Let’s Protect Our Boys Too

Since this is an awareness post and I want to stick to reality of the struggles raising a boy, so let’s keep it all natural and stop ourselves from doing “Haws and hayyes” instead\n of spreading awareness among our kids.

Watching this week’s episodes of drama serial ‘Haiwan‘ airing on ARY Digital starring Faisal Qureshi, Savera Nadeem, Sanam Chaudhry and others has left me totally startled, paralysing my brain as a mother!

Where are we heading to? Our children are being deprived of their security and safety rights. The society we live in has shaped into an undomesticated ferocious beast with enormous claws ready to gulp down the most vulnerable, innocent beings.

The only way to fight this beast is to grill our children’s brains with awareness. No matter how small they are. Once they start their school, they are now the smarty pants, picking and grasping things with the speed of light.

To all the mothers of boys, don’t think they aren’t prone to any kind of abuse specially a sexual one. Because there is a visible increase in cases like those which are still unable to gather some media lights and continue to go unreported. And since the masculine sex is claimed to be powerful, their problems are often ignored and overlooked without much of a support from the ill-equipped legal system.

If girls are the delicate flowers of our society then boys too are our sunshine. We cannot and should not overlook their security aspects by merely saying “Larka hai!

Larka hai apna acha bura janta hai!

Larka hai sab kuch kar sakta hai!

Larka hai apne aap ko bacha sakta hai!

Larka hai, Maghrib pe bahar nikal sakta hai!

Larka hai, raat ko chat (roof) pe ja sakta hai!

Larka hai barish mein bahar khel sakta hai!

These notions need to be revised now. Because “wo tou larka hai lekin zamana ab kharab hai

Lately, my boy has been fascinated by small things around him including his body parts. Small toy cars, cute little books, tiny crayons, mini legos, little babies and even the tiniest nail of his pinky finger to be precise and of course his boyhood thing that amazed him being discovered during the struggling potty training session.

He always exclaims seeing anything smaller in size by joining his thumb and index finger, closing his fist, shutting his eyes saying “chota munna, isko pappi karte hain.” (little baby, let’s kiss it)

This may sound cute but the first time he said “isko pappi karte hain”, I got alarmed right then.

Because not everything needs a pappi from you!

The next day he got back from school and while mentioning the names of his newly made friends, he takes the name of a girl class fellow saying “Sara is so cute. She is my friend. Usko pappi karte hain?”

Not kidding, I was on the verge of a heart attack when a sudden realization shook me all over. And that was, he wasn’t telling me about kissing the girl. He was rather asking and confirming if he should pappify her?

Clearing the sweat from my forehead, I sat pulling my son into my arms, made him sit on my lap, raised my index finger, spoke in a final word tone and said,

Friends ko pappi nahi karte hain!”

The very next second he asked, “Handshake?”

I replied “Only with boys! You should not shake hand with any girl.

He again asked “and with miss Amber?

To which I again had to say “only boys!

Though teachers no doubt are your soul parents but again, they aren’t your real parent. Because the terms “maa jesi, baap jesa” have lost their essence and trust in the current socioeconomic situation.

Anyways, I kept on repeating this time and again and now whenever anyone asks him about the names of his friends he goes like:

Akbar is my friend. Usko handshake karte hain”

“Sara is my friend. Usko pappi ni karte, handshake bhi ni karte

People used to laugh it off at first saying: “abhi se admi bana dia hai bache ko

But I stayed determined. Because there is nothing like “abhi se” when bringing up a kid. It needs to be started from the initial years so that they can stick to it in their teens and afterwards. Whatever they learn from childhood is what they ace at after growing up. Their thinking, concepts, approach, emotions, habits have their roots spreading and gaining strength right after being able to utter their first word.

The next task was something that whenever I thought to give it a try, I found myself drenched in sweats of shyness and worries of explaining it to him because I am a mother to a boy! It was an awareness about his private areas. But I had to stand up, brace myself and take the lead preparing myself to answer all the ifs and buts.

And this one is the most crucial part of upbringing when raising your kids. Please, I repeat please sit down and think, devise your formulas and ways to make your child aware about it. This shouldn’t be ignored. Neither it is a topic to be Haww-ed! It’s merely the need of this hour. And only a mother can do this in the most polite and detailed way leaving no room for further interrogations and quenching her child’s inquisitive thirst if she is willing!

