Poem - Maghrib ki Reet

WESTERN TRADITIONS

Here, a mother-in-law is not a tyrant; this is America.

Here, a daughter-in-law rules her own roost.

Over here, there is not even a word for “the in-law’s house,”

The very concept seems peculiar.

There is no tradition of parents sending marriage proposals;

Here, young people find each other themselves--

Understand and appraise each other,

By going out or even living together.

And if they choose to marry,

Then there are no drums beaten, nor women singing traditional songs,

Nor does the household fill with guests.

No one anoints the bride with fragrant herbs or paints her hands with henna.

Over here, things are so simple.

The bride sets out shopping, visits stores,

Finds and buys what she needs, including a bridal dress.

For the wedding, even a priest or a minister is not required;

Anyone can perform the ceremony, with only a simple certificate.

Whereas in the East, a feast is cooked in huge pots,

Here the job is entrusted to caterers.

The wedding itself is a party, where the newlyweds dance

And entertain their guests.

Afterwards, the guests depart one by one,

The caterers take down their tent, and collect their pans and dishes.

When night falls, there is silence in the apartment.

The bride does not sit upon the bed, heavily bedecked in jewelry,

Her face covered, waiting for her veil to be lifted,

Nor does the bridegroom enter stealthily, with a fluttering heart.

Since both are known to each other,

Since perhaps they have lived together for a long time,

This night is just like any other night before.