Stories about parents

Young cricketers: Sowing the seed for a better future

Over the past three years, despite the team being anything but consistent, the Pakistan team has managed to perform quite well in tournaments. Of the three World Twenty20s, we have reached two finals and narrowly missed out on a place in the third. A semi-final appearance in the Champions Trophy and now a last-four finish in the World Cup is quite a record. When I signed on as Pakistan’s strength and conditioning coach three years ago, my aim was to try and change not only the fitness culture of the team but also to leave a legacy. I had hoped that ...

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Are you afraid to be ordinary? Einstein wasn’t

My nephew Azlaan will turn one this year on May 3 and his entire life and career have already been sketched out for him by his parents, grandparents and even his aunt – me! Every day, while preparing his bath, his grandma smiles at his tiny little hands and passes her verdict: he will be a surgeon when he’s older. I disagree, he’ll be a writer. She frowns and tells me, “Of course not! Can’t you see, he has the fingers of a surgeon?” Nana jaan, on the other hand, wants him to be a finance guru like himself. And his parents ...

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Why we buy junk food (and other junk)

Ever noticed how a six-year-old screams in excitement at the thought of junk food and squeals in pain at the thought of fruits and vegetables? While many parents accuse the persuasiveness of food companies’ marketing strategies for their children’s avid interest in junk food, they are guilty of the same tactic. Whether it’s the Popeye story to get kids to eat spinach or Bugs Bunny to get them to eat carrots, parents employ the same strategy. But it is not just kids that are gullible in the face of such immaculate marketing; it is every aunty that gasps at lawn billboards and ...

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The inconvenience of late night announcements

Late on Monday evening, the provincial government announced a holiday on account of Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi. The delayed announcement caused students, teachers and parents a great deal of trouble in the morning when they realised that schools were closed for the day. While I understand the need to close down schools in light of processions, considering the security risks they entail, I fail to understand why such public holiday announcements have to be made at the last minute. It is unfair because those who didn’t watch the news after 10 pm probably had no knowledge of this announcement. A colleague told me that ...

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Leaving home: Clouded judgement, or a blessing in disguise?

A friend wrote a blog recently about his accidental encounter with journalism where he mentioned he had moved out of his house because he had developed some differences with his mother. The only thing most readers took away from that entire piece was what could have possibly gone so wrong that the ‘poor guy had to turn away from his family’. Drama – it’s what we crave. Without it, life just seems so bland. Several comments on his post said the same thing, “Try making up with your family,” and so on. No one focused on the fact that the move had ...

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Parents’ role in infusing tolerance

Intolerance has risen to a level that now threatens the very survival of our society, Islamic or secular. People in positions of responsibility don’t think twice about commenting, in rather careless and offensive language, about the deep-rooted beliefs of millions of people. On the other hand, those who take offence think it right to settle scores with those who made the comments through any means possible. People start fighting in bazaars, parks, as well as on public transport. Someone asked the Holy Prophet (pbuh), “How many times shall I forgive my slave? He keeps on making mistakes.” “Seventy times,” was the reply. Many ...

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No dowry, no bride, no wedding

My 21-year-old maid Noor Jahan recently told me about her unwillingness to get married so as to avoid putting her parents through any kind of pressure. The ‘pressure’ she spoke of was the high demand for dowry by her would-be in-laws. Culturally, we are accustomed to hearing about the 10 tolas of gold given to the groom’s family along with a bungalow, car, washing machine, furniture, bed sheets, shower curtains, needles, and so on, to feed the desire of greedy in-laws. Sure, when one can afford it, parents give their daughters these ‘presents’ generously. However, Noor Jahan comes from the working ...

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We are racist, like our parents were

Growing up I was often told by my parents to stay out of the sun. Like most middle class Pakistanis, they were worried that the complexion of my skin will become dark if I spent too much time outside. My aunts flung concerned glances at me and my cousins during summers, especially when we were returning home after playing cricket, and made taunting comments about our tanned skin. Thus, from a very early age I learned that having dark skin was something to be embarrassed of. My classmates were also familiar with this racial demarcation, so making fun of kids ...

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Money 101: Can your bank balance afford college?

An impending new year means new beginnings and if most of us could go back in time we would possibly start off with the beginning of our college years or ‘A’ levels onwards. Being a fan of equal opportunities it irks me to see commercial banks roll out cheesy advertisements where a grey haired couple is seen beaming at a son wearing a graduation cap and a daughter wearing a bridal outfit. What if the daughter wants to become a chemical engineer and all the son dreams of is his Deepak Perwani sherwani? But either way, college education is something ...

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Cigarette promotions: Is free always better?

My brother, who is studying in Malaysia, recently went to a tobacco company-sponsored event where free cigarettes were distributed among all those in attendance. He didn’t tell us about it himself; his Facebook did. Upon questioning, he said it was a promotion whereby two free cigarettes were given out to each individual who showed his identity card and the event pass. Further probing revealed that the crowd mostly comprised young men and women between the ages of 18 and 30. It is human nature that when something is being offered free of charge, one feels the compulsion to have it. Of ...

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