Ladies, if you think your man is #goals, you definitely need to raise the bar!

Ladies, have you ever been told that you have ‘really high standards’ when it comes to men? That you need to lower the threshold a bit, otherwise you will never ‘find anyone’? Or that you need to make some ‘compromises’ to be in a relationship? When it comes to dating or finding a husband, women are constantly told they cannot find a ‘perfect guy’, which is why they should just be happy and settle for a man who seems to be a reasonably okay person. If the ‘boys will be boys’ trope wasn’t enough, it has been made very clear to women ...

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#TherapistDiaries: How to move on from divorce and why it’s harder for women

Is there a good time to end a marriage?  Is it better to wait and let things pile on in hopes of a better future?  The possibilities are endless.  A lot of couples seek help from therapists not knowing whether they want a divorce or have just given up trying to make the marriage work. Most of these couples hope that the therapist would make the decision for them, but that’s not how it works. A marriage counsellor or a marital therapist may not be the answer to these questions because at the end of the day, it is the couple’s choice and decision. However, a therapist ...

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It’s time to stop poking the bear, India

Our national identity, stemming from the word ‘Pakistani’, represents far more than just our citizenship. It runs in our blood, it is our life and we are willing to die for it. Twitter and Facebook are full of patriots who are at the frontlines of our social media war with India, but are we prepared to face the consequences of a real war which is imminent on both sides? Of course it is easy for us to say we can beat India, while sitting in front of television screens in the comfort of our homes. But war implies the death of ...

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Dear India, here are 7 enlightening lessons to end the blame game. Sincerely, Pakistan!

The Pulwama attack was an unfortunate tragedy and an act of terrorism; one that should be investigated and the perpetrators held accountable. However, it seems that India is more concerned with upholding its anti-Pakistan narrative for a political agenda than actually trying to get justice or finding a solution for the Kashmir issue.  The already tense dynamic between the two countries has escalated quickly and relations seem worse than they have been in a long time. But while Pakistan tries to use diplomacy and backchannels to call for peace, India seems to be too busy beating the drums of war. ...

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#TherapistDiaries: Do you think you’re in an abusive marriage?

Her family thought that “she liked being abused by her spouse”. In fact, those were the actual words of her own mother. Her friends and co-workers thought the same. She kept on going back to the husband who embarrassed her in front of people over her appearance and body weight. She kept going back to the husband who used to beat her black and blue, and she had to go to work with bruises on her face. Eventually, he made her leave her job too and the abuse stopped for a while, only to trigger the worst physical and sexual abuse phase ...

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Alamgir Khan should #FixIt more like an MNA and less like a rebel

Karachi has been facing serious water and sanitation issues. The sitting government of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) seems to be completely unmoved and unconcerned about the plight of the common man of this city. A plethora of promises were made, cosmetic measures were taken but to no avail. Despite bringing in Chinese contractors for lifting and disposing garbage, the city still paints a sorry picture. A picture of neglect and abandonment. FixIt was a movement initiated by Alamgir Khan, a resident of Karachi and a business graduate of Iqra University. He came into the limelight with his legendary manhole ...

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Rescuing the dying reading culture of Pakistan

Pakistani classrooms usually do not encourage questioning amongst students, but can we really blame the classroom for a trait we are socialised into from the beginning? Thus, when I became a teacher, I made sure to always encourage questioning by responding in a positive manner, turning whatever was being formally discussed into a casual conversation. Recently, however, I was asked a question that left me astonished. An undergraduate student in one of my classes, a rather intelligent kid, asked me why reading books was so important. In his words: “We live in a visual world, then why do you keep emphasising reading ...

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I’m sorry, but I do not blame Shakeela for drowning her baby

It was an ordinary Tuesday evening and I was putting my three-year-old to bed, praying that her fever does not relapse and that she feels well enough to go to school the next morning. As I watched her gently fall asleep, I felt guilty for scolding her earlier in the day. I love her dearly, of course, but I too am human and have not been sleeping particularly well since the past week because she has been sick. I planned on taking advantage of the Kashmir Day holiday to sleep in late, but her tantrums spoiled all such plans. I took a deep ...

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Drone attacks, Pakistan and its love-hate relationship with the US: In conversation with Noam Chomsky

“Professor Noam Chomsky doesn’t do documentary interviews anymore.” The office assistant told me in her soft tone, pronouncing the alphabet R in a typical Boston accent. She added that they have 500 interview requests already. “Listen. You tell him that I am his biggest fan, and if there is one person out of the 501 who deserves to meet with him, it is me,” I retorted. She laughed and before hanging up the phone said, “Alright, I will tell him exactly that.” Soon after, I received an email from Professor Chomsky’s office confirming the exact date and time of the meeting. Immediately, I flew to Boston ...

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#TherapistDiaries: The dilemma of being in the closet in Pakistan

I was recently discussing with a patient about how in our culture we do not like to disappoint our parents and would put up with any unreasonable demands and rules just to escape an irrational guilt of hiding something from them or revealing our true selves. This overwhelming guilt or anxiety is experienced even in the most casual rules they set early on in our lives regarding food, friends, religion and so on. For instance, in our society, a 30-plus working adult would rarely challenge these irrational rules and if they do, they carry a great amount of guilt in ...

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