#TherapistDiaries: How toxic masculinity impacts fatherhood and other relationships

Who is the strongest man in your life? Did your response comprise of somebody in an authoritative position over you, irrespective of your gender? And what is it that makes this person ‘strong’ in your perception? I remember a time when a certain male cricketer from across the border cried during a match after being slapped by another player. It was in the news for days and we all laughed our hearts out at his tears. Whenever men express their feelings, we call them names that somehow prove they do not fit the golden category of (toxic) masculinity known as ‘macho’. Macho ...

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4 foods to stay away from in the scorching summer heat this Ramazan

“It’s summer! The heat is blazing like the fourth of July, I got the air con on, and it’s blasted on high. So just grab something cool and jump in your ride, Pick up everybody, I’ll be waiting outside!” When your little cousins are out of school and blasting Selena Gomez’s hit song, Summer’s Not Hot, all through the day, you know what’s happening. The summers are finally here and so is the holy month of Ramazan! Now it is time to welcome profuse sweating and never-ending thirst. While the sun looks beautiful glistening in the daylight, any Pakistani will tell you that ...

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#TherapistDiaries: “I feel nothing for my baby” – the conception of postpartum depression

Most of the world celebrated Mother’s Day last week, and this marked yet another year where we overlooked one of the most important factors associated with motherhood: postpartum depression (PPD). For many women, all the labour and sacrifice that goes into creating a child is often not compensated by the birth of said child. Some sacrifices just don’t end with giving birth, and so is the case with this suffering. It is easy to assume that all women fall into the same category when it comes to tolerance to pain, recovering from childbirth and adjusting to daily life with a ...

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Why single-sex schools are failing your children

Recently, I came across diaries of mine from my mid-teenage years. For close to a year, nine out of my 10 diary entries revolved around some boy or another, while the rest revolved around the intensity of my self-hatred because of how the opposite gender made me feel. There were a few entries scattered throughout concerning friends and family, but that was about it. What put me off was that even after flipping through multiple entries it was difficult to come across actual events from the year. All that particular years’ diary covers is boys and their affect on ...

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Why I ditched my chador

When I was in my teens, some 20 years ago, my parents would tell me to wear a chador (a large piece of cloth that is wrapped around the head and upper body) and cover myself every time I would go out of the house. I lived in a small city and my father was widely known. Each time I stepped out of my house, I would cover myself from head to toe, sometimes even the face if I was with my father, as he didn’t want people gazing at his daughter. I understood at the time that this was essential for ...

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Women helped bring PTI to power, and now it turns its back on them

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has presented itself as the party that will bring change to Pakistan and save the human rights record of the country. In this vein, PTI has built its supporter and voter base at the hands of Pakistan’s youth and its women. Women have played a key role in bringing the organisation into power, both in terms of electoral candidates and their participation in its jalsas. These women were ridiculed by other parties but they were encouraged by PTI to play their part as half the population of the country. However, PTI’s record when it comes ...

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Pakistan is not ready for a tourist influx

They say that desperate times call for desperate measures. Pakistan is in an economic crunch at the moment, and with limited options available to bail itself out, the tourism industry could be the much needed light at the end of the tunnel. The recent surge in travel bloggers visiting Pakistan on sponsored trips shows the eagerness of the current government to refurbish Pakistan’s international image. However, this begs the question, does the government have any concrete plans to support the tourism sector beyond just charging a drone and flying it over the mountains? Like any other industry in the world, ...

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Why is the copy culture an ingrained part of education in Sindh?

The culture of mass copying is thriving in Sindh, eroding its education system over the past several decades. As usual, those who suffer the most are the poor students from outlying areas, where access to education is negligible.  Why is this menace still in practice, despite the various legislative and administrative initiatives taken by the Ministry of Education? Legislatively, Sindh was among the other provinces that adopted a bill ensuring the right to education for all in order to claim political fame. Administratively, the Sindh Education Ministry installed a biometric system – the first of its kind in Pakistan – with the aim ...

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Two years in Pakistan made me reconsider my values on parenting

A few years ago, a friend of mine sent me Khalil Gibran’s poem, On Children. Upon reading it, I remember my first thought being, ‘this guy probably didn’t have children of his own’. I was appalled at the things he suggested in his poem. Gibran wrote: “Your children are not your children, They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself, They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.” I got married at the age of 23, and exactly nine months later, I became the mother of a daughter who is ...

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The desi hypocrisy surrounding autism

“Aap ka bacha abnormal hai kya?”  (Is your child abnormal?) The first time I heard the word ‘abnormal,’ I was five. For me, it was an alien word. So when I reached home, I asked my mum what it meant and if my cousin was ‘abnormal’. She just brushed off the question while tending to my newborn sister, not knowing the impact it would have on me later. In light of the fact that World Autism Awareness Day was marked earlier this month, I want to talk about children like my cousin and address the insensitive way in which our desi ...

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