Anyhow, while the on going potty training sessions he discovered it and was startled to see the wonders it was able to perform by summoning to nature’s call. It left me thinking deeply how to satisfy his inquisitions in a polite yet contented manner so that he has nothing left to keep wondering about.

I started inculcating in his mind that you should not allow anyone to touch you. While washing him up and bathing him, I accidentally came in contact with it and said:

I am so sorry. Mamma shouldn’t touch it.

Since kids these days require an answer to every thing you forbid them to do, not only an answer but a rational one, He asked “why?”

I said “because we shouldn’t touch anyone here”.

He asked “Is it dirty?

I said “yes it is. That’s why you wash it every time in washroom.

The next time while playing, his father patted him right on the bums and my son came running to me saying: “Mammaa, baba touched me!

I said go and say “you shouldn’t touch me here.

And he obeyed.

The bad part about it is we don’t enjoy the full freedom to hug and kiss him now because he has become conscious!

But, this was the whole crux behind my all efforts.

The good part?

He has started taking confidence in sharing whatever he finds wrong. He has started establishing his trust in me. He has realized that he can come to me for whatever problem he jumps in deliberately or unintentionally.

And the best part?

He has learnt to raise his voice instead of finding it shameful to speak up for himself from a tender age of 2.8 years only!

Also read :Breaking the stereotype

Have you indulged this concept of self awareness and safeguard already in your child?

What has been your take on this? Do let me know via comments!

Silent Girls Struggles

There are majorly two types of girls according to my findings,

1. The bubbly and chatty ones
2. The sober and silent ones

I belong to the latter category since childhood and was most famous as ‘The Sober one‘ among my friends and family who always weighed her words and then spoke. I cannot speak random or speak a lot though my laughters have the capability to echo through the entire building, but it only happens when I have a bunch of “My People” around.

Since girls of a talkative and friendly nature have a visible dominance, the silent and sober ones always feel left out in the social circle. They ought to be very less of noticeable among people, that too comes with no surprise. I used to see girls having endless talks, chirping, laughing, giggling, gossiping and thought to myself, why can’t I be like that? Why I cannot initiate talks? Why I can’t jump into a random group talk and make myself comfortable? Why I can’t pass a smile to everyone and act like we have been friends forever?

I just couldn’t do any of above.
Sending a Facebook friend request, or hitting the follow button on IG was a complete no-no for me!

I was assumed as self centered, proud and egotistical.

These were the very first impressions I had on people right after the exchange of names. A very dear friend of mine revealed her opinion about me as soon as we got friendzoned, that too after alot of struggle from both our sides and that was “I always saw you as the angry one before

The silent ones do give a tough time to everyone, don’t they?
Maybe because they are afraid to engage in idle talks having no appropriate matter.
Or maybe because they hold a firm belief on

A shut mouth gathers no flies“.

Anyway, then came the age when our desi society finds a girl all ready to be adorned with the best of clothes and shoes for that one special day, showing up with trays or trolleys carrying a plate of circularly alligned biscuits overlapping each other (most commonly), a dish containing kebabs (shami kebabs to be precise) and a fork, a crystal bowl of polychromatic nimco (not very common but still practiced), the famous yellow bakery wala cake cut in slices sitting lengthwise in the middle of a plate overlapping each other, and lastly a tea set reserved in every home for special guests containing the most ehtimaam se banai gai Chae because she is now eligible for the mandatory match-making and being examined from the first hair strand on her head to her last toe nail. (I went through none of the above but witness it happening alot)

My family was actually worried and concerned about me because of the mere fact that I wouldn’t talk, A LOT!

That’s when I started to build an inferiority complex inside myself. I used to invent topics in my head so that I can have something to talk about. Something to say.

But how could I talk?

How could I just blabber things in order to gain few welcomes in the rishta culture?

Couldn’t I just be a good listener?

Is the action of ‘talking’ that much of an obligatory part for a girl’s identity?

Since we lived abroad back then, my grandmother (may her soul rest in peace) used to call my mother saying time and again k “Taskeen se kaho sab se baat kiya karey agey barh barh k.

Because I know there are girls out there who don’t need a push to engage in conversations.

There are girls who have the ability to pass a smile or greeting as a result of a mere eye contact.

There are girls who can have endless talks over a cell phone and need to be reminded about their pending chores.

There are girls who can easily match their chemistry with others befriending mostly everyone on their way.

There are many of them.

Plenty of them!

