Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Social Media

What comes to mind when you see the words "Social Media"? Facebook? Twitter? These are a couple, of many, social networking sites that today's generation hold a huge interest in and use on a regular, if not, daily basis.

You're probably wondering why I'm even writing a post about social media, everybody knows what it is and how it works. Well, that's the root cause of the problem we're facing today. Many social media sites are slowly taking over our lives and that ISN'T right. Many people are unaware of the cons of such platforms and the negative impact being made on us on a whole which worries me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against the use of social media as it can be very beneficial if used in the correct way. However, the extensive use of such platforms has more of a negative impact than positive which has started to affect us. Recent studies have shown that 70% of children in 1990 spent their free time by playing outside. That percentage has dropped by a staggering 50% in just over a decade. Doesn't that statistic speak for itself? 

The problem is that we as a generation rely on social media for nearly everything. From learning how to do things, to trying to earn a living. Which isn't bad, but it isn't beneficial either as vital lifetime skills are being lost. Lets take communication skills as an example. Just over half a century ago, all socialising was done face to face, which meant that people actually had to go out, make an effort, make eye contact with others and see the outside world while they were at it as they had to leave their homes. Whereas now, people can sit at home and talk to people just by the slight movement of their fingers over a keyboard. Now, is that healthy? Is sitting in front of a computer screen for endless hours everyday actually healthy? Where's the fresh air at? WE'RE MISSING OUT! Day by day we are becoming more and more dependant on such platforms which is affecting such skills of ours.
Why am I highlighting these problems, you ask? Well, it's because these issues are problematic. We're becoming duller, lazier, obese and antisocial as a nation. It's time we got up and changed ourselves. I'm not telling you to totally cut out the use of these platforms, however, it's time you stepped out the house without your phones for once which I believe will lead to a much healthier lifestyle.

I am fully aware of the fact that I, being a big social media addict myself, would never be able to do that but there's no harm in trying... and who knows, maybe, just maybe, I'll find myself a new hobby and I'll stop spending 3/4 of my day on the internet. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Pakistani Weddings

In the 16 years of my existence, I have probably attended about 6 actual weddings, all of which happened to be in Pakistan. For those of you who don't know, the quintessential Pakistani wedding consists of 5 functions, which are:

This, in some cases, is when the bride-and-groom to be sit beside each other for the very first time. They quickly make eye contact while sly aunty jee's are distracted by a bit of ankle a girl is flashing, they touch hands to place rings on each other's fingers and that's as far as it goes for that matter.

The name of this function derives from the percussion instrument called a "Dholak" which looks like this: 

It is usually a small family gathering which tends to be at the brides house about 2 weeks or the night before the big day. This is when all the females get turnt up while the males discuss politics in the other room. The aunty's wildly beat the "dholak" in a repetitive manner whilst belting out oldschool wedding songs at the top of their lungs like there is no tomorrow, children run wild and for people like us, well, we just sit there and watch. Like lemons, unsure on what to do and how to contribute.

This is a strictly-girls-only function but you'll obviously see the odd one or two boys who love the presence of girls lurking in the corners of the room, hiding their faces out of embarrassment. It's when girls of either side are invited into a small ceremony where the bride-to-be sits infront of everyone and girls take turn to wipe ubtan or haldi on the brides makeup-free arms and cheeks, this is done before the wedding and is done in order to try and freshen up her skin before the big day.

This is the only religious aspect of the wedding and is when the groom and bride sign a contract of agreement. This consists of 3 "kabul hai's" (Agreed) from either person which religiously validates the marriage. After this, the bride is free to go home. However, for Pakistani's, a wedding is incomplete without the Baraat which is basically partying on the way to the grooms house (to drop the bride off there).

Traditionally, this is when everyone loses their sharam (shame). It's when the aunties, uncles, cousins, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers (basically everyone) dance their way to the grooms house to drop the bride off there. By dance there, I don't literally mean it. I mean, they dance at the venue, then they all get into their cars and perhaps dance in the car, then they get to the grooms house and bust some more moves to the tunes of the dhol walay, who if you ask me, I think are pretty awesome. Their music makes EVERYONE want to dance, even if you're 5 or 82. (sorry for quoting Hannah Montanna).

Traditionally, this is when the grooms side funds a banquet for family and friends on both their side and the brides side. This is the last function of the wedding, probably the most expensive too. The bride and groom are displayed on the stage whilst everyone else sits at their tables and stuff their faces, all while passing witty comments on the bride's "fat this" or "skinny that." and once they finish with the food, after licking the remnants off their fingers (and the plate) they'll walk their way over to get some more whilst passing even comments about the food. After the food cycle repeats a few times, everyone is free to go home.

After all of this, the bride and groom are FINALLY free to go home and start a happy life together...