Stories about choice

Why I wanted to abort my baby

The facade of life; how extraordinarily amazing yet deceiving. A dear friend, living an apparently ideal life shares her story: I had a love marriage, and since this is looked down upon in general, we faced a lot of opposition from both our families and friends. This eventually led to a lot of resentment, and my once beloved husband forgot that he fought so hard to have me in his life and let everyone mistreat me, so much so that I myself was not sure if love really existed between us anymore. Three years and two kids later, a girl and ...

Read Full Post

“Mera jism, khandaan ki marzi”

It was a particularly tiring emergency day in the obstetric labour room. I was writing down patient notes on a file when a woman came pleading to me, “Doctor sahibaa, mehrbani karain, mainay jo sign kiyay hain wo kaat dain, hum nay waqfay ka chalaa nae rikhwana.” (Please doctor, nullify the signatures I just did on the file, we refuse to take intrauterine device for contraception.) IUCD (commonly known as Cu-T) is a small contraception device placed in a woman’s uterus to delay the next pregnancy and ensure better health opportunities for both the mother and the child. When I tried to ...

Read Full Post

Smoking kills, but so does patriarchy

What is the duty of a good brown woman? For most of our society, it’s ‘upholding traditional values’ – whether it’s the ideal bahu (daughter-in-law) in most TV dramas, desirable conservatism in Bollywood dynamics, or unsolicited advice from politicians. A 2017 Ipsos Global Trends report even reveals that 64% of Indians believe that a woman’s primary role is to be ‘a good mother and wife’. This burden of sanskar (values) and dutifulness then become a tool of oppression, of restriction. On the other hand, men have no such shackles, and end up having a monopoly on the social acceptability of ‘having fun’. There is a systematic curbing of women’s freedom to experience ...

Read Full Post

In a society where you are either heterosexual or just “messed up”, is there any room for asexuals?

My great grandmother had a cousin who spent her whole life single. She had a successful life, to say the least – she was a practicing doctor, she had a wonderful social circle and she indulged in numerous hobbies. And she was really, really content. Contentment is a strange emotion; you can be happy but not necessarily content. She, however, was tremendously satisfied with her life. She had everything, except a husband, and not because she wasn’t able to find someone, but because she didn’t want one. She had a great upbringing in a moderately liberal family with happily married ...

Read Full Post

An open letter to bakra mandi owners

Dear bakra mandi owners,  This letter is to express my absolute stupefaction over your outrageous, albeit devious, marketing tactics, yet again, at Eidul Azha this year. The prices of goats and cows have escalated to a level that is beyond the financial capacity of the middle class group to afford. Even the lower upper class is having second thoughts about fulfilling this necessary religious obligation. More and more people are forced to take shares in cows. For me, as well as for millions of other like me, I’m sure, taking shares in cows is extremely embarrassing because it openly screams of the fact that I ...

Read Full Post

Does having a career mean I’m going to be a bad mother?

I was having a chat with a newly married friend when she suddenly stopped and said, “I want to start a family, but I’m not too sure.” Relieved that it wasn’t some troubling marital revelation, I assured her that her confusion was natural and that time would probably grant her more clarity. However, her predicament didn’t end there. She had always envisioned herself to be a home-maker, but now when it was actually time to start a family, she wasn’t too sure if she wanted to compromise on her promising career. To top it all off, she was not only confused, but rather, was ashamed ...

Read Full Post

If you think the niqab is a choice, think again

In my recent article, ‘Our national dress is the shalwar kameez, not the niqab’, while examining countries in and around the geographical vicinity of the Middle East, I lamented the loss of cultural riches such as art, music, various religious festivities, as well as heritage sites like ancient temples and monasteries to a single fast-spreading inflexible ideology. To drive the point home, between a dozen countries, I compared various cultural garments with the full single-colour veil called the niqab, also known as the abaya or the burqa. The contrast was startling. On one end were 12 aesthetically delightful national dresses varying ...

Read Full Post

5 reasons Fawad Khan was the perfect choice for Republic

Jeremy Scott and Katy Perry are best friends. So are him and Miley Cyrus. Which is why, when they come out to his shows, people pay attention. Fashionistas and music lovers alike. It is when every pop star wears the colourful creations by these designers that the sales take height. And who doesn’t want to dress up like their idols, or at least have what they have? It’s the emotional branding that goes along with the choices Moschino makes for its brand, and it’s the perfect combo for everyone. All are happy. Jennifer Lawrence for Dior, Eddie Redmayne and Cara Delevingne for Burberry, and ...

Read Full Post

Our honour was saved

I am a woman, But you could give me any name.   I am Bhavna; They named me desire. How ironic! Small desires I had, Sipping some wine and Seeing a beach. My love became my bane My rebellion, my curse. I challenged their honour So, something had to be done. They strangled my wishes And cremated my dreams.   I am Farzana; I carved a life And fought for it. They pelted my choice, They battered my soul, Their honour survived But my baby died.   I am the letter peeping through brackets; Reported often in the news, Shrouded in sheen, meem, kaaf, My story ensues.   I am the nanhi kali violated; They talk about in the news, My name is hushed, My identity draped, But we must thank our lucky stars, Our honour is ...

Read Full Post

If she can walk around in skin-tight clothes, why can’t I wear my veil?

Many people believe that the Islamic veil represents extremism, that it is a symbol of oppressing women. In April 2011, we saw France becoming the first European nation to ban the wearing of the veil in public. Several other countries, like Germany, Italy and Belgium among others, took inspiration from France and passed legislations banning the ‘hijab’. The irony is that even in the so-called Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a few schools forbid the wearing of the veil. Ayman Mobin, a straight A’s student in O/A Levels and now a medicine student at Dow Medical College recalled, “The director of Karachi Grammar School ...

Read Full Post