My Husband Sleeps for Only 5 Hours a Day

There’s quite a lot to digest in that one heading, isn’t there?

  1. I recently got married (it has literally been only a week).
  2. I wish I could say it was why I haven’t posted, but it isn’t. I wish I could say I’ve just been swamped with work (yes, I have a day job!) and wedding prep and whatnot, but that’s not true either. Ladies and gentlemen, the real reason is…I’m just lazy. Sorry.
  3. My husband and I get along fine, despite our marriage being arranged (I like the way the woman who did my makeup for the baraat phrased it: “You were introduced to each other by your parents.”).
  4. We have our own place which we are trying to fill with basic necessities a few small items at a time. Yesterday we bought spoons, because even though we eat with my in-laws, I enjoy drinking tea a lot (we were using the sieve handle to stir before that).
  5. I’ve started using “we” a lot.
  6. We are both exhausted by the multiple wedding events, although ours was a comparitively simple South Asian wedding with only(!) a nikkah at home, a baraat and finally a valima.
  7. Despite that, my husband only sleeps for 5 hours. Or so he says; as someone who sleeps for however long I can get away with it, I wouldn’t know. He sleeps when I sleep and wakes up when I wake up but who knows whether he stays in bed all night.

No, he doesn’t have insomnia, unlike me. His masochistic tendencies are still under debate. I believe he’s just one of the few lucky bastards who literally only needs 5 hours of sleep to function, like my Taye Abbu (that’s elder paternal uncle to you non-South-Asian folks).

I am envious. So many hours in the day are lost to sleep (followed by hours lost stuck in traffic), hours which could be spent reading or writing or watching shows or meeting friends or a thousand other fun and/or constructive things that aren’t sleep.

But sadly, that is not for me. My biology fails me.

Oh well. I hope he spends some of those extra hours in his day cooking or cleaning.

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On Job Hunting (for the Recently Graduated)

I recently ‘graduated’ from university – though I won’t have the degree in my hands for a couple more weeks – and I have joined the unemployed masses. No longer can I absolve my joblessness by saying I am a student, for student I am no longer.

A few days ago I got together with some other unemployed friends, and the topic turned towards job hunting, as it was bound to. From that experience I learned that although I am still unemployed – mostly through my own fault, I’ll admit – I have had a better callback rate than many of my (more skilled) colleagues.

While I cannot say I am an expert, I have learned some useful tips in the couple of months I have been looking, and I wish to impart my (newly acquired) wisdom, like any narcissist. So enough with the preamble – here we go.

Update Your CV and Resume

Something that should go without being said, but I’ll say it: you need to keep updating your CV and resume (in Pakistan, a CV is a multi-page in-depth review of your achievements; a resume is 1 page long). Add newer positions, projects and accolades and remove the older ones. Don’t have a CV? No problem; grab a template off of Word or the Internet and type away. (Just, please, no templates that look like registration forms. They look so childish.)

One step most people I know seem to skip is that they forget to tailor their CVs according to the job. Managerial positions will care more for your leadership experience and proof of your communicating abilities than your programming knowledge; editorial positions will want to know how proficient you are in English; and so on.

One question I get asked often is whether to include your photo in your CV. I would recommend not to unless specifically stated in the advertisement, and to instead include a link to your LinkedIn on which you have an updated professional photograph of yourself.

While there is no one way to have an awesome CV, there are a number of ways to have a terrible one.

Update Your LinkedIn (and Stay Active There)

LinkedIn is like Facebook for professionals. One of the smartest steps you can take is to complete your LinkedIn profile until it gives you that Expert or All-Star profile rating. Add all the information you included in your CVs, but with some extra details such as lengthier project descriptions, collaborating members, supervisors, etc. Add all the information you couldn’t add to your CV because of space, or because it wasn’t relevant to the specific job. Have a professional photo of yourself there and change it as your face changes. Delete older positions and projects as you move on – don’t become outdated.

Once you’ve got your LinkedIn, don’t think you’re done yet! You have to post regularly on it too. Share articles, comment on other’s posts, congratulate people on their career milestones – just keep it as professional and articulate as possible. Remember, your future (or worse, current) bosses might see your posts.

Write a Cover Letter/Email

Apparently, this is a foreign concept to most recent Pakistani graduates, especially from universities that don’t focus on soft skills (like mine). Despite professionals in the field and our own alumni stating the importance of a cover letter or email over and over again, a lot of applicants just skip out on it.

