Story: I am defined by others. Why? By: Komal Ishtiaq

Artwork by Misha Farhana @nicenichecartoons 

Riding on the bike is Sarah’s constant passion. Eager to look for the opportunity all the time, when Saad her elder brother or father are not at home. She took a bike which was always standing on the porch and hardly used by anyone. Her mother got sick of Sara’s tom boy attitude. She would get scolded by her mother, father and Saad, but all in vain. Sarah took advantage when Baba and Saad went out to Lahore for two days for business purposes. She took the bike and rode on the streets for the whole evening as someone had given her a freedom back which she used to have in her childhood. 

But nowadays she only listen “itni Bari ho gae hai, lrkiyon KO ESE harkaten zaib NHI dtn”.

Phr hna kya tha “she got recognized by one of his brother’s friend and he called his brother at the very same moment of that recognition”.

“Lo g bawal ho gya” her mother’s shocking expressions!! On her son’s call. Mother named Zainab got scolded by father after every one hour by his husband “Tarbiyat Jo ese ki hai tmne”.

“You have never thought of me Sarah, everyone would blame me that I am responsible for your upbringing and nobody else. Why don’t you understand?”

Sarah’s furious and sarcastic look to her mother is enough for any statement. “I have not looted a bank or robbed someone. I do not understand why it comes to Baba and Saad Bhai’s reputation that I was riding a bike on the roads.

“Allah hi Jane knsa bawal a gya meri chori or chakari se”.

Sarah being born in an elite family does not even change the mind set up of the patriarchal society. His father was of conservative mind set up. Same goes with Saad despite taking a degree from the renowned university.

“Lo g a gya abba g ka wera UN k personal assistant k sath”. Sarah was in a chill mood but Zainab was not as she was well aware of what would be going to happen next.

Zammar Saleh and Saad had returned home. The furious looks towards Sarah put her in an awkward situation. He said nothing but the next day Farman nazil hua “Sarah, my friend and his family are coming for you for his son”.  Sarah was stunned and was unable to speak at that time “but my education, my career….” 

Baba replied “I think it is a good time for your marriage, responsibilities will make you mature. You know you are 23, no good proposals will come after you cross this limit. And, further, you would get a handsome package, lrka alaa taleem yafta hai. He has taken his degree from abroad, a well settled business. What would you need?”

Sarah was unable to say anything at that time but later told Zainab “kya zarorat thi is daqya nus insan se shadi krne ki”.

Zainab looked towards Sara “kya zaroat thi hardangliyan ur awara gardi krne ki”.

I tell you mom, “I would leave the home, if he is doing such foolish thing with me”

And where would you go “jaraim paisah afrad k hathe chr jao gi”.


A gay lrke wale.

Sarah had presented the chai wai ka saman in front of her future in laws. Future mother in law was analyzing her from top to bottom. Then, bottom to top. Then, from right to left and then, left to right.

Mrs. Lukman then says “Sarah we have two cooks and one maid, chalo ab ye btao k hmare hne wali bahu kya kya cook kr lti”.  Sarah replies, “Brain”. Mrs. Lukman got confused and Zainab intervened in order to overcome awkwardness.

Mr. Lukman and Zammar Saleh were sitting in the drawing room discussing politics and then Lukman Sahib shift to another topic “Aurten Khamosh rhen to hi achi lagtin jb Khamoshi tootti hai to pta lgta hai k kya cheez hai aurat”.

“Absolutely correct” replied Mr. Zammar.

Sarah after all this shit got extremely disappointed. In order to divert her mind she opened her laptop.

She received an email “You got selected for cycling in the Olympics. Congratulations!”  Moreover, schedule, visa, transporting details all were mentioned in the attached document.

Despite her father, disapproval and refusal. She took off her bag for a new journey after taking such a step that would make her father cut off all his relations with her. No member of the family would be allowed to be in touch with her.

Sarah put all her relations and security at stake and hold this opportunity. “jo bhi hoga dekha jai ga” .

She participated in sprint races. One by one Sarah passed all the trials and won the gold medal in Olympics. She was against the Australian opponent.

News broke in all the news channels across Pakistan. All the arrangements were made to welcome Sarah at the airport.

Zammar Sahib was still angry but “dikhawa” to protect his male ego. Whereas, phone calls come one after the other to congratulate him.

Zainab after gathering all the “himmat” in her asked Zammar Sahib “please forget everything, forgive her, she has now made us both feel proud. Let it go away”.

After showing nakhre wakhre, he accepted what Zainab said. She was welcomed with great warmth by the country, by the family. And Zammar Sahib hugged her too. 

Interview was conducted and Sarah was invited along with her father on the show to show her inspirational story. Show anchor “Mr. Fazil” asked questions from Sarah about her success journey. In response to one question Zammar Sahib replied “Women’s success lies in the hand of man. She succeeded because I want to make her succeed”.


Komal Ishtiaq
I am a student of English Literature and Linguistics in my final year, doing it from Fatima Jinnah Women University. I had written articles for Dawn, Pakistan Daily Times. I have a keen interest in writing about women issues. Yes, I am a feminist. 

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