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It sucks being a romantic in 2018…

I was sitting with a friend’s friend on a balcony, on a cool Lahori afternoon, whining about a Mehndi (wedding party) I had to go to. He said, “but it should be fun… go look pretty and flirt with some boys…”… I took a long pause before I realized and then replied, “that stuff is not for me… somehow just doesn’t cut it… “ I blabbered on trying to explain myself. The poor guy got stuck with me.

He asked me a simple question and got a very long ambiguous answer. 10 minutes of one sided blabber and he interrupted saying… “oh so you’re a romantic…”

And it came in like a wrecking ball. That was it. I couldn’t put my finger on it. But there- the truth had unveiled itself.

Don’t get me wrong- I love the notion of being able to walk in a room full of strangers, noise and the smell of kebabs… and the idea of flirting with a boy or two- I mean who does not- but it is both a case of been there, done that and mmm doesn’t work for me.

You see I can’t even blame it on the movies- I wasn’t allowed to watch em until very recently. I grew up reading Sweet Valley High. The first show I watched was Everybody loves Raymond. Most of my influences, as far as opinion is concerned- are western.

But then there’s that girl inside me; alter ego if you will. Her name is Parvati. She wants to dress in a sari, play a record on the gramophone, write letters on her typewriter and just sit by the window and think. Reminisce. That’s how she flirts. This is the universe of her romance. She doesn’t go on dates- she wants the lover to walk in that door, just like that on a random afternoon. Sit near her, but never too close. Sip on a cup of tea together- well the choice of beverage is fluid really. But for now, let’s stick to tea.


She wants to have conversations- about unseen lands and the demons within. She wants to just sit- in that moment- and feel time freeze. Because for her, this is the only time it does freeze. She wants to go around sprinkling rose water in the room after he leaves. Smoke his leftover cigarette butts. Hum a song. Maybe do a little dance.


You see- flirting with that dim witted boy, wearing the same Khaadi kurta everyone else is wearing- whose best conversation is about the last holiday he took or his father’s glorious business- doesn’t do anything for me.

But you see- here’s the problem. Parvati lives in 2018. In 2018, you go out- you find a boy- he just doesn’t come walking in the door. There are rules- first date, second date- there are rules. Parvati does not want to follow rules- she wants the whole thing to break into a dance sequence from Devdas- but nope. You are only rudely interrupted by the waiter and an uncomfortable moment as to who shall take the bill.


In 2018, you put your feelings into words- the unsaid dear Parvati, no longer holds meaning. Yea- he ain’t getting it sister, unless you SPELL IT OUT. In 2018, you don’t look at hold on to the mug he had tea from, you ask him to do his own dishes. You don’t shy away when he looks at you in a manner to suggest you are beautiful- you ask him how you look, he says you are beautiful and you smugly reply, I know.

You don’t let him twist your arm- ever-so-lovingly- unless he has seeks consent before, obviously. 

In 2018, you don’t talk about what lies beyond… you talk about the harmful effects of social media and he tells you too much caffeine is bad for you. You may also discuss the upcoming season of Games of Thrones and who your favorite character is. This shall be the most fun it shall get. At any point if he gets cheeky, you lovingly refer to him as asshole or fuck off. You say it lovingly enough- it looks endearing.


That diya you want to burn and dance with Dear Parvati- gives off toxins and he has breathing allergies. So unless you are carrying an anti-histamine, we strongly suggest you put it away, be a good girl and stop playing dress up. Mom’s calling and you have work tomorrow.







  1. the_creative_jounal

    December 11, 2018 at 11:13 am

    HAHAHAHA ! That was such a cute depiction of what finding love is in 2018 . Marya , well done !

  2. Mahnoor Shafiq

    December 11, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    I can relate to this so well. This is totally me.

  3. Maham

    December 11, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    I love this and can totally relate. Someone once told me you are not built for these times. I didn’t agree then but I do now. In our attempt to be feminists and strong role models, we have killed and buried the idea of old school romance. Women are less feminine, more feminist. And men are, well, a lot less chivilrous. Welcome to 2018!

  4. MARIA

    December 11, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Parvati has turned into a ‘cocksure’ woman and the men which are up to her liking are too ‘hensure’ for her to commit for life. So……..

  5. Lareb

    December 11, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    Sigh this was so beautiful. I consider myself practical and grounded and built up this persona my whole life trying to hide a Parvati within. Old school Bollywood and Sanjay Leela Bhansali ki female leads are my real alter ego who keeps trying to peek out from the strong level headed corporate empowered female 🙂

  6. Paras Shah

    December 11, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    I love your depiction of today’s paro! So on spot and the pictures are so apt. Love your writing skills girl.

  7. Marium

    December 11, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    Loved it…feel like it’s me.

  8. Tasmiyah

    December 12, 2018 at 7:09 am

    Dear Parvati,

    I’m Chandramukhi. And I totally get what you mean. But hang in there. A devdas would one day walk through that door. Trust me 😉


    • Marya Javed

      December 22, 2018 at 6:57 am

      Log aapko devadasi bhi kehtay hain? :p

  9. Nayab

    December 12, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Pyaar for Parvati!😘❤️

  10. Iqra Khaan

    December 12, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    This was beautiful to read…and feel.

  11. Madeha

    December 13, 2018 at 12:57 am

    I would love fo meet parvati.

  12. Maddie

    December 13, 2018 at 6:59 am

    Love Parvati and old school romance. It doesn’t exist anymore and deeply saddening how no post millennials will not know anything about it!

  13. Kiran

    December 14, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    Another breaking news from not so ex romantic…..things only get worst (in a good way) from here onwards as once a romantic is always a romantic ….when parvati marries the love of her life and has multiple children of cyberage, totally calculated and matter of fact….romance becomes the daily condiment to keep the spark spicy 360°….so stay calm and romance on bro!

    • Marya Javed

      December 22, 2018 at 6:57 am

      hahahah <3

  14. Mehhak

    December 14, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    Its totally old me. I remember i was just like parvati too but now time ne usey kahin dabba dia hai bht andar lekin mitti ni hai wo. Acha lagta hai doppehar ki dhoop ho or hm apne roshandar or hawadar room mei slowly chalte fan ko dekhen or record pe halka sa music or phr tarrace mei ja podon ko niharen ek hath apne curly bal set krte hue zra sa ghoomein. Mj lgta hai jese muj mei bohot purane zamane ki rooh hai. Jb b mai kosi historic place ko dekhti hun to mj sometime lagta hai mai osi k hisa hun phr us k barey mei sochna wahan kya hta hoga log kese rehte hnge and all that. Well the is so much more to say but….. at the end ur pictures are lit ur writing just touched my heart. More power and pyar to ur way. Stay same and blessed.

    • Marya Javed

      December 22, 2018 at 6:57 am


  15. Areeba

    December 18, 2018 at 6:43 am

    OMG! This article is love! 😍 Your writing style is just fabulous and you captured the very essence of the feelings in the heart of a girl that’s misfit for this world. Loved it!

  16. Soumya

    March 22, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Such a beautiful read. Loved it.
    P.S. reading this in my quarantine

  17. Asma

    March 21, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    Hahaha so cool!!

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