Minds click. Ideas converge. Thoughts unite. There is something common in all women. I realise this every time I read a blog or column authored by a woman. Perhaps it is the negativity of this society that brings us together. Believe me when I say that I can very well relate to every single word of the articles I have read so far.

I went through this turmoil and torment last year when my parents started worrying about my marriage as, they thought, I was on the verge of crossing the 'marriageable age' (I was only 22 then!). For me, my qualifications included two Rolls of Honour, four international publications and my CGPA (well, one always takes pride in being the topper).And oh yes! I make great tea! However, this bubble was savagely pricked by my first suitor and his family.

A girl may feel like a showpiece when every angle of her is examined. Some may eye girls as nothing more than vegetables. But I actually experienced more humiliation. I felt like a goat which was being examined before they could buy it for sacrificial slaughter. Just as if they would count its teeth, check its horns, examine its flesh and analyse its colour, they scanned my body from head to toe and shamed me over my physique, skin colour, head cover, thick eyebrows, dressing sense, gait and qualification.

Physique: I am chubby. They needed a size-zero bride who could eventually please their eyes but should willingly put on weight after giving birth to four or more children;

Skin colour: I am tan. They needed a livid girl because apparently this is the only thing that counts;

Head cover: I cover my head. I wear scarves. It is my choice. Yes! Just as their choice was not to wear one. Did I comment? Did I criticise? No! Because it was their choice. Similarly, they should respect my decision of whatever I wish to do with my hair;

Thick eyebrows: I don’t get them plucked. I remember when the aunty said, “Why don’t you get your eyebrows made?” The only answer I could come up with was the hadith in which Prophet (PBUH) has cursed the woman who does it. “How could you say that???” Yeah, the question marks are directly proportional to the aunty’s fury. I simply asked whether I invited this debate or was she the one who criticised me for my appearance. As Newton’s third law of motion goes, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So you better not ignite anyone because we demand to be respected first if you wish to be honoured;

Dressing sense: They even had a problem with my dress code. What were they expecting? A model? I feel comfortable in shalwar kameez and I think this is all what matters to me. And, in my opinion, every girl should only wear what makes her feel out of this world;

Gait: Well, I really don’t know what was wrong with that! I think I have two legs and I do walk properly. I just don’t do catwalk at home or anywhere. I am a university student, not a manikin;

Qualification: I am a simple graduate in Biotechnology while they needed a doctor who could bring honour to their family. Wow! I can’t even choose my own profession. All that I had ever taken pride was my academic record. And with a blink of an eye everything seemed to be an illusion.

I remember myself looking in the mirror for hours and observe every feature of mine for the first time. A grey hair of mine… my non-blue eyes… my trait of being blunt and outspoken… my passion for work…I was not even that bad. And this made me sob because weeping would have reflected vulnerability.

It is high time that the society starts considering girls as human beings. Every species has male and female members. Our ‘rishta aunties’ must realise that women are as equal Homo sapiens as men and must be treated with equality.

Women work and surely want to pursue their careers but not at the cost of someone not even acknowledging their input and, in the end, expecting their homes to be made just like housewives do. Another point that I would like to mention here is that this must not be enforced and by that I mean that no man and his family should choose a girl (out of the several options for the chaand sa larka) merely because she works. No boy should imagine a girl breadwinning and him sitting at home not even having to giving birth to kids! If you are looking for a working woman then acknowledge her efforts, appreciate her work, and accept her the way she is. This rishta culture and aunties’ buncombe statements must be brought to an end because this unacceptable behaviour with a cherry on top and applesauce icing is literally killing us.

Aunties! You too were girls a few decades ago. Kindly try to remember that phase of your life. I think that would help a lot.