And I wasn’t one of them. (Read am instead of wasn’t)

My mother used to force me to have an ear to ear smile and get myself engaged in talks. Sometimes scolding,

Sometimes piyar se

In a taunting voice,

And then dara k

But since it wasn’t in my nature, I had to fight myself to obey. I got rebellious back in those days. Confronting people and meeting them was the last thing I wanted to do. I disliked welcoming guests at home because that called for continuous blabbering without hardly a minute or two of silence. Ammi while randomly talking to her friends used to say “She is all sober. I am so worried about her“.

And then 2, 3 aunties breaking the typical aunty-ism came to my rescue saying

Sober aur suljhi hui larkian aqalmand hoti hain, humein tou aesi he pasand hain

Not that I got married to any of those aunties sons yet happily married to the man of my dreams Alhamdolillah, but this one compliment boosted me up.

It made me realize a few things.

1. You should be comfortable in your own skin.

2. It’s not obnoxious to be all sober and serious.

3. Do not, I repeat DO NOT compare yourself with any of your sibling, friend, cousin, or any other xyz.

4. Whatever nature you possess, you should be able to carry it in the best possible and dignified manner.

Just love yourself the way you are and others will start loving you. Show your hidden potentials to the world without any comparison to others. And one day you surely will be acknowledged for who you are.

The true you.

The honest you.

The real you.

Concluding this with a self invented thought,
The beauty of silent ones lies in their quietness same as the charm of chatty ones lies in their talks


Do let me know about any of the struggles you faced being not very talkative…

The First Matters

Either say it as “the first matters” or “the first, matters“; Life is a series of the many first moments because there has to be a first time to everything. It is a sequence of some pleasant and nasty events successing one another. The human brain tends to forget a couple of things but what it cannot omit from within is the first success achieved no matter how big or small that was or the first failure encountered, the extent of which might have brought a trivial loss or a shattering outcome.

Everyone remembers their first times of everything.

Because the occurance of those things, happenings or events has a great deal of emotions attached. They are stored in the part of your heart and brain that doesn’t have an edit or delete option. Those first moments are the read only memories of one’s life.

Remember your first crush?

Or the first time you confessed about your love?

When you first secured a distinction in a subject or the first time you failed a monthly test?

When you for the first time baked a cake or a pizza and it got burnt?

The first time you wrote a poem or started drawing that got published irrespective of lacking perfection.

Mine in bottom right corner of Thursay magazine Oman, 2005

The first car you drove or the day you got the license?

First day of yours in a college or university (because one cannot remember the first one at school)

Remember your first job and your first pay no matter how low or high it was?

The first time you got engaged and it broke off unfortunately?

Your very first residence?

The first time you proposed and got rejected or married?

First thing you bought together after your wedding for your home? (For me it was a laundry basket 😁)

First vacation as a family?

The first time you conceived and sadly it didn’t continue?

No matter how immature/mature you were, you still remember most of those precious times don’t you?

Well I do. Most of them actually.

Life is just a matter of the very beginnings. The successions may continue to happen but it’s about the moments that top the list. That when you pen down in a diary mark the starting of its page.

For parents however, specially the mother, each first and every milestone of her child is the paramount of her motherhood. From the moment she conceived a tiny little nothing to seeing him/her growing into a complete beautiful human getting married and having children.

It leads her.

Drives her

Urges her to strive for better each day.

A hope for providing the best.

The first time she felt the kick inside her womb. When the little nothing hit her hard enough to mark its presence inside and then when she heard the first cry of her baby and started crying herself looking at the miracle she just gave birth to. When she for the first time held him in her arms and then placed him right on her heart to feel the strength of connection and warmth of the tiny little body. The day when baby sat without a support, then stood one day and started walking. The day he grew his first milk teeth.

Baby’s first birthday which you start planning right after his birth. Out of all other birthdays, the first one is special of its kind because you spend months in deciding the birthday theme, dresses, decor, food menu and what not (Nostalgic feels).

I decided on a Royal theme for my son’s first birthday

The first day of your baby’s school when he cried his lungs out and you were left with no choice but staying strong fighting back your own tears.

The first time your baby had to appear for a test despite being asked to just spell a ‘Cat‘. And from there beginning a never-ending series of countless assignments, tests and homeworks.

An examination of a lifetime.

