Stories about grandparents

5 reasons why every Pakistani family will love and relate to ‘Aangan’

Pakistan’s flourishing drama industry is touching on a lot of stereotypical and taboo topics lately, proving that it is making strides in the right direction. We have produced dramas such as Kankar, Udaari, Zindagi Gulzar Hai, Khaani and Baaghi to give centre stage to issues that remain hidden behind closed doors. However, stories depicting traditional joint family system were missing from our TV screens for quite some time. Writer Faiza Iftekhar noticed this fact and tried to fill the void by scripting the drama serial Aangan. Though Aangan is just an ordinary story of a traditional joint family, but the way it is portrayed is what gives it ...

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Dadi jaan was a warrior, wrapped in six yards of silk

Amidst the cacophony of uncontrollable sobs, wails and tear stricken faces, she lay there peacefully, lifeless and listless, shrouded in layers upon layers of pale white cloth, oblivious to the void she had left us with. An unfathomable sight for me, for I had spent my entire childhood admiring the grace and modesty with which my grandmother, Asiya Khanum, carried her colourful banarsi saris, those elaborately designed and intricately embellished pallus, the effortless ease with which she went about her daily chores even with six yards of fabric wrapped around her petite waist. I can’t recall anyone being on their ...

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Series 7: Dada Baba and me Part 1 ‘My life from my deathbed’

It was a sunny morning amid the typical mid-summer hustle and bustle on the roads of Punjab. The rays of the sun made their way into my eyes and pierced through my pupils, blinding me momentarily yet almost completely. I adjusted my sight, trying to squeeze my eyes to halt the enforced violation of my personal eyesight space by nature’s brightest star, as a bead of sweat trickled down from my forehead and into the wrinkles around my squeezed eyes. The bus engine roared, and the passengers moved around in unison on every bump. The elderly man next to ...

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Parenting in Pakistan: An unhealthy mix of care and competition

Having lived abroad for nearly five years, I have become a keen observer of certain behavioural differences between Pakistani children, and those raised in the US or the UK. I firmly believe that cultural differences in early childhood decide who we become in our adulthood. A lot is determined by how parents and family members react to a child’s behaviour in his initial years of life, thereby instilling in him either a rightful or an inappropriate sense of what is correct or wrong. Each year during my annual trip to Pakistan, I noticed aggressive behaviour in Pakistani children which people in our country conveniently term as ...

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Series 2: “Checkmate” Part 1 My near perfect life

I had seen the intermittent drizzle of rain throughout the day from my office window. But in Seattle, rain was like second nature. My car had gone for  an oil change so I had the option of either walking or calling Ali. Although the street in front of my red brick office building usually wasn’t very crowded at five in the evening, it was even less so today. I decided to walk the short distance home. I opened my umbrella as I pushed open the office door. Maple trees, green with the celebration of spring, lined both sides of the ...

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Would you put your parents in such nursing homes?

Young people are prone to say all kinds of nonsensical things. I remember a ridiculous incident fairly well when I was a teenager myself. It was raining, there was a lot of car trouble and two of our relatives and my own family piled into one car to attend a chaleeswaan (40th day after a funeral). I was hungry, tired and disliked those relatives with whom we had to share our car with for the two-hour ride. “Why do we do these chaleeswans?” I had grumbled. “Please don’t do it for me when I die.” My parents chuckled, “Aise naheen kehte beta!” (Don’t say such things!”) I grumbled even more, “I ...

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“Ami please, don’t speak to me in front of my friends”

Coming from a 19-year old college student, perhaps what I am writing is completely irrelevant and maybe even stupid, but I’m a person and I have experienced life as it came to me, as it comes to me. All of us have our own beliefs based on the circumstances that we face, and it is these very beliefs that shape our reactions to the obstacles that we encounter. There is no right and wrong in such situations, there are only regrets and lessons that we learn or we don’t, depending upon each person. In my early teens, I was super embarrassed to introduce my ...

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Remembering Anwer Sultana with some Baisani roti and Afghani chuttney

Dill always reminds me of my Nani (maternal grandmother), Anwer Sultana. A couple of decades earlier, during winter vacations, all of us cousins would come down to Rawalpindi to spend winter breaks with our grandparents. Nani had a huge herb and vegetable garden at the back of the house. The garden always had one particular herb every winter – soy/dill. The shrub always grew taller than me, an eight-year-old back then, making me disappear in the dill patch while trying to catch ladybirds. The ladybirds too loved the perfumed dill as much as I did. Nani loved getting baisani (gram/chickpea floured) roti made at the tandoor (cylindrical clay oven) situated close by. ...

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Breathing life into the dying art of pottery

I still remember the days I spent as a child with my grandparents in Lahore. The nostalgic feeling of holding a cold ‘thoothi’ to eat feerni from – a Pakistani dessert made with milk and rice served in small clay plates – often dwells in my heart. Once done devouring the dessert, I used to save the small clay plates and make things out of those. Growing up, I didn’t realise when those clay plates got replaced by disposable boxes and paper plates. With our world becoming a global village, we’ve all become an industrialised mob who cares less for traditional methods and items. ...

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Series 2: “The Djinn” Part 1 Who are you?

The Pattersons, an English couple and previous owners of my grandparents’ house, had returned to where they had come from when their countrymen left India. There’s a picture of them on the landing; she is sitting on a deck chair in shorts while he is hanging over the back in white flannels with a chota peg in hand. Both of them appear to be sun-streaked blondes, the “dahling”, coffee party types. My grandmother, on the other hand, modelled herself as the ideal woman in her Bahishti zewar (heavenly ornaments) which meant that the sun rose on my grandfather’s… well from his ears, ...

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