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Chitiyaan Kaliyaan by Roomana Shaikh

Meri chittiyaan kaliyaan ve, oh baby meri chitiyaan kaliyaan ve….*
Aisha rolled her eyes as she stared at the huge tv screen in front of her while waiting for Asma to get her eyebrows done.
Why couldn’t it be sanwali kaliyaan we*? I got pretty brown arms. Aisha thought to herself.
“Aisha beta, should I do the face mask on you? It will make your skin flawless for the wedding this weekend” Rukhsana Anti suggested. Aisha knew this question was going to come. Also the uncomfortable conversation following this. She gave Asma a look as she put her phone down on the brown table filled with plates crowded with samosas and pakoras. The two sisters came right after all the other aunties had left, hence why the amount of food there. It was also why they came later, to avoid all of the aunties.
“Nahi* Anti. That’s okay. You know, Aisha doesn’t really do face masks, her skin is sensitive” Asma answered, hoping it would end the conversation once and for all.
“Arey Kyun?* This face mask will help her skin. She will look soo white for the wedding! No one will be able to know that she has dark skin!” Anti replied back as she halted her eyebrow work. She then turned around to face Aisha ready to convince her to bleach her face so she could be as white as the chick from the music video.
“Aisha, seriously. Stop avoiding the masks. Your skin will be beautiful. Gorey, chitti lagey gi!*” Anti said with her eyes widening and her eyebrows moving all the way to the forehead.
“No Anti. I don’t want to. I like my skin how it is” Aisha replied firmly, hoping this would be the end. Her fingers tap danced on her lap as she prepared for the following comments.
“Hain?* You like your skin? You won’t like it when you don’t get a good rishta*. I’m telling you start now with the mask. Even with the food too. Look at how fat you’ve gotten! Start dieting beta. Take care of yourself. Start now and shaadi tak soney lagey gi tu!*” Anti replied back. And now it’s the weight! Why do I even bother coming here?! Now she’ll give me a longass list of toxic unhealthy tips for weight loss and brag about her own body. Well honey, my body is hella good too! Aisha thought to herself.
Aisha then gave a huge sigh, and moved one leg over the other. Her sister knew she was ready to argue like there’s no tomorrow.
“Anti I am perfectly fine with my skin. Allah made this. It is just as pretty as white skin. So no I don’t want to do the mask at all. And I haven’t gained weight at all. In fact, I’ve been the same weight since the last time you saw me, which was two weeks ago. I only came here for Asma!” She replied back with a sharp tone. Rukhsana Ani stared at her. She hated seeing someone speak up to her and Aisha loved it!
“You keep talking like that and you will be all alone. Look at Mahira. She lost weight and got so soni*. That is why her wedding is this Saturday. And you? Sarey behnon ke baad teri hoigi*” She shot back lifting her face to show she got this.
Aisha rolled her eyes before she gave her final response,
“Anti, I am so happy to have people like you in my life. Because I know what to not be like. I am perfectly fine as I am. And me getting married, that’s all up to Allah, not you. So please stop insulting me. You live your life how you want to. I’m going to live mine like how I want to. I’m not worried if no boy likes me. I don’t care if no boy likes me. Now with all due respect, I am going to leave. Allahafiz!*” Aisha said. She then got up from the black leather sofa and took her phone and walked out the apartment, leaving her sister in the toxic place.
Think all you want, I don’t care! I have pretty skin, I have a bangin’ body, and I don’t need your approval. I don’t need to be white. I don’t need to be skinnier! As she got out the apartment, she let out a little cry before putting her head between her hands. I am perfectly fine. I am! I am! I am! I am worth it! Soon her hands trembled. She then wiped away the tears from her flushed cheek and left the hallway.


Art Credit: @ThePakistaniMarthaStewart


Glossary

*My fair arms, oh baby my fair arms (from the song called “Chitiyaan Kaliyaan”)
*Dark arms
*No Anti
*Oh Why?
*you’ll look really white
*What?
*pretty
*You’ll get married after all of your sisters
*Bye