, if it had worked out, I would feel guilty that I hadn't told them sooner.  And what kind of a best friend doesn't  share this kind of stuff?

But on the other hand, when things don't work out,
I don't want to talk about it because of their reactions.
Because I'm expected to vent,
and to have what are natural human reactions - sadness, resentment, anger....


But ask my heart,
my mind,
and my being

of what's really happening for me...

and it is truly incredible.

It is truly one of Allah's miracles,
and a sign that He is my Guardian Lord.

SubhanAllah, I really cannot begin to describe this.

It's more than a feeling.
It's more than a way of being.
It's more than an idea or a concept.
It's just more.

 every other joy,
every other collective and amalgamated form of


It is better than anything, and everything.

It is
TawakulAllah in it's purest and most genuine form.

I feel enveloped in warmth, and mercy and a multitude of blessings.
Enveloped in this wonderful, warm blanket.


I was consoling yet another loved one today that Allah has my best interests at heart and that my job is to simply hope and expect the best from Him.

To hope and expect the best from Him,
and to be rewarded for doing that,
because even that is a form of ibaadah. 

"You're so wise", she said at the end of our conversation.

And it was at that moment, that I began to recognize that I shouldn't be annoyed with having to console others when things in my life don't work out.


Because Allah gifted me with this beautiful Tawakul,

and maybe,

                just maybe,

I'm meant to share it with the people that I love.

The Start

So there's something on my mind, folks.

It's an idea that's definetly pushing me out of my comfort zone, and yet I keep drifting back to it.  C'est quoi ca?

It's this idea of sharing my experiences and thoughts on the marriage quest with the world wide web.

Ludicrous? Maybe.

But there's already a whole bunch of people who are doing it or have done it in the past.

All anonymous writers who ensure the confidentiality of others as well.

Like SoulSeek at http://islamicsouls.blogspot.com/ who's been blogging about his experiences since 2009.

Or hijabi.salioress at http://hijabisailoress.blogspot.com/ ,

These are probably my top picks in terms of Quest Blogs, just because they're all so well-written and insightful, mashAllah.

And while I can't imagine producing work that's up to par with theirs, I do feel this odd inclination to start a new blog.

Because this journey certainly has taught me A LOT, and I feel like some of this knowledge would be beneficial to others.

Because I have posts going back to 2007 on this...on my private blog of course.

And I'm not sure why else...

Maybe it's been on my mind because this coming January will mark 5 years?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

Anyways, here it goes.