Stories about relationships

“It’s Chand Raat. He would want to be with family”

He looked again at the big slab of ice, big no longer. It had melted here and there, there and here. There was the memory of ice spread across the table. In zig zag lines, in the air around the table. In the future that was taking a leap into the past. Sometimes he thought his business was not really selling ice but buying time. And the sun was the vendor. The greater the sun’s heat, more the customers, but also greater the probability of the ice melting. Profit, loss. Loss, profit. On the hottest days, people flocked to him and in Ramazan, he naturally became the most important person. For those few hours, at least. He could ...

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Why the ‘C’ word scares the hell out of people

Does the word ‘commitment’ freak you out? Perhaps it conjures up images of lifetime imprisonment without the option of parole. Maybe it sounds like a rabbit in a trap, enslaved to a woman with her fancies and whims forever, or maybe it sounds like a deer caught in the headlights of a car? Obviously, you are scared of the ‘C’ word or possess an irrational fear for it. In short, you are commitment-phobic. What is commitment-phobia? Coined in 1987 in the renowned self-help book ‘Men Who Can’t Love‘, commitment-phobia is a flash of fright that restrains a person from progressing to the next step of a relationship ...

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Why marriage is not for everyone

There are more routes to happiness than those identified by the social majority. It is time we acknowledge that not all of these routes transit through the terminal of marriage. Any discussion on whether a certain custom is right for you, must begin with an honest recognition of your primary goal. The goal is your happiness and prosperity, and nothing that any parent, uncle, aunty, friend has to say about it has any agency over your own awareness of what brings you contentment. Their counsel may be wise and worthy, but they have the disadvantage of not knowing you the way you might ...

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Has Prime Minister Malala Yousafzai done what her predecessor Nawaz Sharif could not?

It is said that in darkness, there’s light, and in every challenge, an opportunity. And who knows it better than us who once made the headline as “Pakistan: The Most Dangerous?” in a provocative cover story of Newsweek a decade ago. The same news magazine has now called Pakistan “A Country with Hope and a Future” in its recent issue citing that the country has much to offer as a potential model for Islamic renaissance and praised the leadership of its newly elected Prime Minister, Malala Yousafzai, who, according to its editorial “has been repairing the sinking ship with correct tools”. From bullets ...

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Light lunchboxes

His daughter knocked on his door; only once. It was time for work and her school. He got up, stretching here and there, listening as individual muscles came out of slumber. After he was ready, he headed to the kitchen and opened the fridge. Each item appeared to be dripping. The electricity had been out throughout the night. He reached for the night’s leftovers and packed their lunch, first for her, and then for himself. She came to the kitchen shortly after. She was well-aware of her father’s strategies and how she ended up getting more of the leftovers. However she used to silently weigh ...

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We lack the wisdom to raise our sons the way we raise our daughters

Before our son Kareem was born, my wife Priya, my daughter Madina and I were on a flight and we ended up sitting next to a woman who was expecting her first child. I sat in the middle seat between Priya and the expecting woman while the two of them discussed things only an expecting mother could discuss with another mother. At one point we asked if she knew the gender of her baby and she said, “A boy thankfully. I am so relieved.” As she went on to explain why she’s relieved, she said having a girl would be a lot more ...

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What if our valentine doesn’t buy us flowers for Valentine’s Day?

Many of my friends have been complaining that I am writing on way too serious issues and should take the ice bucket challenge (in my head). Since Valentine’s Day is close and all, why not? Before I begin, I do wish to offer a pre-emptive apology (similar to the kind America offered Saddam’s Iraq – no bombs here though) to all the female readers of this blog. The views contained herein may present only a limited set of emotions, for which I apologise. I am a man after all and was born with a limited set of emotions. Expecting more ...

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Sex and the Saudi

One winter day a few years ago, I met a girl I really liked. I saw her at a park in Qatif. We were looking at each other, so I went up to her and said, ‘‘Hi, you look beautiful.’’ She thanked me, and I handed her a piece of paper with my number on it. ‘‘We should talk more,’’ I told her. ‘‘I’m interested in you.’’ Then I left immediately. We started talking on the phone for hours every day. Her name was Samar. She was 18, pretty and slender, with long black hair and light brown skin. About a week later, when ...

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What is the older generation’s obsession with the word ‘compromise’ when it comes to marriage?

Marriage has too many complicated stereotypes attached to it. The more obvious ones include what the rishta aunties say all the time: “Apki beti khana pakati hai?” (“Does your daughter cook?”) “Apki beti lambi hai?” (“Is your daughter tall?”) “Apki beti ziyada umer mein bari tou nahi?” (“Your daughter isn’t too old, is she?”) “Apki beti zeyada tou parhi likhi nahi hai?” (“Your daughter isn’t ‘too educated’, is she?”) The aunties want their sons to be the ones who run the show — the girl shouldn’t be too smart, too educated. She has to be just the right amount of literate. Also, she should definitely know how to cook ...

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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 ...

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