Stories about dowry

It’s not easy being a female divorcee, especially in Pakistan

I happened to have an incredibly appalling conversation with a male friend the other day. It pretty much went like this; “Hey did you end up finding a girl for yourself?” “Yeah, I did, but I ended up rejecting the proposal. She was divorced and seemed quite sharp.” But, to my surprise, his response didn’t really shock me. Even so, his comments still ring in my head. I was amazed at how an educated and sensible man like him could pass such a judgement. Unfortunately, we’ve been moulded to think divorced women are off limits. They just don’t stand a chance in the ‘marriage market’ ...

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I was never his wife, I was only his slave

“I maybe from a  third world country but I have a heart like you do, emotions like you have, and dreams to pursue. On my first Eid as a married girl, I wanted to dress up and celebrate my new beginning instead of being in a hospital bed recovering from the effects of abuse.” I got married in March 2014 in Chicago with dreams of starting a new life and a future built out on love and trust in my new home. My parents were so assured that they were giving me into the hands of an educated guy; someone who ...

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Are Pakistani brides actually ready to pay up to Rs66,000 for one night’s wedding makeup?

Everywhere in the world, winter comes with chilly days and hot chocolate but in Pakistan it brings along wedding season. It is my friend’s wedding this season also and as all the wedding plans were materialising, the last thing on my friend’s mind was her makeup costs. Unfortunately, amidst all the instructions and warnings that were pouring down from the whole family regarding clothes, food, set-up, no one addressed the skyrocketing costs of salons these days. Searching for the right place was rather easy; making peace with the costs of the right place was not. We came across the rates of Natasha Salon’s, Shamain, Bina Khan and ...

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Grey

Grey road Shit! The fidgety son of a… Slowly breathes out, repeats, repeats… don’t stop. *Grunts* On a scale of one to 10, the pain I felt was a solid madar… But as my blood rushed out, diluting my consciousness with it, my body involuntarily limped and my selfish soul decided to dissociate itself from the physical pain. My body went numb soon after being shot. My brain decided that this wasn’t real, this cannot be real and my soul, in a final desperate attempt to distinguish itself from the physicality of all this, lurched out and propped up on the bonnet of the car. I ...

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#WhyIStayed: Understanding why women stay with abusive husbands

When the disturbing video of National Football League (NFL) star, Ray Rice, beating up his wife in an elevator, after knocking her unconscious and dragging her out, surfaced in the media the harrowing narrative of domestic violence remerged with all its might and force. And the news of Janay Rice lashing out at the media for releasing the video and advising the media to mind its own business made her look like an even bigger culprit than her husband. It’s a common example of how the victim is demonised and morphed instantly into a culprit, if she does not fit our tailored standard of sham ...

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Can’t a woman ask for her property share?

A few days ago, I was at a get together with friends and the usual small talk somehow turned to the ‘controversial’ topic of women and their property rights. One of them dramatically sighed and told her sympathisers how her ‘atrocious’ sister-in-law had the audacity to ask for her share of the family’s property. That opened up a Pandora’s Box as she was joined in by the other women who started sharing anecdotes of girls who had the audacity to ask for their share of their family’s property. I did not, and could not, understand what was so reprehensible about a ...

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Karachi is… love

I started this year with a blast, quite literally, and to date, this city has taken more lives than you and I could have expected. Being an average student trying to live an average life, I have been told to reach home ‘foran’ (immediately) innumerable times and have seen my siblings dance over missing school or exams due to unforeseen circumstances. This city has become no less than a war zone and those who just thought ‘yeh kya bakwas hai’ (what is this crap) to themselves are seriously delusional. In these past few months, I saw a leader being arrested, witnessed an acquaintance get ...

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“There’s no god but Allah, there’s no language but Urdu and there’s no ‘jaan’ but ‘Ammi Jaan’!”

Sometimes when I hear the aunties around me discussing their daughters-in-law, potential daughters-in-law or girls whom they have shortlisted for their sons, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Listening to them, I sometimes think that these aunties have forgotten that they have daughters too and that they themselves were once on the other side of the scrutiny bench. Or perhaps, this is their retribution. Whatever the case may be, I find some of the character traits of the larke ki ammi (boy’s mother) in Pakistan to be agonisingly funny. If you’re a boy, please read this blog with an open mind; if ...

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The Baloch tribal system isn’t all that bad

Bijjar is a Balochi word which means cooperation or help. We have all heard our esteemed intellectuals on national television talk about how the tribal system has multiple drawbacks. The primary reason these intellectuals like to rail against the tribal system is because they themselves have minimal knowledge about this structure. Their knowledge about the tribal system is restricted merely to its problems, which encompass things like the Sardari system, a hierarchy where the head is a sardar (chief), the exploitation by feudal lords, the culture of ammunition and strict ideologies against women education. Unquestionably, some aspects of the tribal system do more harm than good to a ...

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The Muslim wedding flight

In-flight announcement: “Good afternoon to our two lovely passengers! I’m delighted to welcome you aboard the Muslim Wedding Flight from parental to in-laws abode. My name is Fayaz Pasha and I’m your in-flight Service Director. Your cabin crew (parents, relatives and friends) is here to ensure that you have an enjoyable flight. We are currently second in line for take-off and are expected to be in the wedding hall in approximately 20 minutes. We ask that you please fasten your expectations at this time and secure all your emotional baggage. Please make sure that your seats and tables are in the right position for ...

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