Stories about parents

Motherhood: A divine institution

She is an institution; an overflowing reservoir of love. She possesses an astounding quantum of care, concern, compassion and affection. A hand that feeds, a hunger she satiates. A phenomenon, a guiding light, a beacon of hope. A lifelong crutch; an embodiment of beauty; a pristine spirit; a glowing splendour of nature. She is a mother, so I was told. Destiny has infinite wisdom. For reasons best known to itself,  it sprang a heart wrenching surprise on me by plucking away my mother to the dark corners of life beyond. After just 26 months, she lost her life after ushering a new life ...

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The phone call I wish I had never received

I don’t know whether this is the right time to write this blog or not, but I do hope that when people read it, it will help them make the right choice when faced with a situation similar to mine. Exactly 16 months ago, I was standing in line with other confused Pakistanis – the lot who ask themselves the same question day and night: should we move abroad to greener pastures? I am not trying to vindicate my actions by writing this; the truth is that it was a difficult decision for me. On the one hand, you think of your ...

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Cheating on exams: I blame the system

A recent news report in The Express Tribune titled “Rs100 is all your dad needs to have pharras delivered to you during the exam” began with the question; “Is there a point to sitting examinations at all?”  The article was about the recent case in Sukkur where invigilators and school staff were found helping students cheat, as eager parents outside paid them off. Let’s start by considering the question posed –  is there a point to taking exams at all? Across the globe, educational systems have implemented testing as a means by which to discriminate academic performance between students. However, this is a hangover ...

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Be kind to your teachers

I wonder if women are given presents on Women’s Day. Whatever the case, the Election Commission of Pakistan has definitely given Presiding Officer Habiba Memon and Assistant Presiding Officer Shagufta Memon the best Women’s Day present ever: restoration of their self-respect, which took a battering when Waheeda Shah slapped them during the by-elections recently in Tando Muhammad Khan. I am really happy about the way things are finally changing for women in the country. First Maya Khan got sacked for unethical journalism, and now Shah, who has been disqualified by the Election Commission for two years. Too much of power ...

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Don’t deny – defy dyslexia

The day Steve Jobs died my son came home from school and asked me: “Can I also please be dyslexic like Steve?” Dumbfounded I stared at him as he rambled on about Steve Jobs, about Mac and how “awesome” it was. Technological icon Steve Jobs left behind a silver bitten apple, a legacy of hard work and most importantly a realisation that learning differences are a gift – not a stigma. The problem Nobody truly knows the origins of learning differences. The spectrum is wide and deep, ranging from low attention span, weak memory, speech problems, auditory issues, literacy and numeracy challenges, vestibular and cognitive development and social interaction to behaviour issues ...

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An innie in an outie’s world

Growing up, I was such a quiet child, especially compared to my loud, older sisters that my parents would often forget me. They sometimes failed to remember they had a third child. Once, they lost me at a supermarket and realised it when the store manager called. Had it not been for him, I’d be a feral child living in aisle six gorging on cereal and candy bars for the rest of my life. No offense to my parents, they just didn’t know what to do with a little person like me. Innately introverted Had someone explained to them that I was innately ...

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Dear Google, you have failed me!

Dear Google, It pains me immensely to say this but you have let me down in my utmost time of need. I always thought there was not a question in this world that would return unanswered from your domain. I always relied on you for the smallest of queries, recommendations and confirmations, and I must admit that it had been so far, so good. Be it a school research assignment on Alaska, finding some economic or cricket statistics, or checking online for symptoms that my kid would be down with, or even looking up the answer to some radio contest question, ...

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Why porn is popular in Pakistan

It’s late at night and the hands of the clock signal that it is just past midnight. The whole family is sound asleep with the sole exception of a young man sitting on the bed, with the laptop right in front of him. To anyone, including his family, it seems as if he’s studying, or working on an important project, or checking out the latest headlines online or watching innocent, comical clips on YouTube. All it takes is a peek over the shoulder and all is not what it seems. This scenario is part of an average, everyday lifestyle for ...

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Let your children blossom

It’s funny that creativity is such a sought-after trait in today’s world but when we have it in our hands, playing in our backyards digging up the entire garden, getting Cs in math but making exquisite art pieces, or creating magical stories about old trees, we have absolutely no idea what to do with it. Worst yet, we fail to recognise it, nurture this difference, celebrate the genius. By reprimanding it, questioning it, assimilating it into the ordinary — we do the ultimate injustice — we steal someone’s talent or gift and intentionally kill it. What I’m talking about is ...

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Why women need to complain more

I can’t tell you how much I relied on my girlfriends for my sanity in my 20s. During our student days at the University of Virginia (UVA), we were each other’s roommates, psychiatrists, parents, and siblings. Far away from my family in Bangladesh, my friends and I became each other’s families. But something happens to our female friendships when we leave our 20s and enter our 30s. As we get older and get married, have babies, work, work more, and did I mention, work more, we also begin to talk less. Why is it that when women need their girlfriends the ...

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