Stories about Rishta aunties

From the ‘Eidul Filter’ photo to the ‘#WokeUpLikeThis’ selfie, now you can nail the perfect rishta picture

If there’s one thing Pakistan is passionate about aside from chai, the Panama leaks and commenting on someone’s weight, it is rishtas. The rishta aunty is probably Pakistan’s third most popular profession – after doctors and engineers, of course – who are incidentally prime candidates for the rishta hunter. So if you’re looking for a rishta, please read the extremely serious plan below which clearly highlights how your life will transition from behuda (indecent) to shaadi shuda (married). The Eidul Filter photo: Eid is a great time to bond with family, collect eidi, and appreciate the joy brought on by sheer korma, right? Wrong. If ...

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If Beauty and the Beast was based in Pakistan, what would Belle’s fate be?

Oh Disney, you and your goo-goo eyed characters and mush-tacular storylines. Here’s the thing – you can’t fool us. We hail from the land of desis. We know what’s up. Just look at Beauty and the Beast. Unrealistic! We can believe the talking furniture and the enchanted experiments in botany, but as desis, we know exactly how it would have happened if Belle lived down the road from us. Our movie opens: The power of reading Gaston spots Belle running around with a book in her hand. This is one of the best things about a woman getting a degree and involving herself in education – ...

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He asked me why I never “act like a woman” – what does that mean?

Earlier this week, I went bursting into the courtroom to show my fellow colleague the new book I was reading. I exclaimed, “Oh my god. You have to see this!” Although no one was alerted by my vivacious excitement, he was completely mortified. He exclaimed, “What is wrong with you? Why do you never act like a woman? They are supposed to be quiet and elegant”. As annoyed as I was with his remark, I had to admit he revealed an unearthing reality of our society. Women are expected to be clones of the typical damsel in distress – quiet, shy, dignified – ...

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I have no sympathy for the YDA doctors

The Young Doctors Association (YDA) has been protesting for years now and people are just as unsympathetic (and in some cases, downright critical) as they have always been. Why though? Why can’t doctors catch a break? Heck, even Sheikh Rasheed managed to pull a Mission Impossible and drum up a following. And here we have the country’s cream, begging to be understood. The YDA recently ended their five-day sit-in in Lahore after successful negotiations with the Mayo Clinic chief executive. According to the YDA, the protest was called off on humanitarian basis. However, according to health authorities, the sit-in was called off due to the termination ...

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What is the older generation’s obsession with the word ‘compromise’ when it comes to marriage?

Marriage has too many complicated stereotypes attached to it. The more obvious ones include what the rishta aunties say all the time: “Apki beti khana pakati hai?” (“Does your daughter cook?”) “Apki beti lambi hai?” (“Is your daughter tall?”) “Apki beti ziyada umer mein bari tou nahi?” (“Your daughter isn’t too old, is she?”) “Apki beti zeyada tou parhi likhi nahi hai?” (“Your daughter isn’t ‘too educated’, is she?”) The aunties want their sons to be the ones who run the show — the girl shouldn’t be too smart, too educated. She has to be just the right amount of literate. Also, she should definitely know how to cook ...

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The rishta ordeal: “Quick, name all of the different kinds of pulao that exist today.”

When he first sauntered into the room, his family in tow, I was spellbound. He had these beautiful eyes, the colour of milk chocolate, and a smile that could illuminate an entire block. He had just the right height, and by the way he acknowledged my mother, I could tell that he was quite a gentleman. Instantly, I was certain that this was it, that after many exasperating months of encountering families and their obnoxious sons, I had finally met “the one”. And then he went and ruined it: He opened his mouth. He could have said anything, really. He could have said that my ...

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The ‘Bara Bhai syndrome’ – taking one family at a time

Recently, an international journal of psychiatry published a report about a new disease – the ‘Bara Bhai Syndrome’. It was discovered during research workshops held in Pakistan and India. The hallmark of this disease has been described as an extreme preoccupation with the duty of providing care to the family, heightened sense of sacrifice and responsibility, feeling of guilt and premature ageing. While the disease has been found to be more rampant in South-East Asia, thousands of immigrants in developed countries have also tested positive for it. The disease typically affects the first-born male child. However, comparable symptoms can also be exhibited by the only ...

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Don’t blame the men at home, when national leaders put women in boxes

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared that men and women are not equal, because this is against human nature, the two sexes being biologically different. He bashed at feminists who, according to him, do not understand the concept of motherhood and insisted on the primary and sole role of women being the caregivers. He has declared that every woman should have three children and proposed to limit abortions, morning-after pills and caesarean sections. Though it is accepted that a woman’s predominant role in life is that of a mother, she produces and raises a generation, she is the first institution for ...

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Rishta aunties and the girls who submit

“You’ve completed your O and A’ Levels. You got amazing grades and A’ Level is a great accomplishment. It’s time you get married now,” said my mother, on several occasions. When asked anxiously, “But what about my admission into IBA?” She would calmly reply, “Yes, yes. You’ve proved your mettle. Everyone knows you’re smart and clever. That’s why there are so many proposals.” Yes, that time was here. I was being badgered into getting married. The sad part about being educated is that you can tell when a person is annoyingly dim-witted. On the one hand, the aunties gushed about my intelligence, which according to my mother ...

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20 and about to get married? Say goodbye to your dreams and careers

“I can’t wait to pursue my bachelor’s degree abroad,” I beamed with delight. With disdain, as if I had said something extremely outrageous, I was asked,  “Wait, are you not going to get married?” Recently, my Facebook newsfeed was flooded with pictures of bridal and baby showers of girls whom I went to school with. I am 20-years-old and some of my friends are already married and have children. While I was taken aback by this at first, soon realisation began to hit me. This was it. This was the end of these young girls’ carefree lives and that too at the ripe ...

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