Stories about parents

Adoption: Patience is truly a virtue

My wife and I have been married for almost five years now. Like many couples married this long, the yearning for parenthood – the most intense of all human emotions – soon over powered us too.We wanted a baby. We were longing, waiting, yearning for one. We had tried everything. We visited doctors in every city, and they all told us the same thing: “Nothing is wrong. You just need to be patient” But that is easier said than done. Friends and family were supportive, yes, but there were days when we couldn’t take it any more. All we could do, at the ...

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It is about more than just getting straight As

Bachoon ki parhai is a very strict maamla for most Pakistani parents. It’s a matter that parents don’t like to compromise on. Or so I have heard from most of them. The affluent send their kids to top-notch schools and institutes, and the middle class is determined to send their offspring to to the best schools they can afford. It’s only natural for a father and a mother to want their child to receive the best education. However, the concept of education is misunderstood by one too many. The best definition that I could find of the word was – a ...

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Sorry honey, mama’s too busy for you

The recent murder of Riphah University’s vice principal in Rawalpindi received a flood of comments on The Express Tribune’s website, some opinionated, some sympathetic, some bewildered, and some ridiculous. The most befuddling though, was a string of sentiments in favour of this embarrassment for the human race; ‘oh he must’ve given him bad marks’, ‘oh, the teacher was mean’, ‘oh the fees were high’. Incidentally, the ludicrously incorrigible command over the academic lingua franca of the country, displayed by the aforementioned empathisers, is, in a word, not good. Sorry, I know that’s two words but I don’t want to scare readers off with more ...

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Great grades mean nothing if you don’t have a chaperone – or a Y chromosome

Meet Maheen*: a hardworking final year A’ Level student. By hardworking, I mean that when Maheen received a B in Chemistry, having lost out by a mark, she stayed back in the library for hours on end every day for three weeks, to finally get an A in the finals. It’s that kind of hard work that translated into 14 As in her O’ Levels, seven of which were A*. Naturally, she had straight As in her AS Levels. She is the kind of girl that you assume will apply to the best colleges. But Maheen is not calling the ...

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An autistic boy in the classroom

Last year, a child named Omer* was enrolled in the class that I taught, in a well-recognized school, in Lahore. His parents, however, failed to inform me about the crucial information that Omer had a developmental disorder. He was autistic. The lack of this vital information resulted in confusion and stress, on my part, while dealing with Omer in a normal classroom learning environment – a fact that was equally painful to him. Often, due to his inability to follow regular instructions, he would sob hysterically with closed fists, tears streaming down his face, staring at me helplessly with pain ...

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Rozas and results

The Cambridge International Examination results will be released this week – have you prayed for success? There are two very important things that you notice in Ramazan that actually have very little to do with the holy month itself. One: making fun of that kid who sacrificed a goat just before his O-Levels results wasn’t a very good idea, considering that you’re contemplating doing exactly the same thing before this Thursday (Cambridge International Examinations announces its results on Aug 11). Two: going through a list of prospective college tuition fees suddenly makes you wish that your father was the emir of some ...

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A daughter’s burden

Over the past decades so much has changed in this world from the foreign relations of Pakistan to the allies of the United States, however one unfortunate thing is still the same, and will perhaps stay this way forever. No, I am not referring to Ms Meera’s age. The point in consideration here is the mindset of most Pakistani parents. I belong to a moderate upper middle-class family in Pakistan but I have had to sacrifice a lot of opportunities because of my parents, mostly my dad. However, I feel my sacrifices were small compared to many others. I have seen my friends give ...

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Reading for the soul: Helping kids love books

Today was the last day of my self-conceived experiment at a school in Lahore. A few months ago I had offered three hours a week of my precious time to read stories to my daughter’s kindergarten classmates. I was convinced that after months of interacting with these children I‘d be able to flush out and pacify a bully terrorising my delicate daughter. It would also, I reasoned, provide a good opportunity for a bookseller like myself to test that age-old lament that the youth of today lack the attention span for books – although granted, by “youth” most parents ...

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I laugh, but so does the world

Imagine this scenario: Around a dozen bodies of children wrapped in sheets of blood cradled by helpless parents, and in some cases just lying in a pool of their parents’ blood. On Saturday, you didn’t have to imagine. US-led Nato forces killed 14 Afghan civilians including up to 12 children. President Hamid Karzai was quick in issuing a “last warning” to the US military telling it to avoid operations that kill civilians while commander of the Nato-led force Isaf in south-west Afghanistan apologised for the deaths and, this was it. I do not want to rant about the cruelty and the blatant ...

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The clean shaven, liberal Taliban

A few days ago, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government formed a committee, headed by a female legislator, to probe the matter of university teachers “harassing and physically abusing” their female students. Abuse of female students by teachers is not a new phenomenon. At least those who study or teach on campuses know this fact. It is somewhat an open secret. However, the scale to which this crime has grown , no longer allows it to remain hushed up. The issue has, in fact, become the talk of the town in Peshawar. While there is no official confirmation as to who was involved the ...

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