How often have we found ourselves making fun of that girl in class who wears her hair in an oiled choti? That girl whose lipstick you found too loud for the daytime, why does she wear chooris so golden, they jump out so wildly against her saanwli wrists. Often Denoting her ‘paindoo-ness’, by calling her names like Shumaila, Nasreen or Nighat behind her very back.
Have we ever taken a moment to step back and ponder, what is it about that authentic portrayal of ‘Pakistaniat’ that irks us so much? Is it just a matter of evolving taste or is it something that delves much deeper? Is it a sense of internalized racism? Are we subconsciously conditioned to believe the notion that everything rooted in the west is better? We’d much rather live in a Spanish villa than a haveli, eat an American cheeseburger over gobi gosht, and adapt British dining etiquette rather than eating with our hands over a dastarkhwan, hence the question is quite legitimate; Does the sole definition of what’s stylish or fashionable on the streets have to be in devout compliance with what’s being put out on western runways? It’s time we changed the narrative, say it with us! Desi is NOT the opposite of chic!
There is no denying that our culture and heritage is soaked in centuries upon centuries of rich and eccentric history, so when did it become acceptable for our very identity to be caricatured for petty laughs reserved for regressing events like ‘Paindoo day’? No sir! Our truth is NOT a costume! My dark skin is not ugly because yours is lighter.
My pierced nose is not crass because your ancestors thought so . My thick black oiled braid is not shoddy because your hair is blonde and short, and my shalwar is definitely not passé because you like to wear skinny jeans! What do you say girls, Isn’t it about time we called upon our inner Nasreens and embraced a bit of OUR cultural uniqueness?
Meet No Nonsense Nighat, she is the style star us desi girls need in our lives, a re-imagination of that very unadulterated brand of Pakistani style that irks us, updated for that 21st century practical and utilitarian woman that you and I are, she wears her choti long, her eyes deeply rimmed with surma, her henna stained wrists brimming with golden choorian, with that dupatta conveniently tied to the side, and of course, isn’t it time to bring some practical footwear to the desi fashionscape? Sneakers look undeniably cool under shalwar kamiz, and Nighat is living proof for all to see!
No matter what she wears or wherever in the world she may be, she is an utter and true depiction of her Pakistaniat.