Stories about parents

The seven-year-old rape victim

As journalists, we are told to be neutral, to leave our emotions aside and not become part of the story. There comes, however, a point when you just cannot write the word-by-word account without getting emotional. Your fingers refuse to proceed with the story as if not writing it would somehow reverse time. My breaking point came when I was asked to edit a story about a seven-year-old girl raped in Dera Ismail Khan. When one works for a newspaper, one can argue that coming across rape cases can become a routine. But this case was different. Though the girl survived the gruesome act, was ...

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Is your child’s backpack too heavy?

Recently, my eldest son joined school at the nursery level for formal education. I was surprised at the list of things to collect: books, copies, pencils, sharpeners, lunch box, water bottle, bag, uniform, shoes, socks and other uniform-related articles for him. For me, it was a long process to find the required paraphernalia to enable him for this first phase in his life. I noticed two issues while going through the admission process and collection of required items for my child. I have to pick and drop my son from school daily. In doing so, I found that the weight of ...

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Teaching your child how to drive? Bad idea!

A few years ago, I crashed our car onto a footpath as I was learning how to drive by the beautiful, empty stretch along the sea. My father was in the passenger seat and I maintain, to this day, that he should be held more responsible than me. Is this tossing of blame typical, youthful insolence on my part? Perhaps, to an extent, but hear me out.  Parents can certainly do a lot of things, wear many hats, but there are some tasks you just need to call in the professionals for. In my case, it was learning how to drive. Yes, I ...

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She told me not to buy the motorbike…

Ammi was screaming and creating a fuss around the house. Abbu sat in his corner, silent. “He is just 21-years-old! No boy this young in my family has ever had a bike,” Ammi cried. Abbu nodded, not taking his eyes off the newspaper. “Are you listening to me? I said this boy is not going to get a bike. And that’s final,” Ammi was infuriated. Abbu just smiled. I knew the court had ruled in my favour. Abbu’s smile was the verdict: I was finally getting a bike. It was the best feeling of my life; owning a bike, taking it to university instead of boarding ...

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Someone else’s daughter

My daughter is a young lady now, A ‘woman of the time’, Geared up to conquer the world.   With all the support and confidence, Of her family, And above all, Her father, Behind her.   Her questions have also matured, She is perplexed to see, My diplomas and degrees, Talent and dreams, Gathering dust in musty, dog-eared folders, Packed away in dusty, yellowing, cardboard boxes; A graveyard of evidence, That I, too, was a woman of my time.   She is confused at my non-existent existence, An email-less, Facebook-less, cell-phone-less, near-servile existence.   ‘My father is the best man in the world’, She proclaims proudly, Then questions, The different boundaries, That define the identities, Of two women, In the same house.   I know I can put an ...

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When a child dies

His eyes; bright, innocent and carefree, Guileless; so perfect in their entirety, Smile; pure, sweet, untarnished, certainly, it was cherished.   Mother, father- forever doting, Precious like a diamond, As beautiful as a lily floating, In crystal clear waters.   But his life, taken away so suddenly, Cut short, ’tis such a tragedy, Why must things be so? The mother, she scarcely believes her eyes.   On the cold stone floor he lies, “No” she whispers, “he is sleeping”, My eyes fill with tears, I cannot help weeping.   “Wake up! Dear one, wake up!” She cries again and again, He does not, will never again, rise, Still she calls his name, in vain.   I cannot feel what she feels, I only taste a ...

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The suicide bomber

Butterflies. I like butterflies. What attracts me about butterflies is the vibrancy in which they express themselves, being the centre of attention, as they make their way through the fields. I doubt that there has ever lived a person who has despised butterflies. So harmlessly, they decorate our world; like the stars in the night sky, butterflies lighten up the air we breathe in. It’s sad that I have not seen a real butterfly yet. But I’m sure that one day I will. For the time being, I am happy looking at pictures of them in a book that my ...

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Jahaiz, destroying families one wedding at a time

The absurdity of the dowry norm, commonly known as jahaiz, prevalent in our society has long been debated. I did not realise the gravity of the issue until recently when my father’s cousin had to sell off his shop — the sole source of income for his family — to arrange the jahaiz for his daughter. The girl is now happily married to a financially stable guy but her family back home is finding it hard to survive. Her mother, who started sewing clothes to earn a living, has developed an eye illness that cannot be treated due to the treatment’s high ...

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Murdering a baby

On a cold afternoon, reading the news item about female foetuses found in a garbage drum, I cringed with horror and pain. It’s too late though; no one can do anything about these innocent victims now. These girls could have grown up to be beautiful women who could have shouldered the pain and responsibilities of their parents. If only they were given a chance. Deemed as burden before their birth, they were aborted and thrown out into the trash. A female child does not saddle her parents with misery or affliction; she is a joy for the soul. If only ignorant people ...

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Abboo always on my mind, forever in my heart

Abboo passed away last week. He was in the ICU for almost five months and eventually after fighting like the resilient man we all knew, he met his Creator at the age of 73. My father was an extremely ordinary man by all accounts, but he was a superman as far as my sisters and I are concerned. I excused my mother because it is my impression that he was a normal husband however, he was an extraordinary father. I don’t want this piece to be a cliché ridden ode from a son, because I have always felt that if all fathers were good ...

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