Let’s give Shaista Wahidi a break

Published: April 10, 2013
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I'm not a Shaista Lodhi fan, but i was irked by how people on social media kept taking her divorce as "a big drama". PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Shaista Wahidi, sometimes referred to as Dr Shaista or Shaista Lodhi is Sahir Lodhi’s sister. The brother-sister duo have a way of ruffling both the wrong feathers and the right ones; they can be called ‘famous’ or ‘infamous’.

Shaista is one of Pakistani television’s most known faces. People have loved her and have been irritated by her simultaneously, but have not been able to ignore her. We have talked about her antics, her typical laughter in which she covers her face with her hand, her metamorphosis in how her face looks and have broken her down multiple times.

One of the most consistent faces on the mini screen, she disappeared for a few months, only to appear again on a promo the night before her re-venturing on Geo’s morning show. While Shaista looked the same, perhaps a bit slimmer than usual (which has also been inviting speculation), something about her had changed. Skimming through channels, once I caught sight of her on this show, I couldn’t change the channel. While it was very obviously a promo show meant to create hype of her return to the mega screen, parts were real – one could see a real person beneath the glamour.

She was asked about what she did in this hiatus of a few months and she confessed to having re-discovered her faith and religion, of having started to enjoy her namaz. She said she had found what she took too long to discover. She was moved to tears, almost choking, as she shared how she had discovered realities of faith. An almost worried Ahsan Khan hosting the show called for a break.

For those who still wondered, Shaista confirmed that she was no longer married to the father of her children. She said as to ‘why’ the marriage didn’t last, this was her personal business but maintained that her children’s father is a “very good father” and that she didn’t intend on bad-mouthing him on TV.

(Shaista with her children. PHOTO: PUBLICITY)

And this is the point where this blog needed to be written.

Here was a woman going through what was  very clearly a tough time in her life. She paid the price for being a celebrity and gracefully handled the questions, rather than pretending that this chapter never happened in her life.

Yet, in a very typical voyeuristic pattern, while people devoured the air time and watched Shaista carefully on the show, social media in the following hours started showing comments in which everybody thought all she did was “a big drama”. Sadly, when it comes to celebrities, we are mind-readers, clairvoyants and know-it-alls.

Being a woman and a mother, I know what a soft spot children hold in a parent’s heart. I believe that people suggesting that Shaista was using her divorce and children to gain publicity was callous. Why do we assume the worst of celebrities, it baffles me.

Others were upset as to why she talked about her divorce on television. “How low can these celebrities go for fame?” they were asking on social media.

(Shaista Lodhi with her husband before they got divorced. PHOTO: SCREENSHOT)

I am not trying to be the devil’s advocate, but simply in the spirit of empathy, I imagined what any woman would do in her situation.

In a live television show, with live calls from the viewership, any and every kind of question can be asked. A media person in her position does not have the liberty of pretending that something never happened; she has to face what happened and be answerable even in the most intimate matters of her life.

That must be tough.

Ironically, one of the most difficult things for a woman to live up to is divorce in our society, and playing directly in to this statement was peoples’ response on Shaista’s divorce.

On Shaista finding solace in God, there were crude prophecies that “Shaista will play her religion card in the upcoming Ramadan. It is a publicity gimmick!”.

It is also not easy for people here to accept that one is drawn towards religion. A backlash starts, in which a person is placed under a microscope, in which perfection is expected. Celebrities who have begun to tilt towards religion have had a tough time in our society. Ironically, those very people who feel as though religious people are too judgmental are quick to judge those who as much as mention a connection with God.

But for me the saddest part is how bitter and mistrusting we have become. Celebrity or not, we no longer take people at face value and assume negative intentions on the part of others. We call it realism.

We call believing what people say naivety.

This is surprising when we are all too willing to wipe a tear on listening to celebrities talk their hearts out on Oprah, but we seem to just scoff and mock when those closer to home do the same.

