While I was growing up, unlike the ladies of the end of time, most of the women were housewives, and they were pretty good at it. The house was always clean, the meals were always delicious, and the children followed strict routines; the mothers were the masters of their house.
At mornings, the fathers would work, and the mothers would meet for their daily morning gatherings, called sobhiyes that literally translates to small mornings. Need I come up with synonyms to the word small?
These sobhiyes seemed to be the hobby of all women, it was their religion and they were devout believers. On weekends I would wake up to their chatter. Like an orchestra of crickets they skillfully play their vocal chords. The morning birds would shy into their nests, the rush hour traffic drowned out.
My siblings and I would stay locked in our rooms throughout the ordeal. On unlucky occasions we would bump into the women and be shredded by their compliments of height, facial hair, deepening of voice, pimples, coming of age, and puberty.
On most successful days we avoided their hassle, but still overheard the talk. Who wore what to where? Who said what to whom? Gasps, laughter, tutting, sometimes tears. They would talk themselves silly, starting every topic with “I’m not the sort to talk,” and ending them with “Let’s be quiet, its better not to speak.” Everything was dramatized. We would listen to them wide eyed and amazed at the most interesting phenomenon of my times: the ability of 10 women or so to talk. At. The. Same. Time.
Towards the end of the ritual, most of the ladies would leave and a selective few would remain and summarize the whole sobhiye, and critique the content of the gathering. They would reach the epiphany of how shallow their gathering was, and how silly the topics were. Yet that didn’t seem to deter them from repeating this ritual oh so very often.
These sobhiyes came under several themes, some were religious, others were congratulatory (childbirth, engagement, marriage, graduation, Hajj), a few consoling, most were just hosted recreationally.
Everybody knew everybody. Social circles were small, and the pressures to maintain an untarnished reputation was huge. Like the houses that the ladies master, their reputation had to be spotless. Their biggest challenge was to ensure their unpredictable children stayed tamed.
Academia had to be in order, friends had to be selected, physical appearance top notch, emotional life has to remain as empty as the desert in the countries we live in.
Everything the children did was a direct reflection on who the parents were. Thus we grew up under a huge superficial umbrella to protect us from the dangers of non-conformity.