Stories about parents

8 things you can relate to if you’re an only child like me – and no, I am not a spoiled brat

My parents were blessed with an only child, and trust me, and they will confirm, that child was more than enough for them. Life as an only child is pretty different and definitely interesting, but one of the things I always get asked is that, “Do you feel alone?” “Kesay rehti ho akelay? Bore nai hoti?” (How do you live alone? Do you not get bored?) Photo: Giphy I don’t get bored with my life; in fact, I love it! However, there are certain common occurrences in the life of an only child and I am sure a lot of ...

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Dear abba, thank you for your unwavering faith in women

My parents were faced with a rather arduous challenge when they had children; raising a stubborn young girl amongst three mischievous sons. Naturally, the girl would grow to measure her actions against her brothers’ and compare her privileges with theirs, the only siblings she had, whether her parents liked it or not. Now you can imagine how frustrated an average Pakistani father would be by a daughter that wants to make her own rules and who has a self-worth equivalent to an average Pakistani boy’s ego. However, my father is not the average Pakistani father. He grew up like I did, the middle child ...

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To my three beautiful children, this Father’s Day, please forgive me

Dear Muhammad, Maryam and Zaynab, Life is a system of cycles. One event or historical phenomenon, which takes place, tends to repeat itself albeit after numerous years. Personal histories and legacies are all the same. As we grow up, we love our parents (biological or otherwise) when we are young. This idealism gives way to rebellion once, we as children, start to explore the world around us and subsequently discover boundaries in the shape of rules and limitations set by our parents. The rebellion may or may not increase in each individual case but it is there to some extent. This rebellion stabilises when we are ...

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Why is the independence of an unmarried girl perceived as a threat?

Many of us grew up with the eternally single phupho or khala; that’s right, the one that never got married. They all have their reasons and, many a time, they’re respected in their households. Some of them may hold good jobs, spending their well-earned money on their precious nieces and nephews. We seldom see them living their own lives, or making time for themselves outside of their work, and home. We see them as totally dependent on their families, in every facet of their lives. Picture this – her room or space at home is either shared with her parents or a growing child ...

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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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I learned true parenting from a foster mother

I first saw her at my kid’s school; she stood out in the crowd, a beautiful brunette with hazel eyes, radiant smile and … a stroller full of babies. There were three kids; a boy and two girls. I asked her if the girls were twins. She said no; they were 11 months apart. She wasn’t their birth mum – she was fostering-to-adopt them. Being from a country where foster parenting is not a widely acclaimed subject, fostering-to-adopt piqued my interest. I wanted to get acquainted with her, and over the following months we did. We often met on school runs, while picking and dropping ...

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I was never his wife, I was only his slave

“I maybe from a  third world country but I have a heart like you do, emotions like you have, and dreams to pursue. On my first Eid as a married girl, I wanted to dress up and celebrate my new beginning instead of being in a hospital bed recovering from the effects of abuse.” I got married in March 2014 in Chicago with dreams of starting a new life and a future built out on love and trust in my new home. My parents were so assured that they were giving me into the hands of an educated guy; someone who ...

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Why is it blasphemous for a child to question an adult’s decision?

The worst nightmare for a Pakistani parent is when their child shows an affinity towards anything related to art, music or the performing arts. Unfortunately, our parents are programmed to believe that to have a successful career, it is important to choose a field of study that leads to a positively stable career. Keeping that in mind, you can just imagine what my parents’ reaction was when I told them I was interested in pursuing a career in film-making. Now my parents are not the conventional Pakistani cookie-cutter parents. Both of them are educated and have very independent lines of ...

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You can work as a waiter or a driver in the US, but not in Pakistan

My love for Pakistan is unfathomable! From the lush green valley of Chitral to the hustling bustling streets of Lahore, my love for my country has, in fact, grown over time. Pakistan is my home – mom’s food, sister’s amazing chai, random hangouts with school friends, street food, the streets of Lahore; the list of things I absolutely adore about my home is unending. When I came to the US, initially I thought this journey was more like a survival challenge for my existence. I was nostalgic and missed everything about home. But now I feel those things are not missed so much ...

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#NoFeesTillLowFees: ‘Quality education’ at private schools is a myth!

In 2002, when private schools initiated their long, drawn out process of bleeding the parents of this country dry, many predicted that a day would come when the middle class and the upper middle class would have to leave their air-conditioned offices to hold angry placards on the street and furiously pound their fists in the air. That day has come. Recently, parents and students in Karachi accumulated at the KDA roundabout and in North Nazimabad and marched up to Ziauddin Hospital in protest to the harrowing rise in the private school fees. Parents in Islamabad have also organised demonstrations in staunch opposition to ...

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