Dr Shaista is not known to me and I am not particularly a fan of the woman, but she is a woman on a journey like all of us and has had some ups and downs in her life. It is not my place to decide whether her decisions were right or wrong, nor can I say with surety what is in her heart. All I can do is wish her the best of luck, and get on with my life.

Shouldn’t we all do the same?

What will we achieve from ripping her dignity to shards?

Read more by Farahnaz here or follow her on Twitter @FarahnazZahidi

Farahnaz Zahidi

Farahnaz Zahidi

Farahnaz is a writer and editor, and has worked as the Features Editor with The Express Tribune. Her focus is human-centric feature stories. She now writes as a freelancer, and works in the field of marketing and corporate communications. She loves literature and traveling. She tweets on @FarahnazZahidi. Her work can be seen at chaaidaani.wordpress.com/

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

  • Sid

    Seriously, I mean seriously………Recommend

  • Najam

    It’s not a surprise to see here paying the price for fame but ironically it was her own decision and the unbalance they (morning hosts) create in their lives almost always leads to devastating consequences.

    Secondaly I disagree with the title of this article. Even after divorce and mentally exhausting situation, now she is crying on tv asking for sympathy for being in tough situation which was a direct result of her own decisions. Recommend

  • Amer

    Pakistan is a land where people eat, drink and sleep conspiracy thories and gossip. So, nothing surprises me anymore… I guess people should not get any sympathy for themselves when they gossip about others constantly.Recommend

  • SAL

    She wasted one medical seat to a deserving student had she planned to change her profession. There should be restriction that a Dr should be an honorable Dr till the end of his life.Recommend

  • http://mezaajedeen.blogspot.com Tribune Reader

    Seriously, I mean seriouslyRecommend

  • Coke

    I think you need a Jadoo ki JhappiRecommend

  • Stranger

    When some one wants fame and name , get ready for the minus points too. When she got ready to come on TV and be a known figure, she should have anticipated all ‘these’ talks too.Its a part of the game.Recommend

  • Amna

    Good Post. I agree. Recommend

  • http://www.risingkarachi.blogspot.com Nouman Ahmed

    Hats off to you authorRecommend

  • Heeni

    Dear Farahnaz

    Thank you for such a realistic article. I think it’s time people throw their heads in shame and stop judging people regardless of whether their sincere or not. If people turn around and say ‘God is watching, so don’t publicise religion or call for sympathy’, they should also remember that God is watching them while they point fingers at others. Regardless of her intentions, or anyone else’s, the public needs to learn how to use social media effectively as opposed to slagging people/commodities off. Unfortunately we have turned into a society who thrives on belittling others in order to feel better about ourselves- we’ve turned society personally insecure.

    I really hope people begin to reassess themselves and also how to tackle ‘real’ issues via social media and not undermine people just to keep their tweets or Facebook status’s/updates rolling every second and to promote themselves as ‘highly opinionated and intellectual’ individuals who know about the world based on: NO HARD FACTS! Recommend

  • OJ

    Well written – whilst Shaista is the example I would think that the theme of Article is what people must understand. Privacy matters whether one is a celebrity or not. But I guess we are a nation of people who are more interested in knowing whats cooking in the house next door. Recommend

  • saad

    Not a fan? I doubt it!Recommend

  • Sonia K

    Having seen this lady off screen- her antics and her thinking- again I am not a fan- on the contrary I never watched her show- coz I know what kind of lady she is. Dear your write up seems tilted.

    How much she has discovered is between her and her God!! Not a soul can decide!

    Btw divorce in our society is no more a taboo- it is on such a rise that one hears on average a single case per month and lawyers deal with so many. Divorcees do get married. So making divorce a crying matter on TV is really a ‘drama’ unless it was finding God that made her cry!!!

    Btw when did she become a celeb???Recommend

  • Parvez

    Always like reading your views but on this one you’ve gone out on a limb. When one chooses to become a public figure , he or she clearly understands that nothing remains private thereafter.
    Recommend

  • Amber

    A very good post,Shaista is really a well known figure of industry weather people like her or not. It is really a turning point of her life when she was having a family with three children. It is our moral duty as a nation to not judge her and donot make a negative propaganda about her.Recommend

  • Final Solution

    On Shaista finding solace in God, there were crude prophecies that “Shaista will play her religion card in the upcoming Ramadan. It is a publicity gimmick!”.

