Stories about shame

Dishonoured

For every person, there is one emotion they can never handle with ease. For me, that emotion is anxiety. As I stand amidst the neon lights and blaring music, my hands are sweating profusely and my eyes dart from corner to corner in search of a means of escape. My heart is clogged with a lump that threatens to emerge in the form of tears. The atmosphere around me is so loud that I feel my own personality melting into the beats of the drums. But no matter how much I wish to, I can’t drink away the troubles of ...

Read Full Post

Lacking poignancy, ‘What Will People Say’ could have been more nuanced and relatable

In her second movie, What Will People Say, Pakistani-Norwegian filmmaker Iram Haq tries to relay the experience of a teenager who is caught between the fairly conservative background of her family and the liberal atmosphere of the country she calls home. The film – which is apparently inspired by the director’s own life – is centred on the story of 16-year-old Nisha (Maria Mozhdah), who is a typical Norwegian girl when she’s out with her friends but forced to conform to her parents’ strict rules when she is at home. After being caught fooling around with her boyfriend in her ...

Read Full Post

Born in between, without honour

A loud cry echoed throughout the silent room, followed by the hustle and bustle of nurses. Sighs of relief were let out along with cries of joy as smiles crept across everyone’s faces. The long-awaited guest had finally arrived. The father swirled in ecstasy as he leapt forward to take the little bundle of joy into his arms. However, this feeling of joy was quick to fade as the nurse brought forth the baby with her head bowed down in dismay. She walked past the joyous father and placed the small human wrapped cosily in a blanket into the mother’s ...

Read Full Post

They said I was a paedophile, a prostitute, sick in the head, all because I loved a younger man

I was in the 10th grade when a friend of mine told us that she was in love with this guy who was a trainee pilot and was six years older than her. Quite frankly, it did not strike me as anything unusual since my own parents have an age gap of around eight years between them. And if anything, such age differences are deemed desirable by our society at large. I was also fully aware that my friend was mature and knew what she was doing. At no point in that conversation were the intentions of the guy doubted. ...

Read Full Post

In a sea of faces, she was the anomaly

She got off from an old rickshaw and paid the driver in small bills. The driver counted the money twice and left without even looking at her. Some would have called the driver rude, but for her this was routine. She started heading towards the crowded market. Such places troubled her, but it’s impossible to find a secluded vegetable market these days. She wore simple clothes, a plain black shalwar kameez and a shawl that covered her head while also slightly covering the left side of her face. She was not someone who would look good in fancy clothes, or ...

Read Full Post

#MeToo: I was 8 when he taught me that a woman’s body is everyone else’s but her own

“Dekh ke aahangar ki dukaan mein Tund hai shu’le, surkh hai aahan.” (See how in the blacksmith’s forge, Flames leap high and steel glows red) I was 15-years-old when I wrote a letter to my father. I was struggling at school, getting into trouble in the neighbourhood and fighting with my siblings at home. You know the usual teenage angst. I wrote, “Dad, I know what S* uncle did. I remember everything. I need help.” The week after, my father insisted that I attend a family friend’s wedding with him. At the wedding, he asked me to step outside the hall for five minutes. ...

Read Full Post

My right hand is clean

Laughter. Running around. Two toddlers and a baby having a jolly good time. Favourite place, Nani ma’s home; the room with the large windows, letting in the afternoon sun, warm and friendly, dancing around the marble floor. One disgusting teenage boy. Around 14 or 15. With yellow teeth and a hideous laugh. Watching over the children as they play. Hired for the ‘supervision’ of the baby. Looking for an opportunity to strike. And then he found one. “Do you want to play with a new toy?” He asked the little girl, who was gleefully laughing as she chased her cousin around the room. She ...

Read Full Post

Because smoking damages a man’s lungs and ruins a woman’s honour

While universities around the world are trying to promote freedom of expression and invest in the development of their students, in the case of Pakistan, higher education institutions are stifling debate, cracking down on any independent thought and churning out automatons by the hundreds. For instance, they are more focused on wasting paper with unoriginal research papers, as former students of University of Engineering and Technology (UET) were recently caught plagiarising a whole paper verbatim and almost got away with having it published. International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) has stopped its students from celebrating Pakhtun culture day, while Punjab University arrested ...

Read Full Post

The silence that kills us

Perhaps it isn’t the discomfort of the narrow streets which makes liberty unbearable for us, It isn’t the sharp scents of sweat which disgust us, It isn’t the crowd which suffocates us, In fact, it isn’t the noise, the crowd or the obvious lack of quality in products, It’s the silence.   The unsaid hush when I turn to speak up to the unwanted hands up my clothes, The constant background whistles of frustrated middle-aged men, It’s the toxic masculinity which suffocates us, The vulnerability when your body turns into a canvas, Painted by obnoxious stares, Held by unholy hands.   It’s the desensitisation, the normalisation, the silence, The echoes of shameless name ...

Read Full Post

5 reasons why every parent and child need to stop everything and watch ‘Meri Guriya’

Our local drama industry has been producing hits after hits. Thankfully, now we are not just producing entertaining content but also emphasising on content that educates the masses. We weren’t even done applauding the recently concluded Khaani, when we were graced with another amazing drama called Meri Guriya. The serial brings to light one of the darkest and less-talked about realities of our society: child sexual abuse, rape and murder. Though not the first of its kind, Meri Guriya is inspired by a real story and realistically portrays the aftermath of such a horrendous crime. Brilliantly scripted by Radain Shah and ...

Read Full Post