When you're old

Your children will forget you when you’re old

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“Let me tell you a story”.

She immediately had my attention.

I perched myself at her feet, cross legged. Just like at school when it was story time. I held my breath as my mum began.

This is a story about a boy who grew up taking care of his father. His father was blind. This boy, now a man, would cook for his father. He’d bathe him and take him out whenever he had time.

He also had a wife and son of his own, a job and lots of responsibilities.

As his father grew older, he lost use of his legs and had to move around in a wheelchair. Read More

what will people thinks

What your parents mean when they ask “What will people think?”

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Hands up if you enjoy being told what to do.

Anyone? Anyone?

Unless you’ve been conditioned for obedience since birth, being told what to do’s something that makes your skin crawl.

And if your parents are from South-Asia, being told what to do is something that happens from birth, but conditioning for obedience’s somehow lost. On some of us.

Raising obedient children is a tough task. Not every parent can do it.

Colour me grateful. Read More

Scared of my mum

I’m scared of my Mum

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I got my first tattoo when I was 21.

It was my penultimate year at university. I was married and miserable. But my rebellious streak was alive and well.

So I decided to get a tattoo. I’d always wanted one, and when else than on a birthday as significant as the 21st?

Of course it took me months to grow a pair and finally get it done.

My birthday was in February but I got the tattoo in October.

Eight months of prep for fifteen minutes of agony and a lifetime of did you design that yourself? Read More

parents compare

Do your parents compare you to others?

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Picture the scene:

Salma’s seven years old.

Like most seven year old girls, she likes to draw pictures, play with her friends and dreams of one day becoming a ballerina.

Some days she dreams of being a princess.

And on the days her parents talk about her future, she hears the terms your family and your own children and thinks: I don’t know what that means but it doesn’t sound too bad. But why do they keep mentioning doctors and lawyers? I don’t like blood and I don’t know what the second one is.

Her dreams change daily. She’s seven years old. Read More

Don’t let their lies create your identity

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When I was a child, my mum used to tell me that I was adopted.

She’d take great pleasure in telling me this story.

It wasn’t like she repeatedly told me over the course of a decade and single-handedly corrupted my psyche. It’s likely she told me once, ‘jokingly’, but it’s an experience that has stuck.

It stuck so much that I remember telling one of my friends at school. I must have been about six.  Read More

When history repeats itself

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“I’m your father now.”

He placed his hand on my head, closed his eyes, and released a heavy sigh.

My face was as white as my dress.

The room had been completely silent as I’d repeated the prayers after the Imaam. I’d said yes to the marriage three times. My signature went on multiple papers. And then it was done.

His eyes brimmed with tears. So did mine. Read More

Self-harm of self-healing?

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You never plan for it to happen.

It isn’t a conscious decision.

You don’t wake up one auspicious morning and defiantly attest: Yes, today’s the day.

It creeps up on you. It’s gradual. A feeling that remains unannounced until it can’t be ignored.

You judge the ones that have come before you.

Read More