Stories about relatives

The 8-step guide to help you expertly navigate the crazy maze that is Eidul Fitr

It’s almost time to put your rozas away and bring out the charming ‘please eidi me’ smiles. However, in the woke-era of 2018, celebrating Eid is a much more complex and charged event than it ever has been in the past. And with the elections coming up, probably not the best time to have the entire khandaan (whole family) gathered under the same roof.  I realise not everyone possesses the same spontaneity and adaptability that I do, so I’ve put together a eight-step guide to help you expertly navigate through the maze of Eidul Fitr 2018: 1. Mom versus eidi Repeat after me: ...

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Today is Eid, and I want to be home, not abroad

For every other day of the year, deciding what to wear early morning would be a task in itself, but not today. A kurta is hanging in the corner of my wardrobe. The entire year, I pretended it wasn’t there, but not today. Today is Eid in New York. It begins by embracing a traditional outfit to feel somewhat closer to home. A shower early morning and as usual a rush to the mosque is the norm. While trying to beat traffic to catch Eid prayer, a call back home to my parents is my favourite part. Each year, my mom asks my ...

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The invasion of the Lahori relatives

There are times when one must write. The alternative is to burst – which would be messy. Because they came today, the rellies (relatives), while I was playing Scrabble on Facebook in a pleasant state of mindlessness. Have you ever played Scrabble? It can be exciting but right then the game was slow. I had just played ‘qi’ which, short as it is, often gets well over 30 points but this time I only got 22. Then my opponent somewhere in Australia played ‘hick’ which got him 18. Obviously he wasn’t having a good day either. Then I played ‘koi’ ...

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7 types of Pakistani immigrants you’re likely to come across in Canada

It’s been a little over a year since my immigrant status got confirmed in Canada and I have met some interesting kinds of Pakistanis. Immigrants who tend to fall in a certain ‘type’. Even I fit in there somewhere. This is based solely on my observation and interaction. At the risk of over-generalisation, here goes: 1. Perpetual Complainers Inc. (PCI): ‘I complained in Pakistan. I’ll complain here. Stop me if you can.’ In Pakistan, they complained about the skin-sizzling heat. In Canada, they complain about the mind-numbing cold. Back home the hoard of house helpers was too much to handle. Now, they whine ...

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Series 1: “Dreams of Lunacy” Part 1 Dreams

“Father, what do we live for?” “What do you mean?” “You came, you built a family, and now all that remains of you are pictures throughout the house, and memories scattered throughout your family and relatives. But slowly, the pictures will get old, packed in big forgotten cardboard boxes. And the memories will retreat further inside, as room for newer ones is made… So, then if life will wash away all of our efforts, why move in the first place?” “You have been to an eye specialist, right?” “Yes, but please don’t change the topic.” He smiles, and continues, “When the eye specialist has to decide ...

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I am happy being single, don’t force me to mingle!

If you live in Pakistan, have completed your studies and gotten a job, then you may be one of those victims who are constantly pinched with that one hot question day and night, “When are you getting married?” Everyone wants to know the answer to this million dollar question, whether it’s your parents, siblings, grandparents or relatives. It looks as if everyone’s happiness depends on your marriage. Your 100-year-old granny will advise you, “Beta, jaldi se shaadi kar lo take main apni zindagi main tumhare sar pe sehra saja dekh sakun.” (Son, get married quickly so that I can see you getting married while ...

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The Muslim wedding flight

In-flight announcement: “Good afternoon to our two lovely passengers! I’m delighted to welcome you aboard the Muslim Wedding Flight from parental to in-laws abode. My name is Fayaz Pasha and I’m your in-flight Service Director. Your cabin crew (parents, relatives and friends) is here to ensure that you have an enjoyable flight. We are currently second in line for take-off and are expected to be in the wedding hall in approximately 20 minutes. We ask that you please fasten your expectations at this time and secure all your emotional baggage. Please make sure that your seats and tables are in the right position for ...

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10 relatives I meet every Eid

Eid is one festival that brings together even the most distant of family members. We celebrate it with so much love and enthusiasm, mostly in hopes of bagging as much Eidi as we can. There are, however, certain types of relatives that you are always reluctant to meet on this auspicious day. Here is a list of ten kinds of relatives you hope to not encounter on Eid as much as you get to, much to your disappointment. The unknown one: You walk into the drawing room and begin your round of hugs and Eid greetings. Just as you are about to sit ...

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How not to kill a crow

It was a pleasant, sunny day in Karachi and I was going about my usual everyday routine – which included thinking and fantasising about going to Amreeka. I was also expecting a few relatives to visit my place with their children. I generally enjoy people at my place. Wait, let me rephrase that. I generally enjoy people, whose children are well behaved, at my place. The relatives finally arrived and the children started playing in the backyard. It was a pleasant late afternoon and the sun was still shining, the elders sitting in the lawn enjoying chai (tea). This is when the ...

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Treat her like a lady, not a baby-making machine

Kaneez* has five young children with a small age difference between them. She works full-time as a domestic maid and takes short, rushed breaks in order to nurse her youngest child, a five-month-old infant. If her break becomes longer than the expected five minutes, she is severely rebuked by her employer.  Life is hard for Kaneez. Not only does her husband expect her to make ends meet, but also wants her to keep adding more children to the brood. Her children fight all the time, demand clothes and toys when she takes them grocery shopping and throw tantrums when their ...

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