Stories about daughter

Memories of Amir Ullah Khan, a colleague, a friend and a mentor

Islamabad silently bore witness to the brutal murder of an entire Australian-Pakistani family, including a seven-year-old boy, last Monday. The police suspect that the family was killed over a familial land dispute. Apparently, a branch of Mr Khan’s extended family stood to inherit several large tracts of land in the event of his and his children’s death, so in a heinous act of greed and cowardice, the whole family was strangled and left in the bushes.  According to the news, the bodies of Amir Ullah Khan, his daughter Romana aged 17, and his sons Adam aged 14 and Haider aged ...

Read Full Post

A mother’s reflection

On days when I would be in bed and not found going up and about the house, you would stand in the doorway of my bedroom to take a quick peek. I guess you liked checking in on me, assuring yourself that I was alright. You would ask me if I needed something and then go away to get busy in whatever you would previously be doing. You had been like this since the day you began to toddle around the house, unchanged. This has always been your habit, my daughter, my lifeline — my one and only. You are not my possession ...

Read Full Post

You and your cursed tongue

“Rashid, nooooo! Stop! For the love of the Almighty, stop!” My incessant pleas fell on deaf ears. By now my voice had transformed from a high-pitched wail to a dry, hoarse moan, stuck deep in my throat. I watched helplessly as he picked up that shovel, desperately trying to free myself of the fetters. I could see his thick-shouldered frame shifting laboriously from the mound of earth to the deep grave-like trench dug in the ground. “I told you, your tongue was cursed!” He grumbled, his voice dripping with frustration. I had to do something, but what? I tried to wrestle my way out ...

Read Full Post

Lessons for life: A letter to my beloved daughter

Dearest daughter, It seems as if only yesterday you entered this world. I remember holding you for the first time. You, my little one, were so tiny and fragile. You held my finger with your little hand and smiled up at me. The memory of that moment is, for all time to come, etched on my heart. With your birth, I learned of new relationships and the meanings they hold. First I was your aunt. Then, when your mother would be away I would replace her. And now that you are growing up, I am your friend. Dear one, there are things ...

Read Full Post

A ‘thank you’ we forget to say

She wakes up at 5:00 am. She has to make breakfast and pack a snack for all her children before they wake up for school. She makes a boiled egg sandwich for her daughter, a fried egg for her son and a cheese omelette for her youngest son. Without wasting a minute, she sets the table and her eyes fall on the clock that strikes 6:00 am. She panics and curses under her breath, “Oho! Museebat, I am late again!” Scurrying to the rooms, she wakes each of the boys up with a kiss on their foreheads. They squirm and whine in an ...

Read Full Post

Ask Sayeda: Do you feel neglected by your parents or have sudden surges of anger?

Dear Sayeda, I have something on my mind that’s been bothering me for quite some time, and I am not sure how to handle it. I have elderly parents, and though I am married, I am always doing my best to stay in touch and be there for them in whatever way I can. I do what I can for them, but I feel that my father favours my brother over me. My brother has a pretty selfish lifestyle. He is now grown up enough to have a job, but he doesn’t work and still asks my parents for money. He ...

Read Full Post

This mother’s day, I forgot my mother’s birthday

My mother, who remembers all of her five children’s birthdays, who remembers her children’s childrens’ birthdays, if she was ever to forget, I don’t think any of us would let her forget for a long time. If my kids cough too hard I know I can call my mom at three o’clock in her morning and she will tell me 10 things I can do to soothe my child. She will call back, again and again to check up on us, forgetting about her own sleep, and telling me to get some rest even though it will be afternoon at ...

Read Full Post

A daddy’s letter to his little girl (about her future husband)

Dear Cutie-Pie, Recently, your mother and I were searching for an answer on Google. Halfway through entering the question, Google returned a list of the most popular searches in the world. Perched at the top of the list was “How to keep him interested.” It startled me. I scanned several of the countless articles about how to be sexy and sexual, when to bring him a beer versus a sandwich, and the ways to make him feel smart and superior. And I got angry. Little One, it is not, has never been, and never will be your job to “keep him interested.” Little One, your only task is to know ...

Read Full Post

Someone else’s daughter

My daughter is a young lady now, A ‘woman of the time’, Geared up to conquer the world.   With all the support and confidence, Of her family, And above all, Her father, Behind her.   Her questions have also matured, She is perplexed to see, My diplomas and degrees, Talent and dreams, Gathering dust in musty, dog-eared folders, Packed away in dusty, yellowing, cardboard boxes; A graveyard of evidence, That I, too, was a woman of my time.   She is confused at my non-existent existence, An email-less, Facebook-less, cell-phone-less, near-servile existence.   ‘My father is the best man in the world’, She proclaims proudly, Then questions, The different boundaries, That define the identities, Of two women, In the same house.   I know I can put an ...

Read Full Post

Jahaiz, destroying families one wedding at a time

The absurdity of the dowry norm, commonly known as jahaiz, prevalent in our society has long been debated. I did not realise the gravity of the issue until recently when my father’s cousin had to sell off his shop — the sole source of income for his family — to arrange the jahaiz for his daughter. The girl is now happily married to a financially stable guy but her family back home is finding it hard to survive. Her mother, who started sewing clothes to earn a living, has developed an eye illness that cannot be treated due to the treatment’s high ...

Read Full Post