Am I normal?

Published: February 14, 2013

I fear dying alone and living a totally solitary, unloved life.

My parents think I repress my feelings .

They say that I need to be more assertive and understand that my feelings count.

If they knew the degree to which my brain has gone haywire, they would probably search for the nearest asylum to chuck me into.

They say that I have not been honest with them, so I should either start talking or be prepared for weekly sessions with a shrink.

Cruel, isn’t it?

All I did was hide my monthly report card which showed my poor academic performance and questioned my intelligence quotient. It isn’t the most uncommon thing to do, but when your parents have psychoanalysts as friends, even eating two slices of bread with more butter than usual raises questions.

I told them that not a day goes by when I don’t regret what I did. I honestly feel guilty because what I did was wrong, but sending me off to a shrink is a wee bit absurd.

This aggravated the situation to my utter dismay. They said I had mouthed off to them and now I was definitely going to my dad’s rich psychoanalyst friend, uncle Saeed’s clinic.

I gave in. The poor dearies were probably going through some mid-life crisis. I would have to go more for them than myself.

With the dawn of a new day, I was taken to his fancy office.

After exchanging greetings and talking a little with Mr Saeed, my dad shook hands with him and left me with the balding man.

“ Aur, beta, kaisi ho?”

(How are you, child?)

“Um, I’m good, uncle.” I replied, as he stood there nodding, as if agreeing with me.

“Take a seat,” the balding shrink ordered.

I took a seat –  the one as far from his as possible.

“Your parents are quite concerned about your well-being. They say you lie a lot,” he said, brandishing a pen and notepad to write the revelations of my lying soul.

“I don’t.” I replied rather quickly.

Are you lying now?” he asked, chuckling.

Well, I was, but what else was I supposed to say?


“Fine, fine, there’s nothing to worry about,” he said as he stroked his beard like a wise man. “Give me a brief run down about yourself.”

I wasn’t expecting that question. He had watched me grow up before his beady eyes.

“I prey on neighbours and frighten their children. I think pink should be yellow and yellow should be pink. I think metal music is calming. I would probably show cowardice in face of nuclear Armageddon. I kick kittens and make rude gestures at mullahs. I think Sahir Lodhi is the hottest thing since the microwave.”

His eyes stayed on my face while I ranted.

“Okay,” he said smiling.

Great, it looked like my shrink needed a shrink.

“Would you like something to eat?” he inquired.

Suddenly feeling abashed by my outburst, I shook my head.

“Oh, come on. Would you like a pizza?”

The evil man had activated my salivary glands.

“No, thank you, really.”

“All right, now tell me about the things that intimidate you, and why you fear them.”


“I fear dying alone and living a totally solitary, unloved life. That’s probably because I have the sex appeal of a penguin. I fear going blind because then I won’t be able to read and the biggest fear I have these days, is, that my teeth might turn to liquid and drip down the back of my throat. This scares me because what if I choke and keep choking? No one will be able to hear my cries as they’ll take it for gurgling, and at the end, I’ll die. And I don’t want to die yet!”

The wise one wrote it all down, then looked up at me and said.

“Interesting. What to do you want from life?”

“Your head on a pike,” I muttered under my breath.


“Nothing. I don’t want anything. I’m happy with what I have – with who I am. But…”


“This is ridiculous and I want it to stop, please. My sanity is intact and I promise to work on my grades, okay? The real patients are my parents. They went overboard with this!” I finished.

“I know. I only did this to get your father off my back.”

No way! Did he really say that? I could have kissed him right there if it weren’t socially, morally or religiously unacceptable.

“So… Am I normal?”

“You are,” he replied softly.

“Now what?” I asked.

“Now let’s drop you at your house and I’ll have a talk with your father. But, let’s eat first. Pizza, isn’t it? I saw your ears perk up like a cute puppy’s when I mentioned it,” he said.

I like that he thought I was normal. I guess that’s what most people need to be normal – a little bit of reassurance.

