T Hassan

T Hassan

The author is a writer, dreamer, social activist and a Communications Major at California State University. She does Social Media and Marketing for various non-profit organizations and blogs at tabzy.wordpress.com/

Racing towards prejudice: “Those Muslim terrorists are killing innocent people…”

“Those Muslim terrorists are killing innocent people…” I don’t even remember the rest of his sentence. Those words stunned me for a minute. But even as my ears started ringing, I took a couple of deep breaths telling myself,  “He doesn’t know what he is talking about. There is no use pointing out his poor choice of words.” It is ironic that this happened in a class where our 73-year-old African-American Professor, himself a victim of racism, had been teaching us how to recognise the various forms of racism in America that are present even today. “I just want to share an observation”, ...

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Eid away from home isn’t that bad at all

I received a beautiful gift from a complete stranger. I don’t even know her name. It was the last Friday of Ramazan, so I decided to attend the Dua and khatam-e-Quran at my local mosque. Growing up in Lahore, I had never seen the inside of a mosque in my entire life. So, even after more than a decade of living in America, I have rarely gone to my local mosque as I, perhaps, feel that the mosque is a place where men gather. But that Friday, on my birthday no less, I went. As I prayed jammat with women of all colour and creed, ...

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It was my fault

The first time he hit her was on the 17th morning of her wedding ceremony. She had just walked out of the bathroom after a shower, her hair still dripping little droplets of water as she tried to rub them dry with a towel. He was standing in front of the armoire picking out a tie for himself, his back to her. She saw his handsome profile, all sharp lines and edges, and she had smiled to herself blissfully. In that moment she had thought, she was the luckiest girl on earth. This beautiful man, who had the ability to attract people ...

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Is it a burden to have four daughters in a Pakistani society?

“Four daughters?” the woman asked, her eyes wide with a mix of horror, pity and fascination. Then, “Mashallah!” A sympathetic smile, followed by, “They are beautiful. May Allah (SWT) bless them with good kismet (fortune)” I can’t count how many times I have heard these sentences being said to my mother. Different women, same words, same connotations each time. For most of my life it did not bother me. I took it in stride. After all, it is a burden to have four daughters in a Pakistani society. To find an educated husband for them, to painstakingly accumulate their dowry, to train them in the art of keeping house; above all to ensure their ...

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You will always be ‘home’, Pakistan

My heart has been aching since the past week. Day one: I unpacked my suitcases. Day two: I put away the laundry. Day three: I packed lunch for my kids. Day four and five flew by. But, it’s still there. That hollow throbbing ache, it’s in that same spot where I think my heart is meant to be. And it refuses to go. My seven-year-old daughter has asked me at least two dozen times, “Why don’t we live in Pakistan?” Today my three-year old son told me, “Your house is boring Mama, I want to go to Pakistan.” Their questions don’t help my pain. ...

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This mother’s day, I forgot my mother’s birthday

My mother, who remembers all of her five children’s birthdays, who remembers her children’s childrens’ birthdays, if she was ever to forget, I don’t think any of us would let her forget for a long time. If my kids cough too hard I know I can call my mom at three o’clock in her morning and she will tell me 10 things I can do to soothe my child. She will call back, again and again to check up on us, forgetting about her own sleep, and telling me to get some rest even though it will be afternoon at ...

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No matter how old she grows, she’ll always be my baby

Recently, my daughter graduated from kindergarten. The emotions I feel are hard to describe. As clichéd as it sounds, I still remember the first time I held her in my arms. I remember being mesmerised by her dark eyes, as if they still held secrets of the world they had come from, wide awake and looking right into my soul. I remember the feeling that took over me; a feeling more powerful than love, more powerful than any other emotion I had felt before that. I don’t have a name for that emotion. Only a mother knows that emotion and understands it. It ...

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November 19, 2012
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Unspoken words

He watched her from the corner of his eyes as she tried to contain her long, impossibly curly hair into a bun on top of her head. His 5-year-old son was running around in circles making it absolutely impossible for her to put his shoes on him. As she finally grabbed him and started to briskly slide the shoes on his feet, a few wild curls escaped from the bun she had managed to make on her head and she muttered under her breath as she pushed them out of her eyes. He smiled to himself. As she was done getting their ...

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Bravery in the face of cowardice

Even after all these years, sometimes, in my dreams I find myself in the Swat Valley with waterfalls that look like diamonds falling from the peaks of mountains into emerald lakes. I see myself and my cousins, walking on a flimsy bridge as it sways perilously over the river Swat, not daring to look down at the mighty river, flowing with the rage and power of a hundred thousand white horses stampeding un-reined. I see apple orchards and walnut trees. I see children so beautiful, they could be angels. I see beauty. Only beauty and serenity. When my daughter asks me what ...

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October 3, 2012
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All you ever need is you

The moment you recognise that you will always stand alone in a battlefield is the most terrifying moment of your life. For it is the death of all human expectations. That is the moment you stop looking behind your shoulder, with that glimmer of hope that someone will be there to fight beside you. Or rescue you. So fear not. Allow it, instead, to be the most exalting moment of your life; because that is the moment, you recognise finally and irrevocably, your own strength. And then when you look back again, you understand. You stood alone, always. With only Him watching over you. ‘You’ fought all ...

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