    Of course it is. Recommend

  • junaid

    i simply call her a SALEBRITY…..not CELEBRITYRecommend

  • ak

    Being a talk show host for a national TV channel is being a brand on your own. Brands need a consistent message in order to breed brand loyalty. If you keep changing your image every now and then, your loyalty falters… which is something OUR celebs gone religious don’t seem to get. This is a SHOW we’re talking about. There is never an interest in the REAL person behind the mask. The media is a show and simply that. People successful in it now that and have mastered it… and some are learning… we are just the audience. Yes, there must be a real person behind the mask- but once in media… you only display the brand image.Recommend

  • Arcane

    “What will we achieve from ripping her dignity to shards?”

    It’s showbiz it’s a package deal? stop whining. Religious ladies dont dance on screen.Recommend

  • Loki

    I am also tired of this sick mentality of people our people just dont understand we should just give her a breakRecommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/MohammedSumairKolia Mohammed Sumair

    The Keoy Point* Shaista’s typical laughter in which she covers her face with her hand.Recommend

  • Zulfiqar Ali

    I couldn’t understand that why these celebs are facing these kind of domestic problems after their success in media OR Showbiz? but frankly speaking divorce is a situation where both of them (Husband OR Wife) should be held responsible for this.
    Now whether husband is feeling jealous OR wife is behaving like she did not behave before getting success and fame . So farahanaz ji at this level of relationship when your children are about to enter in teenage Care should be taken by both . beside being a male i would like to tell that behaviours have some universal facts as Male and Female it is proven that whenever Female is getting out of her limits which she did not before , at that point these things are happened.
    and as a male i must admit that our males are more egoist then any males in the world , i am living in Hong Kong and hong Kong males are very sweet they even carry the purse of their wives, and one of my chinese friend tell me that it is very hard to get married chinese girl because chinese girls are very demanding and chinese women dont like to cook and mostly in the day they get their lunch and dinners in hotels. So in our society this is very sad that Female has to compromise always. Recommend

  • http://gmail.com Iftekhar Khokhar

    @OJ: People like Shaista, while delivering sermon forget they have to prove everything they said. Eventually, they fail when there is a contradiction of their quote & practice. Thus, we may discuss any celebrity, a politician, a “waiz” etc etc with regard to his/her conduct.\ She preferred to save her career!!!! Above all, she has brought bad name to decency. In my opinion, she should avoid hosting a show/appearance in public following her obstinate demeanour. “Recommend

  • Sana Sohail

    Dear Farahnaz,

    Thanks for speking up for what is right! I really wish and hope our Pakistanies may learn some manners..We have forgotten our values and ethics..without knowing the person and the situation he/she is in start passing judgements and criticism is our most favourite pastime as if Allah has given us the right to stamp who is good and who is bad wow! I have a question for the people who freely and quite boldly pass bad comments about others..Are you really so perfect that criticising others?
    In my closing lines I woudl like to comment on one of the expression you have used in the article “Sahir Lodhi & Dr. Shaista Wahidi famous or infamous” Ask anyone on the social media do you know Sahir Lodhi & Dr. Shaista…I can bet 100% the reply shall come Yes!

    Regards,

    Sana Sohail Recommend

  • Queen Bee

    What was this article about? And what are we exactly doing it here again? Same thing.

    If she is being a dramebraz or whatever, that is not for us to judge. She is going through a transition and before celebrity, she is a human! So let’s just give her atleast the respect and privacy a normal human being deserves. Recommend

  • http://www.tanzeel,wordpress.com Tanzeel

    Shaista Wahidi for Prime Minister.Recommend

  • Rubinasd

    I haerd she got married to jang groups owner!
    Recommend

  • umer

    wasted 10 mins reading this blog.Recommend

  • Pakistan

    @Sana Sohail: Sahir Lodhi & Dr. Shaista Wahidi famous or infamous” Ask anyone on the social media do you know Sahir Lodhi & Dr. Shaista…I can bet 100% the reply shall come Yes!

