Have you ever imagined what life was going to be if you (I am talking to the women) could not step out of your house alone? If there were no movie theaters in your city? If you (women again) were not allowed to drive? You can either be a doctor, a nurse or a teacher ONLY?
I never even thought of something like that, until I came to live it.
I am right now in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with my husband who is here on a project. He has been here for close to a year now. We got married in December last year and I joined him here in April. And the day I arrived here I realized how much I took a lot of things in life for granted.
The day I landed here we stepped out for lunch at about 12’ish. I sincerely wore my ‘burkha’ (which I bought before coming here). The Muslim and the Saudi women here need to cover their hair too. The others are spared (Thank God for small mercies!). We were walking to a restaurant closest to our place and I can’t explain how I felt…I don’t know if I was confused or scared. There was not a single woman on the road but there were men of all ages and sizes slowing down on the pavements and on the roads to ogle. Not that there are no women here, but seeing a women on the road, in the afternoon on a working day was not usual here.
It did not take me too long to learn the Do’s and Don’t’s of this place as there are very few do’s. This place has no movies or pubs. Photography in public places is prohibited. Shops and restaurants close during the “Salah” (the prayer time). Women are not allowed to drive and the career options for women here are being a doctor, a nurse or a teacher only. No access to Orkut (you read that right) and you will rarely find a woman walking alone on the road, no matter what time of the day.
Every restaurant here (even the McD and KFC) have a separate sections for families and bachelors. There are some eating joints exclusively for bachelors and shopping malls exclusively for families.
I know all this sound funny, idiotic and stupid. It is. And a lot of you would be thinking why on earth any woman would want to go to a place like this. The answer to that, I guess, is ‘priorities’.
I worked for 5 years away from home, partied with friends, had girl’s night outs, and never needed a man to pay for my dinner. And I decided to get married when I knew I was willing to put ‘family’ on top of my list. And here I am with the love of my life enjoying every bit of what life offers while we are here.