Apr 10, 2009 - women    45 Comments

Where is the man of the house?


I happen to spend the better part of last week in a hospital. No, I am still alive with all body parts intact but abba (my father) was not doing too well and had to stay in the hospital under the vigilant eyes of the doctors and the nursing staff.

Apart from keeping an eye on my dad and his blood pressure and blood sugar levels, the staff at the hospital showed keen interest in everything I did. For instance, every single nurse on the floor wanted to know what I do and why I do it, why I keep working on my laptop and constantly order people through my cell phone (most of the calls were to the maid at home, I don’t have a lot of people working under me and as a rule, I don’t order people around), whether I am married and why am I not married, if I had any other siblings who can take care of my dad and why in the God’s name I am doing all the running around, why cant men in my family take over and let me be the little woman I should have been in the first place. I was quite surprised by this reaction.

Quite obviously, the man of the house was ill and could not have done all the running around. Secondly, I seriously did not expect it from a bunch of professional women. They all do their jobs diligently and earn their living with extremely difficult and hard work yet they have this idea that a woman is not suppose to be making difficult decisions and should not be running around. What kind of indoctrination these girls must have had that years of schooling (I would rather not use the word education), exposure and financial independence did not do much to bring about a change in the way a woman’s role is perceived?


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  • welcome back good to see ya denounce the bearded ones in your first post lol

  • its the attitude, not the logic that needs an overhaul. You can have a PhD and still feel the need to have your kids respect elders, disregarding the achievements as opposed to age. Similarly having a “man of the house” is more a bringing up thing rather than a schooling thing. A generation will have to be wiped out for logic to shine through. Either that or a sensible leader! But I think the former is more practical 🙂

  • I hope your father is back home now & feeling as young and healthy as ever!

  • May Allah grant speedy recovery to your father,ameen.

  • Hi, welcome to 2009! I come from a family of WOMEN and yeah it is tough to explain why the MAN of the house is comparitively invisible. Sigh!

  • I hope your father is well now…and i pray to God to keep ur family healthy and happy….just surprised with the reaction of people in the hospital…may be because they dont see this much and they are not used to it watching a woman taking all the care and decisions….I think you are very brave…and your family must be very proud of u.

  • Went through the exact same thing when my father was hospitalized last year. Twas one very long month of restraining myself from slapping someone silly when they said ‘aap ka koi bhai nahi hai’. Grrr.

    Hope your dad’s doing better.

  • Thanks a lot people.

    Abba is doing much better, he has had a minor stroke which affected his speech and right leg but thankfully it is not as devastating as it could have been.

  • Hey, I hope your Abba gets better real soon!
    It takes a couple of generations for those ideas to be wiped out! Like here, in my grandma’s generation it was unheard of for a girl to work or take care of bigger things and now, it is unheard of for a girl not to!

  • pray that dad gets back to pink health soon



  • Hope he’s better soon. Ayurvedic massage can work wonders – acupressure too.

  • I wish your father a great and speedy recovery. Strokes no matter how minor are scary things. My husband is one of the lucky ones having almost no damages, but it was still a long time of worry during his recovery.

  • Prayers 4 ur dad…

    well saw a similar situation when my grandma(nani) was hospitalized 4her cancer treatment…The hospital staff was very much interested in knowing abt my uncles whereabouts although they all knew that my mom’s a doctor.;-@

  • Good to see your dad’s doing better. here’s to hoping for his speedy recovery, InshaAllah.

    I ran into a similar situation some time ago and the doctors asked me the very same thing… but I have a feeling they were concerned about my safety as a lone female (the rest of the ‘relatives’ staying with other patients were ‘men’) and not criticizing.

    I get a feeling that those people were asking you about why a man couldn’t do the errands etc because they were in awe! Somehow, in your conversation, I do not see an element of disapproval (or maybe that’s the way you wrote it?)

  • my prayers with ur dad, Tazeen…u r way too strong lady…all the best for the facebook voice against Mullahs
    God bless

  • Hope your dad gets better soon.

    I too am surprised by the reaction of the hospital staff. Wow…

  • Best wishes for your father’s health.

    Most of the women i get into contact in practical life do fall into this category, and it baffles and frustrates me too. How can a woman be so comfortable accepting her own dependence on the males? And if i do point out the injustices being done to them by the society, they just wave it off by saying “That’s just how life is for us” with no thought about any protest or about attempting to bring a change.

  • My dear Man of the House.. u give me hope. Honestly, I am scared as hell when i read about the growing power of the seemingly orthodox Islam in Pakistan.. they come first to cover you and then to strangle you.. am so glad that people are fighting against it.. well, at least you are..

    We face the same trouble here too.. i went on a village trip for 2 days and found women covering their faces in the summer heat.. and i went WTHF!!

  • I hope your father is better now.

    And we face this here also!
    There are some jobs which women just aren’t supposed to be able to manage! I don’t think these people even stop to think, they just ask out of conditioning. making the right noises, asking the right questions ….
    I wonder if they really gave it a thought they would still mean what they say.

  • Hope and pray that your father is doing well now. What happened to him? Did he read one of your rants or what?

  • Adnan,

    You comment was in extremely BAD taste, I just hope I never run into you and I wish that you NEVER visit my blog again.

  • Tazeen,
    I am glad your father is doing well and bravo for being so strong and by his side.