    What are you trying to say. Everybody know Asif Zardari as well so that means he is very good person.Recommend

  • Mlh

    @author

    RESPECT! Recommend

  • Agnostic Khan

    If they wash their dirty linen in public then they should be prepared to face the consequences….unfortunately thats how our voyeuristic and sadistic society works….however, it doesnt change the fact that their family is infamous for their on-screen antics and they run some of the lousiest shows on tv….Recommend

  • Skeptical

    One thing I want to point out here is if she has started Namaz doesnt mean that she has become religious…..Namaz is something all Muslims should observe as a mandatory ritual.
    They do or dont that’s their personal matter but praying 5 times a day doesnt make a person religious!!!
    Being religious carry another characteristics which she definitely does not follow.

    Her divorce news is all hyped up because of her ownself. Being a showbiz personality she is not obligated to respond public about her personal matters. Nonetheless she herself gets into such stunts and give leverage to public to ask her personal questions.Recommend

  • Sane

    What a silly blog post and the discussion.Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/bohotsaara Sarah B. Haider

    If people won’t be nosy, how will they retain their Pakistaniat?Recommend

  • afza siddiqui

    crying on screen is indeed dramabaazi. this is her art and she does it well !!!
    even if she has been through a bad patch she should learn to re compose as a celebrity.
    an example is chef tahira mateen,she has been through the worst what fate can bring to a lady still she returned with dignity and composure and people are feeling for her pain,sending her blessings and seeing her as inspiration. i hope spirituality brings something good out of ms.lodhi as well!!Recommend

  • S

    I swear !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! @Sid:Recommend

  • S

    I mean comeonnnn!!!! seriously??? can you please explain why is she geeting married to Geo’s owner RIGHT after her divorce?Recommend

  • S

    I absolutely agree with you! And she repeated that 3 or 4 times which just confirms [email protected]:Recommend

  • S

    Exactly!!!! @Sonia K:Recommend

  • S

    hahaahahaa … true dat! @Final Solution:Recommend

  • S

    Exactly!! @Arcane:Recommend

  • S

    lol @Mohammed Sumair:Recommend

  • S

    Yes! Hence the Divorce! and HENCE all the drama!Recommend

  • S

    Exactly! @Pakistan:Recommend

  • S

    So darn true! @Agnostic Khan:Recommend

  • S

    I absolutely agree with you on this! @Skeptical:Recommend

  • Bilal

    It seems this article has gathered all famous and infamous conspiricies and gossips relating this lady in person. I wonder, if this this article was any thing useful for her cause, or just a mix of all different (and probably baseless) allegations.Recommend

  • Sana Sohail

    @Pakitan & S: How very sad the whole message is ignored and read last lines only…We Pakistanies most favourite Pastime “Criticism” I was right na! Indeed as a whole nation we need to change our behaviour. Please forgive me if my words did hurt your emotions.

    Regards, Recommend

  • ss

    does she leave others alone?Recommend

  • SFK

    okay, day di break! Khush? Recommend

  • SF

    Please give us a break!!!!Recommend

  • Bilal

    I have nothing to do with Shaista or her divorce,but after reading this blog one question came in my mind if you are right then “Why divorce ratio is very high in celebrities marriage’s then others?”Recommend

  • http://www.linkagoal.com sara-J

    @ S its not true that Shaista married with Geo Owner so kindly don’t criticize her without knowing anything … Recommend

  • Zia Syed

    There is a price to pay for being a celebrity. Recommend

  • http://facebook.com/kursed Khawar

    Morning Shows are Cursed with Divorce: Farah Hussain, Shaista Wahidi….Maaya Khan: You are next :DRecommend