So maybe you might listen to one of your fellow job hunters: please, for the love of all that is good in the world, write a cover letter or email. Most companies take emails these days, so write your cover letter in the email, not attach it as a separate file. There’s nothing more unprofessional than a blank email or one with nothing but “See my attached CV.” Google is your friend – use it.

Send in Your Applications During Working Hours

You can have great applications, but they won’t matter if nobody sees them. A trick I learned from my university days which got me one of the highest email response rates from my professors* was to email early during the day, earlier on in the week (with Monday before noon getting me the most responses). This especially holds true for work emails – they’re usually only accessible on the job.

If you email on a weekend, especially if you email a company’s HR department, then forget about ever getting a response. Your email has disappeared into the void that is an inbox with 999+ unread messages.

Read up on ways to make your cover letter the best one possible for you. First impressions are usually the last impressions – make yours count.

 

These are just some of the aspects of job hunting I thought I would address, as I seem to be getting a lot of queries about my methodology from others in the (figurative) unemployment line with me. Hope it helps.

 

*From a totally subjective survey that I informally gathered data for by gouging the intensity of the groaning people did when I said “Just email the professor.” I got responses around 90% of the time from my professors, and 100% of the time on important matters, so I never quite understood the problem.

DISCLAIMER: I am, still, obviously, still very unemployed, and many folks who didn’t follow these guidelines are currently working, so take all of this with a pinch of salt.

That One Commercial

If you’re living in the subcontinent and are even on one social media website, you’ve probably seen it – the commercial about the father apologizing to his daughter because he never did household chores, and thus ingrained the idea in his daughter that chores are a woman’s work.

Which, okay, is a nice message and all, and it’s palatable enough that even anti-feminists but pro-liberals agree with it; but honestly, I am so tired of it and of the discourse around it. It’s, frankly, childish and reductionist.

Like, thanks, Generic-Desi-Dad, for finally understanding how shitty of a person you were and are – but only when it was your own daughter who had to face the problems you happily dumped on your wife. As if your wife wasn’t someone’s daughter. As if your wife wasn’t a person who deserved to have her feelings heard and her needs met and maybe, just maybe, a weekend the way you got one.

But what’s the point now, man? You’re one foot in the grave and so is your wife, and your daughter and her husband are just going to repeat the cycle. It’s not going to give your wife, or the countless other women you helped put down directly and indirectly throughout the years. You can cry all you want, but there is no redemption for you.

It’s not just the commercial that’s terrible, it’s what people say when they share. “Help your mothers/sisters/wives with household chores” – as if it isn’t also YOUR house, you selfish, arrogant, misogynistic man; as if those chores aren’t YOUR chores to do as well. No, when you do them you’re “helping”, wow, so good of you, so kind, so liberal, so revolutionary. When you don’t “help” then no problem. When we do them, it’s our job apparently. It’s our lot in life and aren’t you a dear for making our lives easier?

You don’t get to make the work excuse – do you think you would be able to perform as well as you do at your job unless you had us around to make sure your home is neat and tidy and clean? To quiet the children and soothe the in-laws and make the food you eat and clean the place you live in so you’re not rolling in filth? You think household chores only involves physical labour? Hah.

Fuck you. Fuck your politics and fuck your world view. Fuck your very existence, because in the end all it does is make more work for us – to pick up after you when you don’t do chores, and to praise you when you do do them.

I am old, I am disabled, and I am tired.

On Missed Opportunities

Google came to my university today – I knew they were coming, I signed up for their seminar on publishing, and I was totally planning to go – and yet, as usual, something unavoidable came up which led me to staying up late (for the 3rd night in a row) which caused me to sleep in and thus miss the entire seminar. Literally, all of it.

But it gets worse. During registration, they asked attendees if they had blogs, and I did, and so I submitted its URL like the good girl I am. And turns out they displayed a couple of their favorite blogs from among those submitted – and turns out mine was one of them.

They mispronounced my name (it’s “Hiba”, Google, not “Abiha”) and passed over the gifts us lucky few would have gotten had literally all of us not missed the session (apparently everyone who writes good blogs also sleeps in late). My friends took notes for me because they’re amazing, obviously, but still.

If you know me, you’ll know that this…is a recurring theme of my life. To be on the edge of greatness (yes yes, I know, this was not that big a deal, but tolerate me for a moment; I’m trying to make a point) and yet never quite achieve it myself. To be in the company of great people (I have a talent for befriending those who are bound to be successful, and also a talent for ditching them right before they achieve that success) and yet never be great myself.