Humdah Tahir

Humdah Tahir

An FSc student, being forced to become a doctor. She tweets @pforpariah

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

More by this writer

  • Haq

    Yeh kiya bakwaas hai?
    (What is this junk?)Recommend

  • http://gujrat RAW is WAR

    yes, you are.Recommend

  • Aijaz Haider

    So your parents did the right thing by arranging an appointment with Mr.Saeed.Recommend

  • Usama

    Yup, you’re normal. We all are, despite what people make us think. There’s an awesome book called “What You Think of Me is None of My Business”. So, yes: “The poor dearies were probably going through some mid-life crisis.”

    However, there is absolutely nothing wrong in going for therapy. Doesn’t make one a psycho. But in our culture its seen that way. When I was young, an authority figure once told me, “those goras need therapy because they don’t have anyone to talk to”. This is what some people think here, but its not the case. Therapists help people see different perspectives from what they might have grown up with. As you might’ve heard: “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.”Recommend

  • The Only Normal Person Here.

    This is relatable.Recommend

  • Sundas

    We all are, just on different levels of sanity that is. Recommend

  • Faraz

    nop…not normalRecommend

  • Ahsan Shahzad

    “cute” writing style. :)
    Nice article!Recommend

  • GetReal

    you think ‘sahir lodhi is the hottest thing since the microwave’? Maybe all you needed to be normal is to have not said that lol.Recommend

  • Turbo Lover

    I think metal music is calming too, frankly speaking.Recommend

  • hu

    Wow !!! thisis what I went through ten years back, (was sent to to Dr. Imtiaz).

    Take Care and have faith in yourselfRecommend

  • Amiable

    sometimes we act weired, it’s things and people around us which make us act so. it’s just that we’re always doing efforts to get the right reaction from others and when we fall short of others expectations and they start giving us the most worst reactions that we don’t deserve at all than in return we start doing anything and everything that could prevent us from it. sometimes the very non-sense which may puzzle other’s mind and arise the question ‘wether we’re acting normal or not?’. it’s all normal indeed. Despite of doing any such thing that could create a situation like this if we spit the anger, fear, confusion out of us than it’d be better for us.
    @ sahir lodhi being the hottest person is really a not normal thing. Recommend

  • Parvez

    Good shrink…………… good creative writing.Recommend

  • John B

    If what you have written is the true conversation between the two, then you need some help. The daring give away is “kicking the kitten”.

    You are not depressed but you are repressing your free spirit and is angry that you cannot express it to your full potential. You are extremely intelligent, can deduce others, calculative, and measured in your response when someone challenges you but will not let them go. Not vindictive but won’t let the incidence go and will try you level best to please others until you are satisfied.

    The environment you are living in is not conducive for your spirit and that frustrates you. You understand the schooling but you find it boring and are not giving your potential and you know that and feel guilty when your grades are low.

    Are you normal-yes. Can you go on like this -No, it will only make you unhappy in long run. Will shrink help -No: Solution: talk to your mom and tell her truly how you feel. You need a environment where your spirit of expression, verbal and creative are understood, and such environment starts from home. I have a suspicion that you and your mom are arguing a lot and her views and your views are different but your dad partly understands you but he is frustrated. He has good intentions for you but he does not know how to reach you. Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    Seriously… why would you publish this? I felt dirty reading the blog. This is someone’s private matter with their parents. Seriously. Recommend

  • Sameera

    @John B:

    Good observations but how could you deduce so much from a 800 word blog? I am surprised.

    Indeed, it is hard for girls to express themselves freely in this country . To top it, our society, like many others, adulates quantified success such as kids should always get A grades. So, two different cultural streams- patriarchy and desire for measurable worldy success, has put teenagers, especially, girls under stress.

