Stories about parents

Dear parents, can I plan my own life please?

“We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.” -Anne Frank Being seventeen-years-old and looking forward to university next year, I currently face the enigma of making one of the most difficult decisions of my life — choosing a career. Although I would love to pursue a career in English and perhaps work towards a Masters or a PhD in Literature, my parents aren’t too fond of the idea. Their plan for me includes a good medical school, a professional degree, a job in a clinic or hospital, being married before I turn 30 and inevitably, ...

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So long, farewell: College really isn’t that far off, right?

What makes a bunch of kids pack up a lifetime (albeit a short one) worth of belongings into a suitcase, say their goodbyes to family and take last-minute pictures with friends, and then quite suddenly, leave? When did going to college become so dramatic? It begins, as it ends, in drama. Last Monday’s A’ Level results involved the usual pre-result splitting up of students into the overly religious (no goat left un-sacrificed), the annoyingly hyper-worried (I’ve failed, I’m doomed, I am a blot on my parent’s izzat), and the blasé (wake me up when it’s over). But there was also an ...

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A marriage does not just come down to ‘love’ or ‘arranged’

A few days ago, whilst skimming through the The Express Tribune, I came across a blog entry titled “Why one should love arranged marriages,” by Sidrah Moiz Khan. Ms Khan’s piece set out to discuss the age-old debate of arranged vs. ‘love’ marriage. However, rather than giving a balanced account the author, being an ardent supporter of the former method of union, gave a diatribe that seemed more suited for Khawateen Digest (Women’s Digest). As such, I felt the need to formally reply to Ms Khan’s blog. Before I begin, I wish to clarify something. I find the terminology chosen by the author ...

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Thanks for making me who I am, dad

I was gently awoken by the stroke of a warm and affectionate hand on my forehead. I felt someone remove my glasses and put away the book I was reading. As I tried to get up while half asleep, I heard my father say: “Beta, you should avoid staying up so late. It’s not good for your health.” This same man, while crossing the road today, held my hand reassuringly. However, his hands are different now, the wrinkles and veins are more prominent – he is getting old. Even though they show a mark of the years that we’ve left behind us, ...

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Every day is Father’s Day

Sunday is Father’s Day and yet again flowers, colognes, ties, shirts, cigars, books and general goodwill shall be shared mutually. Since ours is a populist society and we relate to and live vicariously through the characters of this expendable culture, Gone with the Wind is a visual treat most of us are familiar with. A timeless classic of cotton plantations and genteel society, propped up by dark skinned armies of either sex, brings to mind Rhett Butler in the movie. His daughter, Bonnie, is the pride and joy of his rather soiled life. In a heated confrontation with Scarlett O’ Hara (a protagonist in ...

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“Yes, I don’t want children”

At forty, Faiza Abbas has been married for 15 years. The pitiful looks she receives started a couple of years after her first wedding anniversary. Initially, they were accompanied with encouraging and humble words like:  Oh, it’s only been three years, you’ll have kids soon enough, I’m sure. Don’t worry, there’s still time, you’re still young. About these remarks, Faiza states with a laugh: I used to think these aunties were more worried about my childless situation than I was! I didn’t really care for children, personally. At the beginning of my marriage, my career was just starting to take off and I didn’t want ...

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Is it a crime to be a girl?

It was an hour of joy and happiness for my mother when the doctor told her she would have me in her arms in nine months. But this happiness turned into despair for my father and grandmother as they came to know that a girl would be born to their family. They forced my mother to kill me before I was born. Daddy, please don’t kill me. I won’t make you angry. I’ll be a good daughter; I won’t ask you for expensive clothes and toys. Please don’t kill me. But I was killed after just 30 days in my ...

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Why Mother’s Day matters

I have never been a great proponent of the concept of Mother’s Day – or even Father’s Day. Dedicating days to celebrating every member of the family is not something that made sense to me – after all, you already had birthdays and anniversaries, right? Anything in excess of this is clearly a ploy by all those card-printing companies nagging at your guilt to spend more of your money and boost their sales As I have grown older I have come to realise the value of these days, randomly allocated to a day in the year to celebrate our parents’ contributions ...

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A mother, not a meal ticket

Enroute to the hospital where I interned, I would pass a woman who sat on the footpath right across from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital’s new emergency ward. She was very old and frail and it was easy to conclude at just a glance that she was not of the sound mind.  She just sat there begging, day in and day out. Sometimes, she would even lie down on the footpath, obviously completely tired out by the whole day’s exertion. At first, I thought her only home was the footpath. However, this was not the case. After two weeks just observing her, I finally ...

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The rat race of KGS admissions

Mrs A remembers it as ‘the most horrible week of my life.’ She cried frequently; she had trouble sleeping at night; she had to leave a party early because she felt like she ‘couldn’t breathe’. And too many of her hours were filled with ‘whys’; why did this happen to her? Why? A child stricken with life-threatening illness? The collapse of the family business? The death of a beloved parent?  No, the darkest week of Mrs A’s life came two weeks ago when her daughter was rejected admission in the nursery at Karachi Grammar School (KGS). It’s hard to imagine writing such a ...

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