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April 16, 2017


Dear Phuppo,

I sometimes wonder why is it so hard to understand your own family. They get very confusing at times which leads to misunderstandings, complications and this strange feeling of being left out creeps into our lives. I sometimes feel sick and tired with life and want to give up. I am physically and emotionally not in the right state of mind. Sometimes my parents don’t understand me and sometimes I don’t understand them. My parents keep pressuring me to be someone that I am not, trying to push me to do something that I don’t want to. Why do all parents want their children to be doctors and engineers? Or dentists and officers?

And they lecture you and say, “Do whatever you like my son,” and after a while they’re like, ‘Why don’t you be a doctor or better still be an engineer, you see they earn a lot?’ And if you say no, you watch your dreams shatter by their rejecting them and then you just seem to get into a whole family fiasco. I am miserable. How to convince my parents to let me do what I want?


“Why do all parents want their children to be doctors and engineers?”

Dear Son,

Your parents want the best for you. They want you to be well settled and not have to struggle professionally or financially. Auntie finds that is the reason most Pakistani parents want their children to take on a professional career. They have seen more of life, have seen how people sometimes do a degree that has no practical value, struggle to make a living and so they do have a point.

However, the other side of the picture is not fun. If you don’t enjoy your profession and it feels like an ordeal getting up and going to work every day, how much fun will that be? If you don’t wake up every day wanting to put in long, hard hours into your profession, you are likely to burnout. If you are disinterested in the work anyway, you are likely to burnout even faster. Since you mentioned medicine, I hope your parents realise that a medical degree takes time to complete. If you are putting in all those years, you had better be convinced about what you are doing.

Also if you don’t love what you do, you are not likely to make it big anyway. Would you want to consult a doctor who does not like what he does? Auntie wouldn’t either.

The world does not need another disinterested engineer or doctor. If the only reason your parents want you to go into these professions is for the money and supposed stability, there are other career options that make more sense.

You have not said anything about what you want to do. Have you thought about what you want to do? What will you do with the degree you want to pursue? Do you have a plan about what you want to do in the future? Have an alternative career that interests you in your mind, have a realistic plan in place and go talk to your parents about what you want to do with your life.

Dear Auntie,

I am a 38-year old man. I got married when I was 21 to my cousin. We have two daughters whom I love. But I don’t get along with my wife. She was always very conservative and still is and I never was, although I have tried to change for her. I married her very young and now I realise I did it because I felt sorry for her. Her father (my uncle) had passed away when she was very young and her mother had struggled a lot during those years. I have tried to follow my wife’s conservative lifestyle, but it does not come naturally to me. I am educated and have a good job, so I meet a lot of people every day. I am well exposed to the world. Recently I met a woman who I really like. She is a very calm person. She does not get worked up about silly things like my wife and is more of the kind of person I would like to be with. She has given me an indication that she is interested in me which has given me the courage to go further with this. What do I do about my wife whom I have no connection with?


Dear Reconsider,

There are a few paths in front of you and all of them have their pros and cons. You leave your wife and you could end up losing your family. Your daughters will likely blame you for the break-up and may not grow up loving you like they do now. You stay in this marriage and you will never be able to explore the connection with this other woman — which by the way could also pan out very differently from the relationship of your dreams that you have created in your head. You could, if all parties agree, go for two wives which in a lot of cases can lead to a constant tug-of-war with you in the middle. Do you really want to live like that?

Auntie would suggest that you think about your children and learn to appreciate your family. It really is the option that involves the least amount of drama. Trust me when I say you don’t want to be stuck in the drama that can be created between two women vying for the same man. However, only you know how bad your situation is. Just remember, a lot of times people take a huge jump out of the frying pan thinking they have escaped a bad situation for good, only to land into the fire. Do you really think your problems will be solved once you leave your current marriage?

Auntie will not reply privately to any query. Please send concise queries to:

Published in Dawn, EOS, April 16th, 2017