Why do you hate me, mother?

Published: December 1, 2012

Throughout her life, someone had always been superior to Sarah. She had been compared on intelligence, grades, looks and manners.


14-year-old Sarah high-fives her best friends as the tenth grade final exam results are announced. Her grin could not have been wider when she hears her name being announced as the second place position holder.

She could see flashbacks of the midnight alarms she had set all year round so that she could wake up to study and the gruelling extra sessions with her teachers. They remind her of the colossal amount of work she had put in to accomplish this feat. As she runs towards the stage, she feels like she’s on top of the world.

Sarah reaches home, her arms swinging merrily by her sides as she hurries to show the result to her mother, a proud smile on her face. She rushes towards her mother who is slicing vegetables in the kitchen and cheerfully extends her arm to her. Mama snatches the sheet from Sarah’s hand and Sarah feels her heart shoot up to her throat as she sees the frown forming on her mother’s face. She gives Sarah a furious look and says;

Alizeh first aayi hai apni class meinTum thori aur mehnat karti toh Alizeh ki tarhan first aati, second nahi.

(Alizeh came first in her class. Had you worked a little harder, you would have secured the first position like Alizeh, and not second.)

Sarah’s jaw drops open and she is stunned into silence. She feels a lump forming in her throat and cannot believe her ears. All her hopes of being hugged and appreciated by mama evaporate into thin air. Like always, mama had compared her to Alizeh, Sarah’s older sister.

Discouraged and dispirited, Sarah locks herself in her room and collapses on the bed; the result sheet tightly gripped in her hand and closes her eyes for what feels like an eternity. She lets the tears flow freely ─ tears that threaten to rip a hole through her soul if she doesn’t let go of them.

Throughout her life, someone had always been superior to Sarah. She had been compared on intelligence, grades, looks and manners. But now, Sarah was exhausted – exhausted of trying to prove herself to her mama, and her world which revolved around pleasing her, begins to spin in the opposite direction.

Last month:

A month earlier, Sarah had eavesdropped enviously as her mama pampered and encouraged Alizeh to fill out the form for the junior quiz competition. Despite the age group being one where Sarah could participate too, mama never pressed Sarah to take part the way she pressed Alizeh. As Sarah sat beside her mother, her mama commented casually:

“Agar tumhara dimagh Alizeh ki tarhan hoshyaar hota, toh tum bhi part le sakti.”

(If you had an intelligent brain like Alizeh, you, too, could have taken part.)

Sarah had instantly left the room; a small, growing hole of disappointment and worthlessness already formed in her heart. This was the not first time she had allowed herself to weep over what her mama had said.

Six months earlier:

Sarah, Alizeh and mama had attended a wedding. Sarah, bored out of her mind, started playing ‘rock, paper, scissor’ with her little cousin when her name being called out aloud immediately captured her attention. A woman sitting at the same table as they were had just asked her mama that who amongst her two daughters was more like her. Mama, without a minute’s hesitation had turned her head and replied nonchalantly:

“Definitely Alizeh. She is always on top of her class. Sarah looks like me but her brain doesn’t.’

The topic was finished and forgotten but Sarah felt herself break the moment the words were uttered. She felt like her self-esteem had been hit by a bus and she looked at Alizeh, making a quiet list of all that she lacked. For the first time in her life, Sarah felt insignificant, dejected and truly wished she was born as Alizeh and not as herself. She looked towards her mama, who was busy chatting, and wondered if she knew how much she had hurt Sarah with her mere sentence.

Due to these words of comparison, friction developed between Sarah and Alizeh. Two girls who once had been best friends now had nothing in common but a deteriorated relationship with each other. Against her will, Sarah fretted over all she lacked and coaxed herself to look, sit, speak like Alizeh and even adopt her studying habits.

She wanted to hate her mother for being so mean to her, but she couldn’t. Sarah worshipped the ground her mama walked on and wanted to keep trying until she earned the praise she was hungry for.


Sarah opens her eyes, and stifles a yawn.

She rubs her eyes and looks out of the window only to realise that it is past midnight and that she had fallen asleep. Her result sheet, although crumpled, is still gripped tightly in her hands. Her legs find the marble floor and she makes her way out of her bedroom only to hear raised voices. She cautiously moves forward and catches a glimpse her parents fighting in the living room.

Her mother is crying and pleading her husband to forgive her for the affair she was caught having over 15 years ago. Her voice quivers as she admits she has hated herself ever since then and hates anything that reminds her of her foolishness.

Sarah gasps and feels tears slide down her face as the realisation dawns on her that she will turn 15 next week.

Read more by Javeria here.

