Farah S Kamal

Farah S Kamal

An education and development consultant, who is currently leading the iEARN programs in Pakistan. Photography is her hobby and passion and she tweets @fskamal (twitter.com/fskamal)

Are unrealistic expectations ruining the institution of marriage in Pakistan?

It’s wedding season in Pakistan. We all know what that means – our tables are strewn with intricately designed wedding invitations, making us wonder how long each wedding will last. Unfortunately, the time lapse between a wedding and a divorce has shortened, and the number of broken marriages is increasing. Talking about breakups is never easy. Recently, I came across certain figures that stated that from 2015 to 2016, there were record divorce or khula cases in Pakistan. In 2015, in Punjab, 5,000 divorce cases were filed, and thus, 4,500 parted. In 2016, the number had grown to 18,901. Although divorce is allowed in Islam, it ...

Read Full Post

Why is the independence of an unmarried girl perceived as a threat?

Many of us grew up with the eternally single phupho or khala; that’s right, the one that never got married. They all have their reasons and, many a time, they’re respected in their households. Some of them may hold good jobs, spending their well-earned money on their precious nieces and nephews. We seldom see them living their own lives, or making time for themselves outside of their work, and home. We see them as totally dependent on their families, in every facet of their lives. Picture this – her room or space at home is either shared with her parents or a growing child ...

Read Full Post

Not every frog you kiss will turn into a prince

Shaheena called her friend at 3am, crying bitterly; she was totally devastated. She told her friend that the boy she was in a relationship with for the last 15 months had gotten engaged to his cousin and was getting married. Shaheena had endured break-ups before in her life. Twice, with two different boys. This time, however, she was having a hard time coming to terms with the end of this particular relationship. She was stuck with all the memories of her relationship; the endless check-ins from their favourite eateries, the selfies, little gifts, late night chat history stored in her phone and the ...

Read Full Post

We like our fine-dining plates full, and Pranzo has delivered!

I am not very fond of surprises but my recent visit to a restaurant in Karachi called ‘Pranzo’ was a pleasant one. While driving around trying to figure out where to take my daughter for her graduation treat, someone forwarded a promotional video of this place and we decided to give it a try. And I must say, it turned out to be the best decision we made. The baroque style decor, the dreamy romantic chandeliers, the comfortable table settings, the huge premises, high ceilings, and various levels and sections of seating including outdoors and indoors, all culminated into a ...

Read Full Post

She’s always busy texting or socialising: 10 ways to raise teens of this generation

“I have no clue who Sarmad chats with all night and is always late for college,” said a disgruntled mom of a 19-year-old. Another one complained, “Aaah they are all like this these days, I just can’t tolerate my daughters friends. I know they are bad company, but she just can’t stay away from them.” “My son is suffering from acute bronchitis from smoking shisha every single day after university,” one mom said sobbing with grief. An angry dad beat his son blue and black upon finding him watching porn on the computer, while Mrs Ahmed argues with her 18-year-old daughter on proper ...

Read Full Post

Facebook vs reality: When unfriend and delete turns into divorce

During a casual social conversation, I stated, “It is always a sad incidence when marital relationships break.” A colleague smiled and said, “I have heard of three in the past month or so.” I have been hearing cases of separation and divorces almost every week now. Most of the couples breaking ties are under the age of 35 and had been married anywhere from 25 days to three years. I find myself totally shocked and frozen at what is happening in our society. This issue seems like a big threat to our family system. I can confidently claim that when I and the likes of me ...

Read Full Post

Deliciously healthy spinach soup

Spinach is considered the world’s healthiest food, and I am proud of having some part of my kitchen garden growing fresh spinach for most part of the year. Spinach is a nutrient-dense vegetable packed with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. It is a good source of vitamins A, B2, C and K, and also contains magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium and potassium. The benefits of spinach are endless; it possesses anti-inflammatory properties, helps fight against cancer, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and helps our immune system and brain functions. Photo: Farah S Kamal Ingredients:  Spinach leaves – 350 grams (fresh, chopped, washed stems and removed) Chicken stock ...

Read Full Post

The artistic and extraordinary, freshly baked bread

Bread making is both science and art. It’s science in the sense that it involves a lot of chemistry, including fermentation, temperature control and enzymatic activity. It’s an art because crafting and baking artisanal handmade breads ensure quality, taste and satisfaction. So, here is an artistic and extraordinarily versatile recipe for a very popular bread loaf.  I regularly bake this for home consumption as well as for my friends and family. I bake these using either pre-fermented dough which requires a portion of the bread to be fermented for 16 to 20 hours. The method I am sharing here is for straight dough which requires hardly ...

Read Full Post

My husband is gay – A difficult truth

Case 1: On her wedding night, *Hira found out that her new husband had a male partner. Her world came to a standstill. He told her not to expect much from him because he had no inclination towards her as a wife. Hira came back to her parent’s house the same night and when she confronted her in-laws, they sheepishly replied that they thought he would be ‘fine’ once he got married to a girl. Case 2: *Shumaila’s husband lived in the UK and, despite having been married to her for eight months, didn’t sponsor her visa so she could join him in London ...

Read Full Post

Ditch the bakery stuff and make your own healthy jam filled bran muffins

Even though baked goods are notorious for being laden with sugars and fats, we crave them and indulge in them quite often. Our children love them and thoroughly enjoy them too. However, when these treats are baked at home, it gives us the liberty to control the ingredients and portion sizes. And what can be healthier than wheat bran? It is an excellent source of dietary fibre that aids in preventing colon diseases, including stomach cancer, breast cancer, gallbladder disease, haemorrhoids and hiatal hernia. It is also used for treating constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type-two ...

Read Full Post