Stories about marriage

Four reasons to watch Kaisa Hai Naseeban

Recently concluded drama serial Kaisa Hai Naseeban is currently basking in the success of being Pakistan’s most watched drama ever. Brilliantly scripted by Samina Aijaz and well directed by Ahmed Bhatti, the heart-wrenching drama revolves around the tragic story of a girl who finds herself trapped in an abusive marriage. Through a thought-provoking narrative and well-developed characters, the show highlights the importance of tackling physical abuse and other domestic wrongdoings. The story centres on the character of Maryam (Ramsha Khan) whose father, Jamal (Waseem Abbas), is eager to get her married, hoping that it will provide her with a comfortable and secure future. ...

Read Full Post

#TherapistDiaries: Unrequited love, a choice or a consequence?

South Asian culture, particularly India and Pakistan, romanticises the notion of suffering in unrequited love. This emotionally-draining, one-sided road is deemed as a higher form of love and is attributed to purity. No wonder harassment is so common in our culture. “Sacha ishq wohi hai jo kabhi mil na paey.” (True love is that which can never meet.) The aforementioned sentence is sort of a slogan for these one-sided lovers. Since Sufism is one of the most dominant philosophies followed in Indo-Pak culture, the masochism involved in unrequited love – ishq-e-majazi – is held as a necessary stage towards attaining a divine form of ...

Read Full Post

I’m sorry, but I do not blame Shakeela for drowning her baby

It was an ordinary Tuesday evening and I was putting my three-year-old to bed, praying that her fever does not relapse and that she feels well enough to go to school the next morning. As I watched her gently fall asleep, I felt guilty for scolding her earlier in the day. I love her dearly, of course, but I too am human and have not been sleeping particularly well since the past week because she has been sick. I planned on taking advantage of the Kashmir Day holiday to sleep in late, but her tantrums spoiled all such plans. I took a deep ...

Read Full Post

He was a broken chapter in her favourite novel

The footage said it was 9am when the car crashed – turned to nothing but blood and the smell of painted metals burning in the air. Two days, 18 hours and seven minutes later, on an icy November morning, Mark lay in a coffin, dead as a doornail. It was a small wooden box, with the lid clasped on its top with a neat hand. The initials engraved on it were those of Mark’s name and everyone at the funeral admired them at least once in secret, thanking the Lord no one could hear what they were thinking for fear ...

Read Full Post

#AqalOverShakal: Why is society suffocating me?

I was told to walk straight, shoulders back and, in short, not like a man. I often talk with a natural deep voice and receive raised eyebrows in return. I have 80% male friends with whom I can just be myself and say “Aur jani, chai scene on?”. At least they create less drama in my life. I know how the clutch and gear works in a car and I am pretty quick at learning all the technical stuff (call me when your car gets too hot to handle). I am against the idea of sitting in front of aunties who expect ...

Read Full Post

The road not taken: Going to Cambridge or getting married

In Pakistan, and in my native language Urdu, woman translates into aurat, which comes from the Persian awrah, meaning “parts to be protected”. Literally, too, in my present Muslim, closed-knit, patriarchal society, women like me are guided — by their fathers, husbands, brothers, sons — to be protected from threats against their body and family honour. While these men encourage “western” trends to an extent — like education at reputable schools, recreational sports, or even temporary employment — cultural traditions halt these prospects after marriage. You are born, our men tell us, to marry fast, and vouchsafe both yourselves and your future daughters ...

Read Full Post

A trans daughter‘s letter to her family: Will you love the real me and not the man you want me to be?

Dear Abba and Maa, We live in the same house, but you have created a distance between us that leaves me feeling miles apart from you. Who generated this hatred in your heart? You can blame me for it if you wish, but I blame your fundamentalist understanding of religion and your rigid expectations of a gender role that I am unable to fulfil. Tell me, are these things more important to you than I am? I am a human being with flesh, blood and emotions. You are offering your love to imaginary abstractions, meanwhile I am left deprived of it. Abba, you ...

Read Full Post

To Bushra and Dua Aamir: As a man, I apologise for how our society continues to treat you

Aamir Liaquat is neither new to misogyny nor to propagating hatred for minorities by calling for them to be murdered, as well as all other ugly things under the sky. After all, he shot to fame by mostly self-creating the controversies he is known for. From trying to give away babies on live TV and inciting hatred against groups by giving judgment calls against them, to using foul language for his opponents, he has never had any qualms when it comes to getting his hands dirty. We also witnessed how his filthy mind believes in sexualising fellow female colleagues, when he used ...

Read Full Post

The final goodbye

My biggest secret was the letter written by my former husband, that now sat in my nightstand’s bottom drawer. The letter that had come along with my divorce papers. The letter that was my guilt, my regret. Even if I tried, I couldn’t ignore the fact that we had been dishonest. Salaar had always been a good person – kind and considerate. The biggest proof of this was probably the fact that despite my many shortcomings and mistakes, my husband had chosen to divorce cordially. But he had also chosen to lie to our parents about what happened rather than ...

Read Full Post

My only escape

April 2018 I am an old woman, almost 75-years-old. My bones are weak, my skin is wrinkled, and my hair is a mane of silver. A pile of medicines cover the top of my bedside table. Most days, I don’t feel like eating them. Death weaves itself around me. I see it everywhere – in fallen leaves, in the rain, in the shadows, in people. My time here is almost done, but there’s a task still unfulfilled. Before I close my eyes forever, I have to tell my daughter the truth about my life, and her life. I’ve kept it hidden ...

Read Full Post