Javeria Khalid Petiwala

Javeria Khalid Petiwala

A student based in Karachi, an ardent debater, and a Master Chef fan, she loves writing and travelling.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Pessimist


  • Sameena

    Wow. Such an unexpected ending. Very well written Javeria! You really have a talent for writing short stories!Recommend

  • The K

    You seem quite impressed by the Indian Dramas….Recommend

  • I.

    oh yes, seemed like a star-plus inspired story.
    bt interesting to read esp th jaw-dropping ending!Recommend

  • Mrs.Hina Talha

    OH MY GOD .Jaweria, it is totally owsum.I like it. Keep it up Recommend


    The punishment should be 4 the mother and not for the child…its never the childs fault for any illegal affairs their parents go through..Sarahs mother has no right to hate her..

    Children at all level should be treated equally……….Recommend

  • Pamela

    Beautiful. So beautifully writtten.Recommend

  • Samira

    This was really awesum as always…you rock girlieeeeeeeeeeeeRecommend

  • Shoaib Sattar

    Sarah has been punished for the sin she is not responsible of. And, the pathetic most part of the story is this that she has been punished by the person who committed the sin for her own libido and Sarah was simply a helpless outcome. Shame on her so called mother.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Right from the beginning you let the reader know that you’re going somewhere with this and you compel the reader to go along until the little dramatic end. Nicely done. Recommend

  • http://www.ayeshapervez.com Ayesha Pervez

    Hey Javeria! Unexpected endings are always so exciting! :) Javeria while I was reading your story I was thinking how hard it must be to be compared to your sibling all the time, I have a younger sister and thankfully my parents have always kept a great balance between us… though I am better than her in some aspects and she better than me in others lol! Parents should always keep a balance… great story :) Keep it up!Recommend

  • Insaan

    Author “Her mother is crying and pleading her husband to forgive her for the affair she was caught having over 15 years ago. Her voice quivers as she admits she has hated herself ever since then and hates anything that reminds her of her foolishness.”

    She was caught 15 years ago, why is she asking for forgiveness now? There is no mention of father treating Sarah differently.Recommend

  • lovePaj

    Parents only do so because they want their children to excel in all fields of life. Articles belittling their effort should not be posted, they are a threat to family life which is something special our country has which a lot of “civilized” countries have lost.Recommend

  • Fatimah Ahmad

    Javeria! Such an unexpected ending. but the writeup was really interesting. It was a lovely experience reading your story…Looking forward to more from you. keeep it up! :)Recommend

  • Hira

    Overall the article was really well written. You have captured the feelings of Sarah so beautifully.
    A really nice short story! Nice work!Recommend

  • Talha

    Teri to, yeh kya hua?Recommend

  • rehman

    Sorry, but it kinda blew.Recommend

  • Huma

    chalo, at least u didnt have her committing suicide in the end!Recommend

  • GhostRider

    This is what you call ending with a bang…its seems you hate sara too…why add insult to the injury to an already dejected and suicidal soul. Recommend

  • Haseeb Talal Khan

    Fiction at its best…..The end always be unexpected….Sarah a truly hated child not because of her short comings but due to the short comings of her mother….Recommend

  • JazbatiJhaaru

    hawww. can i do a bollywood inspired soundtrack to this?Recommend

  • Javeria

    Hahaha, one of the best stories I have read in a long time!
    Poor Sarah!:(
    Your writing style is amazing. Really nice work done Javeria!!Recommend

  • http://Www.google.com Saeed swabian

    Blockbuster read!!!!!!!
    Well done author…Recommend

  • shuja ul islam

    OHHHHHHhhhOHHHOHOHOHOHOHOH…caught me right in the gut…ending changed my whole opinion on the article..!!Recommend

  • Saleha

    Beautifully written story. Shows how parents are capable of blaming children’s for their faults!Recommend

  • Critique

    I agree with K. You seem VERY impressed by Indian dramas. If the mother was caught 15 years earlier, why is she asking for forgiveness now? Its good but this is a topic much pursued over the last few years. We’re all dying to see something else.Recommend

  • Insaan

    yeah! I hate it when people write stories that has the person committing suicide in the end.Recommend

  • Mastercheffan

    I so dont like it when parents compare siblings. You must be feeling so bad about being compared. Thjat makes two of us. CiaoRecommend

  • mutahera

    awsume story!! keep it up javeria.Recommend

  • Shanze

    A really good story.
    your blogs are very well written.Recommend

  • person

    Puhleese…this article is FICTION. That means that the author isn’t really getting compared in real life. J.K. Rowling wasn’t a witch, Stephanie Meyers didn’t meet vampires and werewolves and not all stories are biographies of real life. Its a story.Recommend