    Instead of sending daughter or a son to a psychiatrist, parents should teach kids about pursuit of happiness and inner contentment. But that requires de-entanglement from rat race.
    @ Author
    Good effort, dear! You are perfectly normal.Recommend

  • Humdah

    I have never seen The Office.I came across this line while dallying on Tumblr. I only used it as a reference to what I felt.It was perfectl;y normal enough to do so. Like some people use the word “ridonkulous”-from Shrek-instead of ridiculous.I *should have used quotation marks*.I’ll keep that in my mind in the future.Recommend

  • Naam to suna hoga

    You think Sahir Lodhi is the hottest thing since microwave? There is definitely something wrong here. This is not normal at all.Recommend

  • Dr Khan

    Hang in there! Things will work out.Recommend

  • RT

    I see some of you didn’t get the humor in there. Yes, I’d call that humor, “bizarre” or “uncanny” but that is the way some authors like to go about. Nevermind the critics. The author should feel encouraged by this. And OKAY she dubbed a line from some TV-Series, pl tell me “WHO HASN’T?”. Yes, the Bollywood effect. But need I remind you that almost 70% of our population is always found glued to those Hollywood-REPLICA. I am saddened by the fact that our own people judge us for no reason, in the cruelest of manners and they’d go down on their knees to the white skin and west. Recommend

  • akay47

    definitely this happens on the other side of the bridge, clifton bridge i.e. ;)Recommend

  • Zara

    This is awesome. Your humour,creativity and way of writing is just too good. I am impressed and am so proud of you. Good work and Woman you should write more :D Recommend

  • Anon

    This is crap.
    Clearly taken snippets from different books and it seems tv shows and put them together to make herself seem “cool” “dark” “weird” with the universal emo theme of “we are all weird and weird makes us normal”.
    Uff get over yourself.
    ET, there was a time when I would look forward to reading the Blog section of your site, now I cringe everytime I come to this part. Recommend

  • Chulbul Pandey

    @Parvez: Parvez mian, great comment. However: Bhains ke aage Been bajane se kya faida :)Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Chulbul Pandey: Keya pata bhains nachney lagay…………Recommend

  • Unknown

    piece of junk…!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Chulbul Pandey


    Ha ha :-D Good point. Optimism indeed is a good thing. I have been reading your comments and find them to be very reasonable. May your tribe grow, my friend.

    PS. I do wanna try playing “Munni Badnaam Hui” tune on the Been in front of a “Bhains”, next time I visit my village :-D I will upload the video on youtube and send you the link :-DRecommend

  • Parvez

    @Chulbul Pandey: Much appreciated.Recommend

  • jibby

    Find better use of your time. Read books & stop lifting lines from tv shows and movies. “Your head on a pike”? Seriously? If such crazy thoughts did actually rattle through your head, you should feel no shame in returning to your uncle for more sessions. Personally, I don’t think your time with the psychologist should be documented into a blog & posted for the world to see. Good luck finding a real job after this. Any potential employer can Google your name & land here.Recommend

  • Hadia

    I sense major overreactions in some of the comments above.

    “Normal”, to me, doesn’t exist. If it does, it’s a very relative thing. I see nothing unusual in your thoughts, or your actions for that matter, except the fact that you expressed yourself. In your place, another might stay quiet, repress what they’re feeling. The writer’s straightforwardness is appreciated.

    Exploration of one’s self is by far the most difficult. Thank you for giving us an insight into yours.Recommend

  • Ahsan

    So in the end your parents did a pretty good job sending you to the doctor uncle.
    You must have realized that by now !
    So thank them for setting up an appointment with a psychologist.
    We all need that kind of help at some point in our life ! maybe…. Recommend

  • yatin

    Your article is honest and insightful. I hope you keep writing and further develop your voice…because it is there, and its very interesting. Its refreshing you didn’t censor yourself here while still crafting a story other readers ‘can get’.Recommend

  • Sonia

    @ Hadia – ‘Exploration of one’s self is by far the most difficult’. Well said!

    @ author – I loved reading it.Recommend