A mother remembers it all. She doesn’t need any record books. The dates, the moments automatically engrave themselves on her mind and heart. Because motherhood is all about emotions, power and control. It’s about the authority. Authority to take charge and make the best of everything for her child. Authority to mark the beginnings. The power to celebrate and rejoice every milestone achieved and every first that occured.

Because a mother is a sovereign of her own kingdom.

The kingdom of her motherhood.

A day without maid

Day today started with the usual drill. Silencing the alarm with barely an eye open, leaving the warmth of my bed, sitting up for a minute to gather up all my strengths, lifting my heavy feet to leave the room because Mr.kitchen was calling my name to prepare my son’s lunch. Then waking him up, getting him ready for school, seeing him off with his father and returning to my room to tidy it up. Musing between having another brief round of sleep or remaining awake to welcome my maid, I decided the latter.

Scrolling between the television channels for time killing purpose I glanced up at my clock and it showed 10.30am. The exact time when she shows up daily.

Expecting my doorbell to ring any second from now, I sat upright and all ready to receive her with an inner mocking voice “han han ao tou sahi. Bohot kaam parey hain tumhare liye”..

Dismissing it with a complete nod of my head and laughing at myself for this evil-ish thought I made a virtual list of tasks in my mind that needed to be completed by my house help. Suddenly I realized it has been a little up than 10.30am. Caught between slight horror and brief shock of panic, I again checked the time.

11 am!! 30 mins past the time she usually shows up!!

My heart thudded minorly but I assured myself saying “abi aati he hogi. Dair se nikli hogi shayad. Thori dair aur intezar karlu”. The clock kept on ticking with minutes turning to 1 hour and then two and it (my wall clock) continued bawling at me the entire time. Walking sluggishly, I peeped into my kitchen to examine about all the ifs, buts and thens and what I felt right after was my heart throbbing, legs shaking, hands trembling and myself feeling sheepish from head to toe at the sight of the kitchen sink overloaded with dirty utensils because “bartan dhona” is the last task I would like to perform before dying but however, I do it when needed.

Again comforting myself with the words “thori dair aur wait kar k dekh leti hu”, I munched on a granola bar because it didn’t require another plate off shelf and falsely because “ek plate bachane se bohot farq par jaega jese”..

The clock struck 12:00 pm!

With an utter disbelief and hasty glance of these digits at my mobile screen (because I found the wall clock to be staring and laughing at me with a big wide mouth) , I stood up assuring myself its time now and advanced towards the kitchen reluctantly touching the first dirty dish and scrubbing it with a faint hope still somewhere inside me saying “Shayad aa jae”.

The time as it stops for no one kept on passing and all dishes were finally done washing. With shabby hands and a sigh from somewhere deep down in my heart, the kitchen slabs and stove was then cleaned, the floor mopped and dishes arranged on shelves. Leaving the kitchen I finally whispered to myself “And Alas! She didn’t come today”. Only if she could have informed earlier and I had been mentally prepared for this kind of unexpected start to my day.

Relishing the lavishness according to one’s affordable limits, having a domestic helper for your home now has become a necessity rather than a luxury as it was once assumed. And even now, many Pakistanis living abroad long for this because of expensive manual labor outside Pakistan. Memories of the distributed house chores between me, my mother and sisters are still fresh in my mind from our time back in Muscat bacause hiring a maid was expensive and minorly because my father is of the thinking “Larkiyo ko sab kaam aney chaiye ta k waqt parne pe koi mushkil na ho”. Which I after having a son believe equally important for boys too and already talked about that in my blogpost ‘breaking the stereotype’. Kher, coming towards the context, we had days and timings fixed with alotted duties to the three of us and me sometimes enjoying the perks of being the eldest would bribe my sisters to do my part.

Being married in Pakistan, we already had a domestic help and my family shifting back to Pakistan afterwards, the first thing my mother did was hiring a maid she most longed for living abroad. And now on my daily calls to Ammi when I don’t get to visit her the first question we mutually ask is “Aaj Shahida ai thi?”, “Han ai thi tumhari taraf Tahira ai?” As if maid na hui koi ghar ka fard hogai jiski kheriat maloom karna is so mandatory!

This surely indicates our maids being an integral part of our households with a prominent importance to be asked for and being worried about if they don’t show up.

However they are also humans and no robots. They may need a day or two off for any xyz reason which can be overlooked on humanitarian grounds. 🙂

Had a day without your maid?

I will be glad knowing your experiences with the house chores.

