Stories about sister

The scars of her henna

Zarah Hussain, a 17-year-old girl from Lahore Grammar School International, won an essay competition organised by the British Royal Commonwealth Society. This is a proud moment for Pakistan and highlights how much talent we have in this country. We hope she continues her love for words and wish her all the best for the future. The following is the short story that won her the accolade: Red. Gold. Adorned in jewels, henna lacing her fingers with intricate, never ending flowers. And hidden in the henna somewhere would be written the name of her most beloved. A dream she’d dreamt since she’d seen the ring ...

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Pitting sibling against sibling will only fail you as a parent

Recently, a friend of mine shared her personal story with me. When she was in high school, she excelled in English. However, this didn’t matter to her mother, because she was weak in Chemistry and Physics – subjects her older sister excelled in. What hurt her the most was when her mother would yell at her, “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” I’m glad my friend was confident enough to share this experience that had such a lasting impact on her. But I’m not surprised at all, since I have heard similar stories countless times. I have heard them ...

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From bhaiya to saiyaan: The dangers of cousin marriages

I was surfing through the channels when I came across a TV serial, Mein Maa Nahi Banna Chahti (I don’t want to be a mother). I was able to grasp bits and pieces of the story – the heroine liked another man but her father coerced her into marrying her phuppo’s (paternal aunt) son. The phuppo, meanwhile, desperately wanted a male heir. The storyline was repetitive and regressive but I stuck around for a few more episodes, and I am grateful that I did, because the drama tackles a crucial issue – genetic abnormalities in children born in cousin marriages. Before pseudo theologians and geneticists come after me with ...

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Pink: No, she does not want to have sex with ‘you’!

How do you break a woman who has the audacity to have a spine to stand up for herself? What does it take to knock her down if she has the gall and gumption to fight against all that’s wrong? How do you shut a girl who has the temerity to have a rational mouth on her? Well, you can’t! And B-Town has finally manifested the point in all its cinematic mightiness. In the prevailing culture of putrid patriarchy, if a female refuses to submit, it is considered as an attack on the male ego. You label her a slut, ...

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Ashraf Chaudhry, slut-shaming is not ‘freedom of speech’

A country must be a mother. No other person could suffer so much at your hands and still call you its own. We may call Pakistan our mother, we may respect it as if it was our mother, we may even love it like our mother but is there a place for mothers, sisters, and daughters in this Pakistan? Is there no country for women? We are quick to stand up in arms when the sanctity of our adopted mother is called into question. We are often told, “The sovereignty of Pakistan must come first.” There was a similar visceral reaction in Pakistan to the ...

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The ‘frandship’ caller conundrum

It might be odd for many but a guy like me has also gotten frandship calls over the years. Partly because my voice didn’t break for the longest time and the pervert on the other end didn’t believe that he was, in fact, talking to a guy. Similarly, I had to pretend to be my sister when the pizza delivery guy called confirming the address. Pizza guy: Aap Mr Ali kay ghar say baat kar rahi hain? Me: Jee, main Ali ki behen hoon. However, though the history of my former voice seems interesting, it is not the point of this blog. It is in fact, about the annoyance of frandship calls that ...

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Malala and Abeer: The difference in the narrative told by the West

Have you heard of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi? Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi was a 14-year-old Iraqi girl who lived in a house to the southwest of Yusufiyah, a village to the west of the town of Al-Mahmudiyah, Iraq. She lived a middle-class life with her 34-year-old mother Fakhriyah Taha Muhsin, 45-year-old father Qasim Hamza Raheem, two brothers and younger sister, six-year-old Hadeel Qasim Hamza. Though not much is known about Abeer, one can imagine her childhood; playing with rag dolls, following her mother as she made khameeri rotis and tossing one pebble after another in a stream running near their house. When ...

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I am not your sister, mother or wife; I carry my own identity

Ripley’s believe it or not (the Pakistani version) A woman physically attacked a man in a restaurant because he intruded her personal space. She tried to make him back down. There was a sense of injustice that spurred this violence because she wanted to drive home the fact that she has the same claim to her personal space as he did to his, both in public and private domains. She too is a human being and her claim to her space remains valid regardless of her gender. It turns out the concept of being human is elusive, almost faded beyond ...

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A letter to Adnan Rashid: Do the Taliban have a bullet for every raised voice?

Dear Mr Adnan Rashid, I am writing to you in my personal capacity, as I’m shocked by what you have written to Malala Yousufzai, my sister by religion. I am surprised that you don’t want to argue whether religion permits attacking a girl or not, and yet, you have the audacity to say that your emotions for Malala were brotherly. In Islam, and in our culture (and I suppose in your culture, too), we don’t support the brother who stands by the attacker when his sister is attacked. In her articles published in BBC Urdu, Malala only wrote about her woes after ...

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Please don’t stare at my sister

My little sister is well into adulthood. Mentally, however, I’d say her behaviour is that of a particularly sober and socially adept five or six year old.  This is due to a combination of Down’s syndrome and profound hearing loss (which has obviously been a hindrance to her development). It also means that she cannot speak and relies on a slightly limited sign language vocabulary.   As she’s the baby of the house, we all do as much as we can to spoil her. One of my pet activities with her is frequenting coffee shops and restaurants. She loves the ...

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