Pakistan As I Once Knew It

I have an interesting relationship with Pakistan. Pakistan and I are often friends, sometimes a little estranged, and at times archenemies. This relationship has soured most in recent times. I feel that we as a people just lost our values somewhere and in that we lost a part of ourselves as well. I want to show my daughter a Pakistan that I saw and alas that is not possible and in that lays my resentment. As a child, I remember seeing my dad stay up on most nights working through his files though he was a government officer. He retired as the Chief Engineer of South Punjab. We often had a government jeep or car parked in our garage but we were never allowed to use the government’s petrol and property. It was a real life lesson in honesty and being righteous.

Our joys back then were simple too. We didn’t need extravagant vacations at exotic locations around the world to feel happy. I am still in awe of the times when it would rain in Lahore, and my family and I would talk about the sweet smell of wet earth Continue reading “Pakistan As I Once Knew It”

The Economies of Love and Marriage

A senior colleague observed that young couples in Pakistan who marry out of love seem to fall out of this love too quickly these days. Compared to this 20 or so years ago, even arranged marriages and yes love marriages were very successful. I have a similar observation. I just wonder what are the possible reasons for this. Possible reasons can be issues pertaining to the dismal state of economy, money, work life balance, inlaws… then I wonder if its just a Pakistani phenomenon. Since it is an issue very close to heart, please share your views and comments. I have been wanting to write an article on this for a while now.

A Short and Unpredictable Life

Twenty four year old Mustafa was the only son of a warm and gentle couple, which my father-in-law is friends with since his days in the Pakistan Army.  Mustafa was a trainee pilot in the Pakistan Air Force and we are shocked by his sudden demise this morning when two planes crashed midair during training at Risalpur ( He got engaged just two months ago. I shudder to think what his close family must be going through. I agree and believe wholeheartedly that there is a preordained time marked for your death. Also that death is inevitable. Yet, I feel that such incidences where youth passes away in accidents have become all too common in Pakistan. Obscure’s youngest client till date passed away in the Bhoja air crash on April 20th 2012. That was less than a month ago. Continue reading “A Short and Unpredictable Life”

Everyone’s Happy when Mom’s Happy: Recollections of a working mom

One of the girls in the Gymboree staff informed me that they will be inviting members to Mother’s Day on May 13th 2012. My tummy swelled up with a really sweet feeling. My kid’s playschool was holding an exclusive event to celebrate our motherhood. “Motherhood is earned Syma, you don’t just become a mother because you gave birth to a child”, the authoritative voice of one of my senior colleagues rang through my ears. It is earned alright. Every time Evania tests my patience, wants more candy, falls sick in the midst of a semester with burgeoning workload, and refuses to go to sleep though she is dog tired, I silently speak to myself my colleague’s words of wisdom. I am earning something that is priceless, worth every bit of the effort that I put into my precious baby girl. I have a duty to make a fine human being of this beautiful gift that God gave me a little over two years ago. And I owe her nothing. Nothing! It is a duty and you fulfill it without complaining or wanting anything in return. Continue reading “Everyone’s Happy when Mom’s Happy: Recollections of a working mom”

Tale of two Pakistans

Critically acclaimed author Mohammad Hanif writes about the situation in Pakistan in an article on BBC’s website ( The article is brilliant and captures the reality of life in Pakistan to quite an extent. Pakistan has been described by Newsweek magazine as “the most dangerous place in the world”. However, as intense fighting continues and casualties rise, Mohammed Hanif in Karachi says that for the moment there is still a thriving social life.

Last week I received an e-mail from the foreign editor of a European newspaper who said: “So I wonder if you could write a story for us about living in Pakistan which, looking from here, seems to be the bottom of hell.” Continue reading “Tale of two Pakistans”

Neglected issue: Meeting the odds

Dr Sabiha Essa Khan has written about some important and much ignored issues pertaining to women and their financial contribution with respect to family status in Pakistan in an article, “Neglected issue: Meeting the odds”, published in Dawn Newspaper (

We normally tend to give more importance to the issues which are seen in greater frequency. However, this often leads to the negligence of other serious issues, which, though not so common, are causing deep psychological and emotional problems. Continue reading “Neglected issue: Meeting the odds”