Written by: Sumayyah Aisha Ghazi
"Yeah, yeah, okay. OKAY. I'll bring her with me but just tell her to be on time cause I’m not gonna wait for her... I already can't wait for it to happen. k? okay then, em keeping it now. Take care, my cupcake."
14 year old Neha threw her phone on the bed and half-walking, half-jumping left her room. She rushed down the stairs and into the kitchen and went straight to her mom and gave her a tight hug. Her mom who was busy beating some eggs for dinner chuckled and kissed her on one of her plump cheeks.
"Shooo now! Or you can have some really nice egg and garlic perfume, Neha." with this she nudged Neha in the ribs and both of them burst into laughter.
Neha being the only child, had a special place in everyone's hearts. Having the most cooperative, loving and lively parents, with a nice fancy house, and a cool group of friends at school made her life nothing but a sweet piece of cake. They hadn't had an argument about anything except that Saturday night, when she had to start doing hijab. She didn't know but today had to be just another day like that.
Dad came home and now they were having some steaming egg-fried rice and gravy that her mom had been cooking all day for her.
"So, how was your day today, my princess?" Dad smiled at her as another spoonful landed in his mouth.
"Oh, it was amazing today. Dad, you know what? We're having a party tomorrow. Marium's mom wasn't available all these days but she just called me that her mom has allowed her to invite us tomorrow. She'll not be busy now... she had some work to do I guess," Neha told her parents about the party she had been discussing with Mariam.
"Oh really? That's nice. Did you tell your mom about this?"
The ifs and buts and whys and whats had started.
"O yes, Neha beta, you didn't tell me about the party. Can't it be at Yusra's place? Beta, it's just that I know her mom and their house and everything. You getting it, right?" Mom asked with that please-try-to-understand-expression.
"C'mon mummmm! How can I ask someone to hold the party who just isn't ready to? Yusra can't keep it at her home, her aunt's at her place these days."
"Okay, I see. So does Mariam have any older brothers dear? I'm just asking, Neha," Mom threw another question with a forced smile.
"What do I have to do with her brothers? I mean what difference does that make? We're not hanging out at a mall or something, it's just her home! Her mom's a really nice woman."
"Okay. Leave it for now. Concentrate on dinner both of you. We can talk about this later, Neha. Alright?" Dad had jumped in as the peace maker now.
Dad cleared his throat loudly, eyed mom and resumed eating. Neha sat there with a whimpered face. "Mom, don't end up saying that you won't let me go. I'm telling you, I won't stay back." Mom stared back and Neha resumed, softer this time. "Look my mommmmm!!! I love you so much, can you not just let me go there for a couple of hours? Please? I beg you mom. I'll do tomorrow's dishes and I'll help you with the laundry as well. I promise mom." So yeah, Neha was up to another tactic now.
"My dear, I do want you to go the party. I want you to have good friends. I want to see you socialize, to see you happy. But I can't let the most precious thing I have go anywhere. I love you too, my princess. The thing is we can't trust society anymore. We can't trust the people around us, not even someone of your father's age. You getting it, huh? I can't let people I don't even know have my daughter for a party. Is it possible that they come over to our place? Dad won't be home tomorrow. That's a good idea, what do you say?"
Mom took a deep breath and gave that please-understand-me smile.
"Ok fine! I'm not going anywhere. I don't want to. You can go on with whatever philosophies you have... maybe I should go somewhere and die in a corner! Call Marium and tell her I won't be coming cause I'm not safe there!" Neha shouted all in one breath and pushed away her plate. Crying and muttering, she left the room.
A second later, a loud bang announced how upset she was.
Sounds familiar, right? And that IS true. There are many such Nehas out there who go through this very often and think of their parents as their enemies or the stone-age people. All my sisters reading this, we need to keep this in mind that out of the seven billion people in the world no one but our parents want the best for us. We think in a small box, in the way a teen-age girl thinks, of freedom, of having a social life but our moms and dads think in a broader perspective. What they want for us is happiness in both worlds and our protection and they definitely don't want people to take unfair advantage of our innocence. We're called *teens* but don't forget, we're still very immature in this sense. I did realize that, now don't ask me how? *wink* Oh, don't be the curious cat now, the teenage cat, I mean. It was just a party I went to when I was in grade four or five and all the music that was being played there made me aware of why parents are into the interviews of people we're going to. They have a hundred things on their minds. They've a million fears about us. 'They don't trust me.' That's what comes in our mind, am I right? No, no. We've made a blunder, thinking this way. It's not that they don't trust us, they actually don't trust the society. They don't trust the people around us. They can't believe in the sugar-coated, indecent atmosphere out there, the kind of 'bad' things which are 'normal' to people nowadays. Once we'll grow older, we'll understand each and every worry our parents have for us, which at times, sounds so lame to us. Mark my words, sisters. This is just a little advice that I too keep telling myself, just so that the naughty person in me doesn't start to blackmail me and take me into that 'I'm-so-oppressed-feeling'.
It's nothing but their love we've misunderstood.
They love me and whatever they do for me is out of their deep love for me and I know that.