Stories about guilt

When did they stop being a family?

The dark blue sky was aglow with a thousand shiny stars. “How pretty are the stars!” mused Mehnaz. She sat alone on the bench. No one was around, or at least, no one she could see. She took a cigarette out from her bag; it was the last one she had left. She searched for the lighter but couldn’t find it, so she kept rummaging through her bag until she finally concluded it wasn’t there. “Damn it!” Infuriated, she threw the cigarette on the grass, returning to her musing. A little while later, she picked it up and put it back in her bag. She ...

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Brett Kavanugh vs Christine Blasey Ford: Don’t send an assaulter to the Supreme Court bench!

Christine Blasey Ford recently accused an attorney and a sitting judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexually assaulting her in the early 80s, when they were both in high school. Kavanaugh was nominated for a position in the Supreme Court by Donald Trump and after finding out that her perpetrator may go on to be a part of the top court, her civic duty compelled her to bring her past into the spotlight.  The Senate held a hearing for this purpose, to decide whether or not Ford’s allegations hold some truth. Kavanaugh testified ...

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Sanju’s triumph over his addiction should be celebrated, not trivialised

Addiction is a person’s psychological difficulty in the consumption of food, pornography and drugs or substances, among many other things. There are multiple theories to explain why people get addicted and the most plausible one is that addictive behaviours are a combination of heredity and the environment. That’s the reason that many people never get addicted or dependent on drugs and substances despite trying all kinds of stuff multiple times, while others get hooked to these merely in the first few interactions. Being a therapist, I have seen people and families facing all kinds of stigma for having any psychological ...

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Miscarriage of justice: For Khadija Siddiqui, justice was delayed and denied

Shah Hussain’s May 25th ‘acquittal’ in the Khadija Siddiqui case has led to public outrage. People’s faith in the criminal justice system seems to be shattered yet again. In 2016, Khadija was attacked by a helmet adorned assailant multiple times, 23 times to be precise, with a knife. On July 29, 2017, a magistrates’ court convicted Shah, her classmate at law school, of attempted murder and criminal hurt (Sections 324 and 337 of the Pakistan Penal Code) and sentenced him to seven years in prison. In March, 2018, a session’s court reduced the sentence to five years, and last week, the Lahore ...

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8 ways ‘13 Reasons Why’ throws you into pits of darkness and leaves you there

What would you do if you found out that your loved one was suffering? “I just wish I die.” These simple words, said in a moment of frustration perhaps, are taken merely as words. Sometimes, that’s what they are, but sometimes, they mean more. Nobody reads too much into it, but perhaps we should. I was really young when I found out someone close to me was self-harming. At that time, I didn’t know what to do because I was still a child. The person told me about the cuts, the bruises and the sleeping pills. I did what you would expect a ...

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How I became a drunken, cheating swine who destroyed his marriage

The year is 2011. It’s 8:30am. I am in the lounge, staring out of the window. “How do I look?” her words make me turn back. There she is, all ready to go to work. She is 33 but looks much younger and she looks beautiful in the blue suit she is wearing today. “You look lovely,” I respond, stating an obvious truth. “Do you love me?” is inevitably the next question. “Of course I do,” I respond trying to sound as convincing I can. I have to make an effort here because although this is true, it cannot be called an “obvious” truth ...

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Two’s company, Te3n’s a crowd-pleaser!

Staring down the barrel of a gun, with my life solely dependent on producing a visually breath-taking piece of cinematic art and the only option given is of one sub-continental city as a filming location, I would be in Kolkata with my frikking filming gear, before anyone could even count to teen. Home to parallel cinema, a film movement that originated in the 1950s, with the likes of Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sena and Ritwik Ghatak at its helm, Kolkata has an extremely proud celluloid history. It’s also not hard to see how these pioneers, along with the city, still hold sway with serious ...

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You are willing to ban Udaari, but are you willing to jail the man who molested me?

It was a paralysing scene; a moment where lust, hunger and greed, all were entwined. It was when Imtiaz held Zebo’s little hands – a gesture which was seemingly innocent and affectionate, but paradoxically brought to light his malicious intent. His lingering gaze on the child, and his words with sexual undertones immediately replaced the gentle loving father with a man falling prey to his own animalistic traits. This was all PEMRA could take, and me too. Our reasons, of course, were different; for PEMRA it was truth-overdose. For me, it brought back memories. My eyes were transfixed on the screen, but ...

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The ‘Bara Bhai syndrome’ – taking one family at a time

Recently, an international journal of psychiatry published a report about a new disease – the ‘Bara Bhai Syndrome’. It was discovered during research workshops held in Pakistan and India. The hallmark of this disease has been described as an extreme preoccupation with the duty of providing care to the family, heightened sense of sacrifice and responsibility, feeling of guilt and premature ageing. While the disease has been found to be more rampant in South-East Asia, thousands of immigrants in developed countries have also tested positive for it. The disease typically affects the first-born male child. However, comparable symptoms can also be exhibited by the only ...

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Why Aitchison?

“Don’t you realise this behaviour is unbecoming of an Aitchisonian?” Mr Zafar Ahmad stared at me. Stress on the word Aitchisonian caused extra ripples of guilt. There is a reason Mr Zafar Ahmad, my housemaster, was stressing on the Aitchisonian angle; he knew it would make me feel like a downcast in my own eyes. And it did. Both of us knew I would not repeat that adventure at least. Aitchison College is in the spotlight these days. Pakistani press is not alone this time because The Guardian, one of the leading British dailies, has also covered the latest issue surrounding the institution’s policy regarding ...

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