Stories about father

Motherhood: A divine institution

She is an institution; an overflowing reservoir of love. She possesses an astounding quantum of care, concern, compassion and affection. A hand that feeds, a hunger she satiates. A phenomenon, a guiding light, a beacon of hope. A lifelong crutch; an embodiment of beauty; a pristine spirit; a glowing splendour of nature. She is a mother, so I was told. Destiny has infinite wisdom. For reasons best known to itself,  it sprang a heart wrenching surprise on me by plucking away my mother to the dark corners of life beyond. After just 26 months, she lost her life after ushering a new life ...

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My father’s battle with Parkinson’s

I still remember the first time I saw a tremor in my dad’s hand; we thought perhaps it was high blood pressure and immediately took him to the doctor. However, the tremors didn’t stop the next day, or the day after that. After a few tests the doctor recommended that we consult a neurosurgeon. Upon visiting one, we were informed that my father had Parkinson’s disease (PD) and his tremors would only grow worse with time – there was no cure. As the doctors broke this news, I tried my best to be strong for my father. Still, when I came home and watched ...

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Meet Umair, Pakistan’s very own child prodigy

Child prodigies are an eclectic bunch; being  on the fast-track in the lane of life at such a tender age makes them so. Although, some go on to commit suicide, turn to crime and develop drink and drug problems, we remain irrevocably fascinated by them.  We are overcome by their childhood achievements and allured by the fame and recognition they bring to the family. Secretly we wish in the depths of our hearts that our children would also do the same. However, what we fail to realise is the immense pressure that these kids are put under, the long hours that they spend ...

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Held hostage: When will I see my father?

Our lives changed on November 2010, when MV Albedo was hijacked. My father had devoted 40 years of his life at sea to provide for his family, and now that his time to retire and live comfortably is near, his life is at the mercy of ruthless Somali pirates. A 17 month wait is a long time when you are kept in a cabin. It is even worse when that is in the middle of the ocean, far disconnected from the world. Those hijacked have witnessed the death of their companion who died due to inhumane living conditions. One captive, Rajbhar Rajoo, lost his ...

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For the family of a dead soldier

Standing outside a hospital corridor, opposite the nursery, I was waiting for my wife to return from the operating theatre after giving birth to our second child. Anxiety was in the process of being replaced by happiness, and I was enjoying the quiet moment. A few minutes later, a nurse brought another newborn baby boy, and some ladies (presumably the family of the infant) followed the nurse. One of the ladies, who looked like a typical grandmother, stood out from rest of the crowd. There was something not quite normal about her. She was relentlessly wiping away tears, saying things like, Mein ...

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‘My husband is my father’s age…’

A few weeks ago, I happened to witness the unfortunate crumbling and subsequent break-up of a close friend’s marriage. After hearing both sides of the story, I arrived to a conclusion regarding the main reason behind the failure: The husband was 20 years older than his wife. Although common in an eastern society where arranged marriages are the norm, such large age-gaps (10 years and more) often have great drawbacks in a relationship as intimate as marriage. In our society, parents are in a rush to marry off their daughters before they hit the twenty-fifth birthday mark (or even earlier), ...

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The misunderstood orphan

In Pakistan you don’t need money. You don’t need good looks. You certainly don’t need to work. You just need one phrase. That’s it just one. One phrase and all doors are majestically and mysteriously opened with the meanest, vilest and most dangerous of men succumbing in fear to your presence. For any would-be travelers to Pakistan (this is a rhetorical scenario) I can let you in on the secret. All you need to say is:  Tumhay pata hai mera baap kon hai? (Do you know who my father is?). There is nothing you can do in Pakistan without this phrase. You want ...

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10 things nosy ‘Pak’ers love to ask

Do you ever get riled up by busybodies asking annoying questions to ‘place’ people in their social world? Well, here are some conveniently snappy answers we wish we could respond with (you might even get away with some of them if you did; sarcasm is often lost on the unwitting). 1. Have you found anyone eligible yet? Yes (enter Mashallah), I have won the marriage lottery! She/he is, Mashallah, loaded and divorced only thrice. 2. Who is your father?  He is Mian/Chaudhry (enter name) and owns (enter name of mill/bank). 3. What does your husband do? See answer number 2 please. 4. What village are you from? It doesn’t matter if you have never seen ...

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Love and tears for Dhaka

My stepfather, Afzal Ahmed Syed, is a generally quiet and inward man who occasionally breaks from his reticence with humorous insights about the world. He does this not through fanciful and elaborate explanations, but in pithy quotes or by reciting a shaer. As many thoughtful commentators on his life and poetry have suggested, much of my father’s poetic vision has been shaped by his experience as a witness to immense political tragedies like East Pakistan’s violent rebirth as Bangladesh in 1971, the Lebanese Civil War, and the ethnic and sectarian violence that overwhelmed Karachi in the 1990s. Musharraf Farooqi, my father’s ...

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What my 5-month-old taught me

Usually, what goes on in the labor room, stays in the labor room. While some progressive hospitals allows dads to enjoy the whole birthing experience, more often than not, us dads and the couple’s close relatives sit in the waiting area, praying for the health of the mother and the baby. Just like in the movies, the father-to-be can clearly be distinguished from the lot as he paces the length of dimly-lit corridors, biting his nails, waiting for the nurse to come out with some good news – it’s just like a scene straight out of a movie. It could take hours, ...

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