I have travelled places; not for the sake of my wanderlust but for better educational opportunities. Half a decade back I moved to another city because I got married there. Leave alone travelling abroad, I have seen only two cities of Pakistan. Being in my early thirties, with kids and a house to manage every day I don’t think I have much time left for travelling.
“Not all classrooms have four walls” holds true about travelling as this is when one can peep into one’s soul. It’s like shedding the fragments of sadness and guilt of undone home works, unfulfilled desires and expectations on the way and bringing back piles of rejuvenating memories. These memories we create scent the remaining years of our lives.
I had been very unfortunate in this matter as all the educational institutes I attended made sure that the trips delivered the kids the same day and that too before dawn. Now who would like travelling under sun and then be back before dawn? My first trip in school was to Jallo Park Lahore, The dirtiest picnic spot of Lahore; the second trip in college took us to Sozo World for Gladiator movie.
Thanks to the moral policing of Jamiat in Punjab University we ended up going to Mangla Dam. Rounds and rounds of negotiations finally convinced our then Dean to allow a trip to Murree on one condition. The condition was that intermingling of sexes should not bear any fruit which could bring shame to his department. So it was made sure that student stayed under the close scrutiny of teachers in the bus and in Murree which was accepted.
I was ecsastic for there was no night stay in any hotel so my family would not have any problem. Still I made sure not to ask for permission but inform them to make it sound casual. They however dissected each and every detail and passed a verdict.
“No need to go out of city and spend the whole night in a bus. Log kia kahaingay? This kind of trips you can make when you get married” like there was someone standing at my door waiting for me so he could take me to Murree.
Who doesn’t want a night out with friends? I was not asking for drinking, smoking or hanging out in bars. All I was going to do was some gossip, laugh crazily and munch on moong phalli.
The most we talked about boys was in hushed tones about the most pathetic ones just to irritate our friends like “hira tere wala aa gia hai. Utha jaga day” or “amna wo tujay dekh raha hai” or yar iska iskay sath chakkar hai. This used to be our most immoral talk.
Coming to the point after I was told “shadi k baad chali jana” I started making a list of where I wanted to go (Of course some northern areas in Pakistan).
On a lighter note my fiancé even asked me if I have a thing with heights or motion sickness and this even made me add a few more places to my list.
But guess what happened after I got married we were not even issued a visa for Islamabad, leave alone hilly areas. The reason was “halaat kharab hain” and this was way back in 2011 when America, Afghansitan, India and Israel were bombarding our capital with all kind of ammunitions.
I was thankful to my susar for saving our ass from all the political and military tussles going on in the capital. However it still hurts me to this day when I think about that time.
I wanted hiking in the mountains and for that purpose I had even bought shoes and accessories that I later gave away to save myself from further embarrassments.
I don’t know if I will travel or not but “halaat kharab hain” still hurts me and will keeping doing so for a long time. With kids I can’t imagine doing any of these things now. I was denied something that in no way was hurting or affecting anyone.
Sometimes elders just want to be authoritative so that they can feel powerful. They exert this authority from time to time to make sure their kids are still faithful to them.
I haven’t travelled and that will be a regret all my life. People say I still have a chance but who would want to travel in old age with aching knees?
Lastly we girls always think about gaining freedom after Shadi but trust me for us it’s just like changing hands; from one policeman to another. The ones after marriage in most cases will not even justify their actions. I however will not rule out the possibility of finding some really great husbands and in-laws. Good things do happen, just not that often. So enjoy life, unmarried one.