    You have to understand where Pakistani culture comes from and its going to take a little more than a decade for women to come out and realize that there are other options too and they too can be independent and responsible as well. I do however think that women are equally responsible for letting that mentality stay. Women in Pakistan are probably now more educated and more indpendent than they ever were but yet some due to probably the fear or laziness do not take charge or when they really do, I guess men are too old by that time.

    I usually tell my wife to say “Ahh.. what do you mean?” to such non sense questoins, Their embarassement lies somewhere in their own questions. Sometimes refusal to acknowledge something so outdated may make someone think again.

    Anyway, you are the man of the house, even if temporarily.

    bravo girl..!

  • Hope your father gets well soon.

    No, schooling, social status or professional achievements still don’t change anything much for a lot of women. They just seem to add on to their responsibilities without adding any real value to them as individuals.

  • Bonjour Tazeen,

    Best wishes to you and to your fathers and all the others. I just hope you get at home at least the peace of mind you deserve to carry on with all this.

    Asthe saying goes “don’t let the bastards grind you down”.


  • i m always agitated when the man of the house goes down with an illness.. i almost kill myself than look at the sight!
    sometimes it is such a misery to hear about other people’s dadz… i just hope ur dad comes out of it all hail and hearty!
    i m just not too much a fan of me doing stuff when my dad is around…
    i will look up to him always!

  • I hope that ur dad is well now…

  • Hope your Dad is better.

  • Dera Tazeen,
    I am a regular reader here and I love the way you write.
    My comment is a little different from what the others said. You mentioned about your father’s blood sugar level and high blood pressure. If your father uses any of the artificial sweeteners please tell him to stop their use. I have done lots of research on this topic and these sweeteners either contain chemicals like Aspartame and Sucralose which kills nerve cells and are cancerous in nature respectively, leading to various other diseases.
    Ask him to switch to Stevia. It is a natural sweetener which is extracted from stevia plant leaves. The good news is that this natural sweetener has recently been launched in Pakistan by the name of Stivya.
    Please let me know if you need any more data/information regarding the harmful effects of the artificial sweeteners. I have been researching this area for almost a year now.

  • Tazeen, hardships comes in everybody’s life so I wish that you donot loose hope and gather yourself and I hope and Pray to God Almighty that your Dad might get better by now Inshallah.

    To say About the attitude of the hospital staff, one can only say that it was immature and beyond their imagination and thinking level that what women is capable of. Well I am not one of them and I hope you got me.

  • I hope he gets well soon.

  • I hope your dad gets better soon.

    The attitude about women, it is so ingrained, it is in the very air people breathe. I have heard similar views from highly placed women my age- women who are doctors, lawyers, corporate honchos. It is some strange fantasy that people carry with them about what life is “ideally” like. And yet those systems give rise to independent thinkers like you or me- that is what now surprises me. How is it that we do not think that way?

  • I hope your father’s doing better! Don’t let ignorant minds bog you down at a time when your father needs you. The oppression of the female of the species is as old as the species iteslf, or so I am given to believe whenever i hear of women against women crimes/comments!
    Best wishes and a speedy recovery to your father.

  • Hope your father’s well. best

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  • Hope your dad is doing better! I guess, the mindset will change with a lot more women like you.

  • you’re really a reluctant mind Tazeen. sigh

  • Hey Tazeen,

    I know you went through a harrowing time and to top it all the bother about people fussing about you. I have a slightly different opinion here. Maybe, these nurses were just concerned for your health that you have to do everything alone. I don’t see any harm in eliciting support from friends or relatives – male or female in times of need. I don’t think it reflects in any way that you are not capable of doing things yourself but just that wouldn’t it be good to have someone to share your burden.

    In India too, people have the tendency to offer unsolicited advice and show concern openly. It can be bugging especially when one is stressed. I’d rather that you take it as warmth and genuine concern.

    Changing mindsets always is a long-term phenomenon. The more women come to the mainstream, the easier it becomes for people to accept. It will happen, albeit at its own pace.

    Hope your father is doing well.

  • yep lotsa people have lotsa antique notions ! take it wid salt, girl!

    Hope ur dad has a speedy recovery.


  • Joined the facebook group. Hope your father feels better soon, inshallah, Tazeen!

  • Hey, just saw this. Didn’t know 🙁 Hope your dad is feeling better now and hope you’re doing okay too.

  • Its considered a man’s job to be roaming the streets and so if a woman does it then the automatic assumption is “there must be no son’s” followed by pity and sympathy of the type you give when your dog/cat dies.

    And just because the women were nurses it doesn’t mean they’re brain functions on the liberal spectrum,

  • how is ur dad now? well im glad u did what u had to do..don’t take this man/woman stuff to heart

    ur story reminds me of a visit to the clinic where i had to get an ultrasound done for some abdominal related problems.

    I hated the fact they kept asking me if i was a Mrs. or a Miss. How come they don’t ask that when you’re getting a bandage or a plaster cast done? why is it that ppl HAVE to know if you’re married or unmaried when it comes to an ultrasound? Do nurses and assistants in clinics still feel that ultrasounds are only done to check for pregnancies?

    It is such a joke

  • Hi. I really hope your dad is doing well. Please keep us posted on your blog about his health.

    I do have a comment about this statement you made in this post. It seems to me that these female nurses have encountered girls a lot more dependent and subservient than you. I think you misunderstood their inquisitive questions.

    Their comments should be taken, not just with a grain of salt, but in a strange way, as a complement of sorts. They are hard working, educated, girls, earning their keep….aiming to become someone like you.

  • Wish your father a speedy recovery.

  • I hope your father will be ALright now 🙂 . Prayers for him

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