He who marries [his daughter] off, gives her away [Archives:2002/11/Last Page]
Ma Have you seen what youve done to me and what sort of misfortune youve got your daughter into? I told you at the time, Dont marry the girl off without insisting that the husband gets his own house independent of his family and everyone else. But you just dont seem to care less, do you, Musid.
M As long as youve got your own house you dont need to worry about anyone else; Gods creatures are Gods concern.
Ma Its just as well that Gods creatures are Gods concern. If they were yours, youd get them into the same sort of mess you got your daughter into.
M There you are saying, Youve gone and got your daughter into a mess!
Ma Youve made a complete mess of her life. And if you dont believe it, just go and take a look at her husbands house. Then youll see!
M Just stop all your interfering! Once you marry your daughter off, youve given her away!
Ma And just exactly where have you married her off to and given her away to! Into a house or into a doss camp!
M As long as her husband doesnt have any real faults, I could have married her off to someone in the Empty Quarter.
Ma And if you had married her off to someone in the Empty Quarter, she could have made herself a bedouin tent. Then she would have at least had her independence. Peace and quiet is at least half of life.
M Whats making you so obsessed with the girl today! Has she put a spell on you?
Ma Go and see how she is, then youll see.
M And what would I see? What are you hiding from me? Come on, speak up!
Ma To be frank, my daughter is totally spent. If a wind blew up, she would sail into the air like a feather. Before she got married, she was fit and round as a peach, and as happy as larry.
M So shes sick and no one has looked after her. What is this illness shes got?
Ma Shes not ill, she hasnt got an illness, and she doesnt need a doctor, but living on top of everyone else together with all the goings on in her husbands house and the hard work she has to do have sickened her physically and emotionally and left her exhausted. Ive totally lost my appetite worrying about her.
M Shes in the same position as everyone else in her husbands family. Her husband takes priority and she comes after him.
Ma I know that she comes after her husband, but I told you you should have insisted that she had a separate house before marrying her off, while we were still in a position to make conditions.
M Musida, she isnt living in a tent in the middle of the street. Shes there in a house with three floors and six satellite dishes on the roof!
Ma Okay, now you just work out how many people are in the house under each satellite dish!
M If I was responsible for them and had to support them, I would work out how many they are.
Ma You son of a jinn. Cant you just listen while I tell you what the problem is, or are you going to sit there saying stupid things.
M Go on, tell me what the problem is then, if you have to.
Ma Okay, here goes. On the first floor there are two brothers. Together with their wives and children that makes twenty people. On the second floor there are two brothers, and with their wives and children that comes to nineteen. Two brothers on the third floor with their wives and children come to twenty, or twenty-one, people. Each family eat on their own with their children. Sometimes they fight over the bathroom, and sometimes they shout over the kitchen. Then sometimes they have to go to the local quarter official because they cant agree over the water and electricity bills. Then if the children fall out and start hitting each other over something trivial, the adults start fighting amongst themselves because of the childrens disagreement. And my daughter is stuck there in the middle of all this drama. Ive got no idea how this family got into such a state, or how you could still describe them as human beings.
M People are all different in the way they think and act, Musida, and in the way they view lifes responsibilities. Especially the responsibilities of married life. You know how the Yemeni proverb goes: everyone has his own specialist knowledge, even in selling oil.
M The six brothers didnt get as much education as they should have done. If they had had any proper ambition, they would have either got higher education certificates or pursue a craft like carpentry, plumbing, engineering or building, or selling even if its only from a barrow.
Ma They were all banking on their fathers inheritance, and anyone who relies on someone elses sauce can expect to eat their food dry!
M Exactly. They banked on their fathers inheritance. Then when the father died, they portioned out the money and got married. They reckoned that the best way to make their lives happy and secure was to marry a respectable girl. After a little while, they found themselves face to face with the difficulties married life throws up cramped living conditions, too many children, too small an income, and they just couldnt cope. As the Yemeni proverb goes, If you cant figure a way out before you go in, youll get yourself stuck without knowing it.