Stories about daughter-in-law

The desi manic pixie: The totka for our men’s failures

While watching an episode of a popular drama ‘Gumrah’ with my mom, I realised our playwriters have created their own desi manic pixie dream girl. And even though I am not a regular drama viewer, I have watched this stereotype illustrated in one way or another in most drama serials (the recent one’s being ‘Gumrah’ and ‘Phir Wohi Mohabbat’) to consider this a problem. Boy, does the public love her! She’s the fodder for more than half of the plays running on our channels. She lives in the fanciful imagination of young and old men (old more so) and sadly, the audience gobbles that trash up ...

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“My bahu is prettier than yours” – When marriage turns into a beauty contest

“Mashallah! Bohat pyari hai aap ki bahu!”  (Your daughter-in-law is very pretty) “Bahu hai aap ki? Khoobsoorat hai!” (Is she your daughter-in-law? She is beautiful) These are the type of comments that I, a newly married bahu, gets to hear whenever my mother-in-law introduces me to relatives and acquaintances in social gatherings. Some people are very straight forward and say it right away to my face, while others pass comments on my looks in their gossip sessions. Though they are making an effort to praise me via these comments, I never take them as compliments. In fact, I don’t like it at all. I feel that everyone ...

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How a newly hired employee is no different than a newly married bride

This isn’t one of those blogs about the social nuisance that weddings are, nor will it mention dowry, brides, grooms or even their families. Whether we like it or not, all of us have come across Star Plus soap operas. Never-ending dramas based around new brides, their unbearable miseries and the constant struggle to settle into their new family are constant themes in such soap operas. Instead, this blog is about how the Star Plus’ daughter-in-law resembles a newly hired employee at any organisation. Nearly a month ago, a friend of mine was extremely frustrated because she was transferred to a different department in her organisation. Her new team ...

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Complete your Eid Feast with a Shahi Zafran sherbet, Kebab-e-Dayg and a Date Cake!

In my ancestral home in Lahore, on Eidul Fitr, our table is adorned with Bohemian crystal bowls filled with fruit or chickpea chaat and mithai in kitsch colours, laid out on silver platters. But as in many homes across Pakistan, it is the vermicelli pudding,the seviyan, which is the pièce de résistance on the table. This Eid, why not add other items to your menu for the feast? Present your guests with a saffron-imbued cold drink – Shahi Zafran ka sherbet – upon their arrival. The dollop of fresh cream on top with pistachio dust is a lovely way to do something a little extra special on Eid. After your ...

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5 things I learnt after moving to Pakistan

When I made the decision to move to the notorious land called Pakistan, because of my husband’s job, there were mixed reactions from the community (to say the least). My non-Pakistani and non-Muslim friends were terrified for my safety and were keen on reminding me of the short list of communities; their concerns involved my husband’s salary, the tough humidity, and the eternal inconvenience of load-shedding.  Ignoring all concerns, I decided to take on the adventure and assured my friends that I was happy and ready for anything. Boy did I lie. I was terrified – but very much in love. I had ...

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“My medical degree brings all the parents to the yard” – A man’s perspective

The simple laws of supply and demand do not apply to a doctor bahu (daughter-in-law); no matter what the supply, there will still be a demand in Pakistan. It’s inelasticity of demand is more rigid than the worst brand of zarband you may buy from a street vendor. You can turn every eligible single woman in Pakistan into a doctor, and there would still be parents lining up around the block looking to marry their son to them. If Kelis was to make a pop song in Pakistan, it would be, “My medical degree brings all the parents to the yard and they are like our haq mehar’s  better ...

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What Pakistani dramas can learn from Pyare Afzal

Pakistani dramas are famous for their practical take on people’s everyday life and its complexities rather than an empty glamorous portrayal. This is why they have gained massive popularity in our homeland as well as across the border. Pakistani dramas have succeeded in portraying family life in Pakistan quite aptly except recently, these dramas have been revolving around marriage and family politics. A helpless daughter-in-law, a heartless mother-in-law and an obedient son: With these three characters, a Pakistani drama can possess reasonable viewership. A number of additional characters can also be included to add more mirch masala, but these three are the main protagonists. A helpless daughter-in-law, ...

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Is social media the new monster-in-law?

Up until a few years ago, we only had to deal with the ever-increasing benchmark set by the oldest female in the house, usually the mother(monster)-in-law. The vicious cycle of the saas bahu was a daily opera limited to the confines of respective households and, eventually, the daughter-in-law came to accept that she was ‘not good enough’. When Fariha cooked her umpteenth daig of biryani, this time to perfection, with the rice not sticking to each other like khichdi and the yellow masala gleaming like sunshine, at some level she hoped her mother-in-law would finally let out a whistle. Instead, her mother-in-law ignored looking her in the eye and ...

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Rishta aunties and the girls who submit

“You’ve completed your O and A’ Levels. You got amazing grades and A’ Level is a great accomplishment. It’s time you get married now,” said my mother, on several occasions. When asked anxiously, “But what about my admission into IBA?” She would calmly reply, “Yes, yes. You’ve proved your mettle. Everyone knows you’re smart and clever. That’s why there are so many proposals.” Yes, that time was here. I was being badgered into getting married. The sad part about being educated is that you can tell when a person is annoyingly dim-witted. On the one hand, the aunties gushed about my intelligence, which according to my mother ...

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50 shades of a red lehnga

It came as no surprise. It had to happen. Years of pent up anticipation and apprehension had gradually built up momentum and all of it led to this – a nerve wracking walk, downstairs. With adrenaline rush turning my ears into an alien shade of crimson and my heart skipping a beat, rolling in my stomach and jumping to touch my parched palate, I carried my wobbling feet into our drawing room. Crap, that darned rebellious carpet always defying to be straightened out; I tripped but quickly steadied myself before I could fall flat on my face. My mother led a slow ...

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