Stories about taboo

After recovery: Who wants a woman like you?

This week I visited the Punjab Institute of Mental Health (PIMH) in the Shadman area of Lahore with my class. We noticed a stark difference between the men’s ward and the women’s ward. It was a heartbreaking experience. I came to realize that the stigma of being a “mental patient” can mean loneliness and isolation for all psychiatric patients, especially women. The men’s ward When we entered the men’s ward we saw a group of men clad in bright blue shalwar kameez and mismatched sweaters. They were seated on rough carpets on the floor, basking in the warmth of the winter sun. These were the stable ...

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The taboo against ambition

When I was eight-years-old my greatest pleasure in life was spending Saturday afternoons in my father’s office. I would be allowed to sit at his massive oak desk with mountains of papers and neaten up while he looked at files or took phone calls. I was mesmerized by the sheer amount of papers he could read, the fact that he had a computer at his desk and a secretary outside his office. As my mary-janed feet dangled from his swivel chair I would think “Daddy must be smart”. The measures by which my eight-year-old self had determined that my father was successful were ...

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Money 101: A beginner’s guide to saving

We are living in times of great economic distress and unless you have spent the better part of the past three years living under a rock I am sure you have felt the pinch starting from petrol to sugar prices. As a nation we are renowned for our hospitality, our generosity – in fact most of us use are likely to tell a cautious spender “Stop being kanjoos!” More often than not the butt of most overspending and monetary mis-management jokes is the fairer sex. At the work place you are likely to hear comments such as “she is only ...

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Walking the street…

As I sat in my car stuck in a traffic jam on Zamzama, I noticed two women standing on the pavement. One appeared to be in her late twenties and the other barely 16 or 17-years-old.  Their high heels, tight tank tops and heavy makeup made them stand out. Both seemed to be waiting for a ride. They kept leaning towards the road giggling at each other. A Civic slowed down as it approached them. As a window rolled down a short conversation took place and the two women got in the car. I realized I had just witnessed two prostitutes getting ...

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