  • M.Saeed

    Shaista is no more Wahidi but a wahid (single) parent of her kids.
    One can well imagine the ordeal she must have been through but, we are all humans. Even celebrities and their families are all humans breathing the same air like the ordinary.
    After going through such cases of celebrities one can very well understand that, in our own conservative context, a high-rising woman is almost tabooed.
    Shaista was earning a colossal fortune on daily basis and her husband must have felt insecure living on his wife’s almost limitless resources. Such things are natural that hyper-secure ladies tend to become increasingly “bossy” in their married lives. That makes the life uneasy for husband because, his position as family’s breadwinner has been seriously subdued by his fabulously rich wife, making him almost irrelevant in family, especially in decision makings. Therefore tolerance fades fast and slightest disagreements can lead to such drastic limits of permanent separations.Recommend

  • Adnan Ameer Syed

    One reason besides other is premature age marriage with significant age difference between themRecommend

  • Capt Andy

    Time will tell. But she broke heart of loving mother in law, (we live three house away from her former in laws house)
    I know her and Waqar bhai personally. You guys feel for screen play but inside story you guys doesnt know.
    She bard Waqar bhai from meeting her children, protecting them with security guards, waqar bhai gave her all the support to rise as anchor and media person, but she went far.
    I dont want to call her with names but its shame that how our nation without knowing inside takes sides.. Recommend

  • Historian 1

    @ Bilal
    “Why divorce ratio is very high in celebrities marriage’s then others?”

    First of all celebrities are far far less in numbers compared to others. Second, a celebrity divorce immediately comes to limelight due to obvious reasons.

    Wise female celebrities leave showbiz after marriage and particularly after having children. Famous examples in Bollywood are Madhuri Dixit, Ashwariya Roy, Shilpa shetty, Kajol, Twinkle Khanna, Saira bano and many more living happy married life.

    Similarly Angelena Jolie, Victoria Beckham, Kate Winslet and many more in Hollywood.Recommend

  • Doc Khan

    If there comes a point in life where one has to made critical choices, I think loyality of wife and caress of mother should pronounce over every thing else, if not so then be a celeberity or saleberity same same. Affections, emotions are secondary to lust for money or popularity.
    But I am a fan so my sympathies with her, beyond above mentioned philosphy. Keep smiling and keep covering your face with hand,best of luck further.Recommend

  • Kamran Abdullah

    It’s a play game and offcourse Money Matters!Recommend

  • fawzia

    Even In a liberal society like US, president Clinton was not accepted of his scandels, how do you expect a conservative society will let go of shaista s wrong doings. To be a celebrity does not ask you to pay a price of it, to be a wrong doer pays the price. Actress shabnum, shahnaz sheikh,ansari samina Pirzada all are celebrities but di not pay any price such as divorce or home breaking or letting innocent kids away from their father. Recommend

  • uddin

    she wasnt think about her 3kids i mean she is 40 now she is not a teenage girl she is selfish i dont think her husband was bad reality is another.Recommend

  • ayesha

    paki citizens needs to get a life instead of poking their noses in other’s business >.>
    its her life, let her live…

    PeaceRecommend

  • Nadia Khan

    Farhanaz u hv written a very good and decent blog. This shud be hw others shud write about celebrities as well, i hv never seen such a blog which has no scandals, no bad gossips etc, before.

    I felt very positive after reading this, may u hv so much success in this positivity.

    Thank you Recommend

  • ZERMIN SALMAN

    SO SADRecommend

  • Open Minded

    @SAL:
    Dont tell me you watch Dr. Phill (USA) everyday! As if doctors are honorable in our country they rather ask for money from someone dying than help them. Please look around and see where our country over all is heading. Recommend

  • Open Minded

    If same was done to J.LO or Will Smith or to some other local celebrity in States our people would be so upset and would say nothing but feel sorry. When same thing is done close to home our people become so unreal and close mind. End of the day she is a woman who is facing real issues. Stop juding, cant ‘change’ Pakistan unless we change our thinking.Recommend

  • Papoo

    Leave the lady alone. Whatever her deision, she will bear the consequences. Who are we to judge. Remember, casting the first stone.Recommend