Breaking the stereotype

We desi people living in the 21st century when get to know about someone expecting a child, the first thing we observe as our duty is to pass our greetings by saying:

Ye beta beti kuch ni hota, aaj kal dono barabar hain. Bus aulad naik aur sehatmand ho.

This particular thought of ours is absolutely positive and the need of this hour except for some typical aunties of the uninviting mindset beta burhapey ka sahara“, “beta baap ka baazuand some vain stuff like that. Speaking of myself, we are 3 sisters only but lets leave its pros and cons for some other time.

Anyways, soon after the baby is born, this notion diminishes somewhere when we start associating the term “boyish” with babyboys and “girlishwith babygirls. May it be about colors, toys, activities and xyz other things except clothes. There is no rule of thumb like this but just in our minds as I too am very much peculiar about the color blue for my son. But I guess it is absolutely okay for him to wear some unisex shades of pinks as well. So, I hope my point now justifies.

Now, let me share a small incident about gender inequality with you all that forced me to highlight this topic.

My son being a youtube geek, apart from watching the famous Baby shark doo doo doo”, loves to watch cute baby videos of them playing, singing or engaging in other activities. One day I peeped into what he was watching because there’s something known as parental control.

What caught my attention was a little girl cutting some sort of detachable wooden veges and Arsal was so keenly watching her do that. The sound those veges made being slaughtered (as forcefully she was cutting them) was so real that I couldn’t help myself thinking about the mechanism they followed.

The other day while window shopping in Miniso (luckyone mall), I saw a box of those same cute little veges. With my mind already made up for buying it if not for Arsal then for myself because dil tou bacha hai jeee, I still found the courtesy in asking him if he wants it.

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With just a brief “yes” he excitedly grabbed it from the shelf and ran off to show it to his baba. We bought it and got home. When I told a few people about these interesting little pieces, I got to hear things like,

Isse boys thori khelte hain

And

Ye tou girls ki cheezain hain

These were said by the same people who brag about their open mindedness by saying the very same thing “ye beta beti kuch ni hota……”. If such was the case, there wouldn’t have been a single male chef in the entire world or a ladies tailor who is a male either.

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Instead of nourishing such thoughts, please stand against them. Encourage your sons if they show interest in various kitchen tasks because the word “kitchen” is linked to the female gender since forever which is absolutely mistaken. And secondly because there is no harm in learning a bit more than just chae banana and anda ubaalna.

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After all, a good son today will be a better husband tomorrow. And I will be more than happy and proud to embrace this reality because it is a mother who shapes good husbands for future.

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Pride in one’s mother tongue

Today, when I see my kid burbling some of the famous urdu poems like “Aalu Miyan” and “Hathi mera sathi”, I have a feeling of pride and joy because having studied outside Pakistan myself and specially going to a pre-school where the only medium of study was English and no other language not even Arabic, I was unaware of such cute poems that bring you real close to your mother tongue.

Back in those days there was no vast reach of internet either. So, when we used to travel to Pakistan for vacations and I used to see my cousins singing these poems, it looked so awkward to me and I used to think “poems in urdu for real??”

But now when I see my kid humming these famous poems among many others, I do feel proud because I didn’t get to learn these in the first place. And the first time he came to me and said “Mamma, Aalu miyan”, I literally opened youtube and learnt it myself so that Arsal may realize it’s fun to learn things in Urdu as well and that his mamma knows them too.

There is absolutely no shame if a Pakistani child is grasping Urdu a little ahead of English because at the end of the day, Twinkle twinkle little star, Johny Johny and Baa baa black sheep tou har bachey ko he ajati hai! These 3 poems are like the first day lessons when he/she is born!!

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P.s Not the first Jummah in school but Arsal’s first Jummah wearing Kurta Shalwar to school Mashallah. ❤

Introduction

Hey there everyone, welcome to my blog.

My name is Syeda Taskeen Fatima. I am a post teenage adult who moved from Middle East to Karachi after marriage and is still in the exploring phase.

Soon after stepping into motherhood, I have been taking note of tiny little things that have a greater impact on your life in a positive way and thus, decided to start a blog where I shall be sharing my views, opinions and experiences about many big and small matters that are a part of a daughter, sister, wife and a mother’s life.

Hoping this new venture of mine will benefit many of you. And yeahhh, I won’t mind suggestions and feedback. Feel free to leave comments under the comment section.

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Hope you guys have a good time reading through.

Follow me on instagram at http://instagram.com/taskeen.stf