Purpose:

Having returned to Pakistan and working as a mental health professional I am appreciating some recurrent observations and some repeat presentations that raise some obvious and natural questions from an observer’s point of view. In the cross sectional interaction it is not possible to fully appreciate the life histories, to understand the past major life events or to fully understand even the person who is facing the specific situation but at the same time it is impossible to ignore or to miss the obvious questions that one is facing and others are plainly observing the same on proxy. Most of them are faced by women, I therefore am keeping discussion of these on my website under a heading of “Dilemma or Her Personal Choice” under the mother heading of Society and Culture. I aim to write about only one situation/presentation at one time.

Motivation:

My heart says that there must be some attempt to understand such practical and social situations that people (in particular women) are facing. My brain says that there is a call for some sort of analysis (even if it is not critical or judgmental) that must be responded to at human level. No generalisations or expert opinions are aimed here. The aim is to learn, not to teach.

Scenario:

She has been an ideal daughter, an ideal mother and an ideal wife. She was not very bright academically hence the father felt that it’s better that she goes for a bachelor in arts. She agreed without hesitations as good daughter don’t disagree and parents(mostly) know the best and (mostly) don’t have bad intentions. She got a marriage proposal and having partially finished her bachelor’s degree she moved to her married home. She got married to a reasonably performing professional who was a clerk in a local government’s office. The gentleman was quite polite in manners, good at heart and hardworking but was against women working out of the house. As an ideal wife she promptly agreed that her monthly wages would be enough for them and her husband’s mother and that she would be a home maker. Years passed by and the couple had four children. Nearly more than two decades later the children had been in various stages of academic development when her husband had a fall and died.

Her husband’s pension from government department is the only source of income that she is able to use in the rented house where she is trying to support four kids. She has no set of expertise and has no particular experience in a field that can attract the job market. Life is tough, demands are too high, resources are negligible.

Dilemma or Choice:

Once she had an opportunity to learn, academically flourish or strengthen her wings in any field that would had enabled her find a social role and develop some personal, professional or social identity and expertise, she was not able to avail them to save the good daughter and good wife image. Once time has passed and her father and husband have both left the world, would her current situation be considered a product of her personal choices or of the bad strokes of luck? Regardless of the personal choice or concordance with family expectations what are her options to compete with those who have spent two decades on personal and professional development.

 

The Chenab Club Library, Faisalabad

10th Dec 2018