To be content with your own mediocrity is a terribly bitter pill to swallow, but you get used to the taste after a while. Such is life, I guess.

(And no, I’m not just bitter about losing out on the free Google tees. Okay, not much bitter.)

Be More Gentle

I know this isn’t a new idea at all, what with all leftist writers espousing how being gentle in the face of capitalism is radical, but it is something I learned and something I try to follow in my every day life.

And unlike most of my leftist ideologies which come from my father, this is one of the few that are unique to my mother – along with honesty and humility and forgiveness. And it is even more true in our current cut-throat, dismissive culture.

Yes, people have more access to resources, and yes, after a certain age and certain level of education one’s ignorance is inexcusable; yet even then, I believe that gentleness and kindness are important.

Instead of dismissing, ignoring or ridiculing every misguided or unlearned opinion, I think we should take it as a learning opportunity. Being kind is far more important than being right.

 

DISCLAIMER: I do not mean to be kind in the face of oppression or outright adversity. If someone’s denying rights or being a bigot, I believe we should drag that piece of shit through hell and back.

Double Standards

Today my professor talked about how we should react in a terrorist attack. Yeah, it’s come to that; our teachers are now making it their responsibility to inform students and staff alike of precautions, because our educational institutes are severely lacking in the “take care of your damn students” department.

And while I understood the reason for it, all I could think about was how, in my first year at university, a large number of girls were harassed and videoed by a group of boys at our Spring Festival. Many of them reported the issue to higher authorities, and you know what the reaction was?

A seminar. For girls. On how we (yes, I was amongst those harassed) deserved it for not wearing a scarf over our heads, for daring to think we could go to a festival and actually, you know, have fun without having random boys form a circle around us, call us sluts, make a video of our embarrassment and near-tears and put them up on the Internet.

We knew the names of those boys, remembered their faces, could even rattle off the names of their girlfriends (oh the irony) and yet they faced no disciplinary action. Which was basically a message to every boy in the entire university: hey, you can be a misogynistic pig to any girl you want; the university won’t do a damn thing about it! Because you, by virtue of being a boy, are obviously a much better investment (despite showing that you do not respect basic human dignity) than girls! Because all girls are good for! Is housework and sex!

So many of the girls who spoke out about the harassment – many of them first years, like myself at the time – withdrew their complaints after being informed that we basically brought unwarranted harassment on ourselves for daring to exist where men did. They stopped walking alone; they went the long way to avoid the departments with more than 50% boys (which is all of them except ours); they dropped their friendships with the boys in their class. The girl who was with me at the time went from being a close friend to an acquaintance, because she feared that someone might see us both together and link us to the video.

I don’t recall any proposals for teaching girls self-defence, or giving us the contact numbers for the authorities, or encouraging giving women access to arms, or telling us to attack our harassers, or 50-minute lengthy and nuanced discussions on prevention and detection of cat-callers and misogynists.

Funny how some forms of terror are so easily accepted. But who cares, right? We’re just women, after all.

On Being Alone

I’m not quite sure if it’s because I’m just not a likeable person (selfish asshole that I am), or if, the older I get, the less I refuse to take people’s shit (which also ties into the whole “selfish asshole” descriptor), or if I’m just busy with university (again, “selfish asshole” doesn’t even begin to cover it) but recently I’ve been…rather alone.

All my interactions are now either short or face-to-face; no more texts blowing up my phone – though I never had much texts in the first place lmao, being the miserable loner that I am. But recently, it’s been even less; no more late-night conversations; no more constant exchange of pictures and news; no more talking just for the sake of talking, for the sake of getting human interaction with the people in your life.

When I am home, I am completely shut off from the world. Texting, which I once enjoyed as it was the only form of communication I, a shy weirdo, was comfortable with, is now always work-related, and always short. Explaining myself over text, which was once my defining feature, is now a hassle which I do not want to go through anymore.

But the strange thing is, I’m not lonely. I do not know when this transformation happened; when I went from craving attention 24/7 to being content with myself and my thoughts. I have finally freed myself from the paradoxical situation where I both wanted to feel loved and have friends while at the same time found them tiring; the latter still exists, but the former feeling has vanished, and I am finally at peace.

Anyway, this has been a post. This has been a day.