Stories about mother-in-law

The desi manic pixie: The totka for our men’s failures

While watching an episode of a popular drama ‘Gumrah’ with my mom, I realised our playwriters have created their own desi manic pixie dream girl. And even though I am not a regular drama viewer, I have watched this stereotype illustrated in one way or another in most drama serials (the recent one’s being ‘Gumrah’ and ‘Phir Wohi Mohabbat’) to consider this a problem. Boy, does the public love her! She’s the fodder for more than half of the plays running on our channels. She lives in the fanciful imagination of young and old men (old more so) and sadly, the audience gobbles that trash up ...

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“My bahu is prettier than yours” – When marriage turns into a beauty contest

“Mashallah! Bohat pyari hai aap ki bahu!”  (Your daughter-in-law is very pretty) “Bahu hai aap ki? Khoobsoorat hai!” (Is she your daughter-in-law? She is beautiful) These are the type of comments that I, a newly married bahu, gets to hear whenever my mother-in-law introduces me to relatives and acquaintances in social gatherings. Some people are very straight forward and say it right away to my face, while others pass comments on my looks in their gossip sessions. Though they are making an effort to praise me via these comments, I never take them as compliments. In fact, I don’t like it at all. I feel that everyone ...

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My nani’s achaar recipe – Pakistani-styled vegetable pickle

Before the arrival of mass produced, ready to use jams, pickles and chutneys, everything was prepared at home. In the early 80s, my nani– (maternal grandmother) prepared achaar (pickle), murabbay and chutneys at home ritualistically. These homemade products were consumed around the year and our friends and family also had their fair share in the prized produce. This activity would take place during summer holidays, when tons of extended family would be over. Nani, her sister, sisters-in-law and other female cousins visiting her, would divide the work of cleaning and chopping up tons of vegetables along with cleaning, roasting and grinding of a sack load of spices. ...

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5 things I learnt after moving to Pakistan

When I made the decision to move to the notorious land called Pakistan, because of my husband’s job, there were mixed reactions from the community (to say the least). My non-Pakistani and non-Muslim friends were terrified for my safety and were keen on reminding me of the short list of communities; their concerns involved my husband’s salary, the tough humidity, and the eternal inconvenience of load-shedding.  Ignoring all concerns, I decided to take on the adventure and assured my friends that I was happy and ready for anything. Boy did I lie. I was terrified – but very much in love. I had ...

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Why people should NOT get married in Pakistan

Before you wrinkle your eyebrows in a ‘holier-than-thou’ frown and judge my very existence, let me assure you that this blog is not a preaching of what you should or should not do. This blog is based on mere observations of human relationships and a concept that defines our lives in so many ways – shaadi (marriage). I was familiar with this word at a very young age. But it was at the age of six when my brother (eight-years-old then) told me something that freaked me out. In sheer exasperation, that only an older brother can have, he said, “I can’t ...

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“How much do you earn? What car do you drive?” – Money has never talked this loud

In earlier times, women, generally, did not take to working nine to five and were happy to employ their talents at home. Maintaining the house, taking care of the children and cooking meals pretty much occupied their time and yes, it was not an eight-hour workload. Living with the in-laws, in extended family setups called a joint family, had its fair share of responsibilities but the arrangement also came with some liberties. Then evolutionary forces introduced the concept of independent lifestyles. This helped subside the usual ‘saas bahu’ rifts and the distances helped reduce the tension in this relationship. However, it was the children ...

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What Pakistani dramas can learn from Pyare Afzal

Pakistani dramas are famous for their practical take on people’s everyday life and its complexities rather than an empty glamorous portrayal. This is why they have gained massive popularity in our homeland as well as across the border. Pakistani dramas have succeeded in portraying family life in Pakistan quite aptly except recently, these dramas have been revolving around marriage and family politics. A helpless daughter-in-law, a heartless mother-in-law and an obedient son: With these three characters, a Pakistani drama can possess reasonable viewership. A number of additional characters can also be included to add more mirch masala, but these three are the main protagonists. A helpless daughter-in-law, ...

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Is social media the new monster-in-law?

Up until a few years ago, we only had to deal with the ever-increasing benchmark set by the oldest female in the house, usually the mother(monster)-in-law. The vicious cycle of the saas bahu was a daily opera limited to the confines of respective households and, eventually, the daughter-in-law came to accept that she was ‘not good enough’. When Fariha cooked her umpteenth daig of biryani, this time to perfection, with the rice not sticking to each other like khichdi and the yellow masala gleaming like sunshine, at some level she hoped her mother-in-law would finally let out a whistle. Instead, her mother-in-law ignored looking her in the eye and ...

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Why are we as a nation so obsessed with Imran Khan’s marriage?

The New Year has begun, and by all indications, Pakistan is going to be as messed up in 2015 as it was in 2014, 2013, 2012… you get the idea. Things don’t look good for this beloved banana republic of ours, with terrorists breathing down our neck, military courts and death penalties, economic woes, and foreign policy Gordian knots that just keep tying themselves up again the moment someone brings a sword this way. Yet the one matter of greatest importance on everyone’s minds (and tongues) is the marriage of Imran Khan. “Did he or didn’t he?” has surpassed “To ...

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Rishta aunties and the girls who submit

“You’ve completed your O and A’ Levels. You got amazing grades and A’ Level is a great accomplishment. It’s time you get married now,” said my mother, on several occasions. When asked anxiously, “But what about my admission into IBA?” She would calmly reply, “Yes, yes. You’ve proved your mettle. Everyone knows you’re smart and clever. That’s why there are so many proposals.” Yes, that time was here. I was being badgered into getting married. The sad part about being educated is that you can tell when a person is annoyingly dim-witted. On the one hand, the aunties gushed about my intelligence, which according to my mother ...

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