Diary of a Feminist: Love Takes Courage

When I think of the three of them I tell myself at least Azhar Bhai could have lived in contentment. Being a man, he had more power, more control over the events. He could have steered himself, if not his mother and sister, out of it all.

But what went wrong?

He was handsome. He still is. Only his flamboyance is gone, replaced with sobriety. But I vividly remember he was quite a lady killer. Many of my cousins were crazy ab­out him. He was a charmer. He had a hell of a time with girls. I couldn’t have known all about it but my elder brother and I were great friends and he used to tell me some stories.

Even if my brother hadn’t told me about Azhar Bhai’s extra-curricular activities, I would have known it anyway. My cousin sister, Farah, though elder to me but closer, had a crush on him. And everybody knew it. It was in the family.

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Diary of a Feminist: The Mystery of Love and (Second) Marriage

Love is a mystery. Or so they say. But marriages in our society puzzle me more. Particularly the sec­ond marriage. Sure, sec­ond marriages are no en­igma for men. It’s quite simple and easy for them. But why? And how could it be so smooth, so painless?

I wondered as I watched Bano Qudsia’s drama of ’83, Hikayatain, Shikayatain at my friend’s place. In a fara­way, small, peaceful city of Azad Kashmir. My friend is married. And like most of the couples I’ve come across, they’re quite a mismatch. My friend and her husband have only three things in common — age, blood and temper. Both are 29, first cousins and temperamental.

So there I was — a house guest — watching the play late at night. My friend’s husband was in the other room with their four-year-old daughter (he is not interested in plays. He prefers to watch wrestling, cricket).

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Diary of a Feminist: When the Magic is Gone

Could marriage be the most boring end of a ro­mance? Once I thought it couldn’t be. And I used to be furious at those who mocked at love-birds when they took wedding vows. Now as I watch Seema and Umer, married for the last six months, I couldn’t help but yawn and say, “How boring!”

Since the days when I was an idealist and had a heady notion of love, I have ob­served some love marriages. And how did they turn out? Anywhere between sour, troubled, smooth or inspiring. Never before did I witness a love marriage that was boring.

For instance, Parveen and Sultan’s turned out to be a real tough one.

After marriage Parveen found out Sultan wasn’t am­bitious enough and he dis­covered she was too materialistic. And they both realised their likes and dis­likes weren’t the same.

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Dairy of a Feminist: Friendship Between Men and Women

Why can’t we have men friends the way we have women friends? A volatile question indeed, that of­ten puzzles a friend of mine. She thinks women can have friendship with men.

What she means by friend­ship is a relationship based on mutual understanding and care and sharing of interests and ideas — minus motive, sans desire. Just like a rela­tionship that exists between two female friends.

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Diary of a Feminist: The Surprising Casualties of Catastrophe

When a marriage falls apart, who suffers? Either of the spouses, logically. The woman, most prob­ably. But there are times when logic fails in our peculiar social scenario.

When I saw Aapa lately, I was dumb struck. She looked like a ghost of her former self. From a plump, hefty woman she had been reduced to a skeleton. Dark circles had made her eyes sunk deep in her shriveled face. Her skin had broken into a rash and her body itched from eczema — a long suppressed ailment that re-surfaced with a ferocity.

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Diary of a Feminist: The Ties That Bind

There is something get­ting on my nerves day by day: it’s hypocrisy in our society and our life. Above all, in familial relation­ships. It makes me sick and I dread the day when it would rob me completely of my trust and pride and good feelings I have for the ‘family’.

The ‘family’ of the East has been so glorified and its accounts so studded with adjectives like ‘love’, ‘warmth’, ‘cohesiveness’, ‘stability’, etc., that it’s almost a sacrilege to point out any flaws, glar­ing or subtle. You can only talk about ‘the good’ and dare not contemplate ‘the bad and the ugly’.

And the last thing you can question is the parent-child rela­tionship.

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Diary of a Feminist: Idle Husbands

Of all the misfortunes that befall women in our society I think the hardest is an idle husband. A husband who doesn’t work, doesn’t earn, doesn’t do home chores, and neither does he go away and leave the woman (and kids) alone. A woman stuck with such a husband is in a quandary.

An idle husband (nikthatto shauher) is not an uncommon phenomenon in our society. Women suffer in silence ac­cepting their condition as fate. They know the treat­ment of this diseased situa­tion is divorce. But they don’t want a divorce because of the stigma attached.

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