Stories about women

Book Review: ‘Servants of the Goddess, the modern-day devadasis’

Imagine being paraded in a procession of singing men and women on a high slab with nothing on your body except neem leaves as soon as you hit puberty, and being ‘deflowered’ when you don’t even know the reality of what just happened to you. Photo: Catherine Rubin Kermorgant, taken from official website of the author. Imagine being dedicated to a temple at the age of six years and wearing a beaded necklace for the rest of your life. Imagine being a mother of two at the age of 15 (or even less). Imagine never being able ...

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#PyareAfzal versus Nawaz Sharif’s speech: And the winner is…

Last night, while Pakistani men were anxiously waiting for the premier’s speech, to be aired at 8pm, the women had a completely different, and might I add ‘dramatic’, agenda to grab hold of the TV remote. Coincidentally, the prime minister’s speech took place at the same time when the series finale of Pyare Afzal – which could safely be dubbed as one of the most widely watched television serials of all time – was to be aired. On one hand, this diffused the political tension for the fans; on the other, it became a reason for family discords over the TV remote and ...

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Would you get your jaw-wired to lose weight?

“Hey, you have lost weight?” This is a question almost every woman in this world hopes to be asked. Every day, we discuss, think about, act on and cheat on this weight monster. Recently at work, one of my female co-workers proudly announced that her family friends got their daughter’s jaws wired so that she cannot eat or chew. The poor 17-year-old will be living on liquids for the next two years. What is the end result? Of course, she will shed all those ‘extra’ pounds and probably will be able to grab an acha rishta, but how inhumane is that? While listening to ...

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Is morality determined by the length of a woman’s blouse?

Over time I have noticed a common trend on Pakistani Facebook pages, especially those of designers and celebrities: crude, caustic and downright hateful slandering of celebrities. I recently stumbled upon a picture of Humaima Malick looking gorgeous in an elegant Élan ensemble and all I could think of was the talent and beauty that exists in our country. But then I read the bitterest of verbal abuses on the picture, which included: “She is lookin’ dumb and her makeup is damn worst” “Kitni ugly hai pata nai kyun uthaya hua hai isko” “This is behayaee and immoral behaviour” Photo: Élan Facebook Page Apparently, showing inches ...

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No Israel, you cannot use rape as a war weapon

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has brought out what seems to be the misogynist, the racist and the overall hate in everyone. There are people who have asked Hitler to return and then there are people like Bill Maher who recently called Gaza ‘a crazy woman’. Then there is the Israeli professor who says the best way to fight wars is to rape women. How I wish that was a line from The Onion. How I wish it was a politically incorrect joke made by Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live. Or something some crazy extremist had said somewhere where they were still flogging women in the streets. Unfortunately for ...

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Let’s have a cup of chai together, India

It is a truth acknowledged in the subcontinent that no meeting is complete without a cup of chai (tea). The freshly brewed combination of masalas, cardamom or a frothy cup of doodh pati touches the tip of the tongue, instantly refreshing one’s mind. Some have even argued that chai purifies their souls. We all certainly love our tea!  The addiction is tremendously mind-blowing, in its literal sense, and on a serious note, I often think Pakistani and Indians need a tea rehabilitation centre. When have you last visited a household where you weren’t offered chai? The alternative options are, of course, thanda (cold drink) or pani (water), but the fervour of making fresh chai for the guests is ...

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Pakistani women, cricket and their dilemma

To stand in the sunlight, over the lush green grass of a cricket ground, surrounded by hordes of people cheering you on while you aim to annihilate the stumps with that ball in your hand is no longer just a man’s dream. Today, women too aspire to have a career in cricket and recent events have shown that they are very much capable of becoming great cricketers. The Pakistan women’s cricket team made it to the limelight when the national squad won medals in the 2010 Asian Games and brought glory to their nation. This was a major milestone, not just for the ...

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#AskThicke crossed all Blurred Lines

 “I hate these blurred lines. I know you want it. I know you want it.” The song that took social media by storm is undoubtedly catchy. As I hummed it, I was oblivious to the fact that the lyrics would create such a social media uproar and spark controversy all over the world, making it one of the most frequently played songs of the decade and promoting Robin Thicke to surpass all boundaries of fame or notoriety. For a long time, I wasn’t aware of what all the fuss was about. To me, Blurred Lines was just another song. The song introduced ...

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The black and white of sexual harassment

The Oxford dictionary defines sexual harassment as, “Harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks” Gauging from this definition, the meaning is pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it? Apparently not. I am often surprised (read: unimpressed), by the type of conversations I hear surrounding the so-called ‘dubious’ nature of sexual harassment. A few years ago, a colleague came to me saying she felt awkward by the way her now ex-boss would treat her while they were at work. She wasn’t sure if he was interested in her, or if he ...

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Pakistani dramas in India, yay!

Indian soap operas and dramas have been airing on Pakistani television for a long time now. Pakistani women especially, have been largely influenced by these drama serials and this can be seen in the way Hindi words have seeped into our language and Indian clothing has become part of our fashion. Women not only want to buy Tulsi’s sari now, but to also, at times, address an unfortunate happening or a mishap as abshugan (Hindi for bad luck). The effects on our culture can be easily spotted. However, a few days back, I came across news that was thoroughly refreshing to hear; Pakistani dramas are ...

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