Maheen Humayun

Maheen Humayun

The writer studied Literature and Creative Writing from John Cabot University in Rome. She is the author of the novella Special. She is currently a sub-editor at Tribune. She blogs at karachiiloveyou.wordpress.com/ and tweets @MaheenHumayun

‘Revenge rapes’: Why are Pakistani women constantly paying for the sins of their men?

Toba Tek Singh is one part of the country that makes headlines quite often. So often, in fact, that I’ve become inclined to reading its name in print. This time, however, I didn’t skim over the content, as I typically do. This headline, after all, was not like the others. Ten people were taken into police custody for ordering the rape of a woman as revenge. Yes, that’s right. They gave an explicit order for a woman to be raped; for her ‘dignity’ to be snatched away from her. All for the price of revenge. We live in a society that thrives off of ...

Read Full Post

I am stationary, and Karachi is movement

Day 1 If I stared at the world around me, a few things would stare back. The clouds dancing in the iridescently blue sky, the sun shining in its eternal glow; maybe even the trees that stood amidst the streets of Karachi. The people are the only ones that won’t stare back. I long for the day where I can look at a person, and they’ll look back and we’ll have had a conversation; not with our lips, but with our eyes. It seems as if everyone is running somewhere. My mother is running to Khattak. My brother is running at ...

Read Full Post

Dear abuser, my truth matters, and your time is up!

Six days ago, Oprah Winfrey made history. I sat staring at my laptop screen, feeling her words personify themselves. I felt them dance around, vibrating to be heard and felt. Resonate ­­– yes, that’s what they did. That’s how real they felt to me in that moment. That is the power of the spoken word. I don’t usually watch the Golden Globes; sometimes I’ll watch a recap or two. But this time, I found myself going back to the moments both before and after Oprah’s speech. I looked into the onscreen eyes of all these actors and I saw that glimmer, ...

Read Full Post

Do I even belong at all?

I see the point where the sun meets the sea, Glistening in effervescent orange, Hues of orange pulp and pineapple slices take over the sky. I picture myself on a beach, Eating those fruits – I look back out, the sun has begun to sink. Relief – Almost as if my breath were holding the sun Hanging, steady, in the middle of nothing, Echoing how I feel; Suspended between my reality and my thoughts, Verisimilitude. Floating – I am a set of eyes, I see the sun drowning, Relief turns to fear; The sun is leaving. Will it come back again? Will I? I am a set of eyes, I see the encompassing blue of the sea, I long to be ...

Read Full Post

No, my ripped jeans do not allow you to believe that it is your right to harass and rape me

They are just clothes, I tell my father, when he passes a comment about my ripped jeans. He doesn’t understand – perhaps he never will. I run my hands along the tiny rips, feeling bits of skin and wondering if the freedom I feel is the oppression they want me to see. I see my legs in a pair of jeans, they see skin that is fighting the patriarchy. I see my choice, they see my rebellion. On November 3, 2017, Egyptian lawyer, Nabih al-Wahsh, stated that any woman wearing ripped jeans deserves to be harassed and raped. He ...

Read Full Post

70 years of independence for Pakistan, zero years of independence for its women

Seventy years of independence today. I’m sitting here, trying to sum up what that means for me. There are too many things that encompass this day. There are too many ways to go about it. It’s 1947. Your grandfather is fighting for his life on a train that has no food. He is holding your father tight in his arms. Your great grandmother is leaving behind her house, her jewellery, her life, to run to a place she never wanted to go. You are not yet in the picture. You have not experienced the hardships. You came when it had already ...

Read Full Post

You killed her… the strong, independent woman and her voice along with it

I recently came across an article that brought up some thoughts about being a woman in Pakistan. The following is the said article: There are girls out there who think they are the moral police of our society. They are the ones that pick and choose when they want to be feminists. The ones that believe it is their right to tell others what to think or feel. Why? Why do you think it is your duty to define what’s right or wrong? If you’re telling someone not to get “physically attached” before their nikkah, you’re barking up the wrong tree. A tree that ...

Read Full Post

Why do I have to pretend to fast when my “monthly friend” is visiting?

I sit in the room at the end of the hallway. The door is closed. My head is bent. I am waiting to be called. I was six-years-old. I stood on the balcony with my mother, father and cousin as we tried to spot the chaand that would symbolise the start of Ramazan. I was excited. I was thrilled; there was nothing I wanted more than to fast for the entire month. I started singing, “Ramazan ke rozay aye, hum roza rakhna chahain!” (The month of fasting is here, and we wish to fast!) My cousin shared the same enthusiasm; he got up and began singing along with me. ...

Read Full Post

Hindi Medium proves that English is still the language of the colonisers, except the elite are the colonisers now

When you think of language, you think in a language. For me, it’s English. It always has been. Sometimes, I wonder if my thoughts were in another language, would I be different? Would my life have turned out differently? Perhaps. You never know, that’s the thing. Hindi Medium made me realise that language has the power to change. I see it every day around me. I see it at work when I try to communicate in Urdu but my vocabulary falls short. I used to see it in school, when people mocked that one kid for speaking in Urdu because God forbid, ...

Read Full Post

The dancing girls

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Relax your diaphragm. Repeat. This was my mantra, at least, these days it was. I tried to tell myself that these three steps would make everything better, would make the way I feel better. But I don’t really think they do. I can see the city lighting up from my window. I know that outside, people are getting ready to leave their houses, and venture out into Karachi’s beauty. I’d be a part of it too, if I could, if I knew how. But the bars on my windows are too strong. They skew ...

Read Full Post