I was fond of men and would love being around men then woman. This was due to the love I had received from both my Daji and my maternal grandfather. I was always surrounded by men as I had a single aunt who was married and just uncles with no other siblings yet. We once were visited by my Mashar Daji my maternal grandfather. He had an old white car in times when the villagers could only afford horse carts. He was also the village chairman and would also lead the meeting held for solving the village issues. We had a complicated family history as my maternal grandfather was also the brother of my fraternal grandmother. As the pakhtoons would prefers marrying their close relative then bringing an outsider’s daughter into their homes.
One day I insisted to accompany my Mashar Daji to their village as I was excited for the ride in his car. He was more than happy to take me along. We travelled three hours to reach their village with him telling me the stories of courage along the whole three hours ride. He would have a basket full of nuts lying on his side table with every possible dry nuts found in the country. My favourite were the green raisins. I was happy until I had all the treats lying in front of me but as soon as the green raisins were finished I started crying nonstop. Mashar Daji did all he could but it was all in vein. Finally he called one of his drivers to take me back home. It was 2am when we reached home in this dark night with no lights on just the headlights of Mashar Daji old car. We knocked the huge steel door with all this force but it was only after 15 whole minutes that Liaquat finally heard it and we were let in. It was since that day that I realized I was not as strong as I thought I was.
My great grandfather was the founder of the village I was born in, with lands allotted at our name and wholly respected for the status that we hold in the village. My great grandfather had 3 sons of whom my grandfather was the middle son. He was treated the same way a middle child is expected to be treated and so were us by my cousins from the eldest son. Although the villagers gave us much admiration but they were unaware of the indifference that we were entitled with by the rest of our family. We all lived close in the same village with my cousins. No one other than relatives was given a pass to the village due to the women’s parda in the pakhtoon society. They could only live in the village once they brought a piece of land that was sold to them by my great grandfather consent. We had servants working for the family but that too were passed on from generations, now treated no less than family.
The story starts in a confusing situation. The hospital room filled with a sense of abrupt happiness, something unexpected had happened. A boy was born when the doctors had anticipated it to be a girl. That’s me Haroon; my birth was a surprise as had been my whole life afterwards. In a pakhtoon society that had always favoured boys over girls expecting them to be a support for their parents.I was given a free will; everything that I demanded was presented to me in seconds. I had always been my grandparents’ favourite child, loved for two main reasons. An eldest grandchild in a family of all grownups and the second reason being a boy in a male dominated society.
Abbai, my grandmother, would dress me in colourful frocks because of her love for me.I was rather a beautiful child with greenish brown eyes and flawless light skin. No one could guess that I was a boy from my appearance and my dressing. Abbai and Daji, my grandfather, brought me up. They would bathe me, dress me, feed me and even play with me. I was a toy for them, a child born to a house of grownup after 15 years. I was born the first grandchild to a family of 2 uncles and an aunt. My uncles would take me with them wherever they went and would treat me like a friend rather than a son. I was the most blessed child to be born with love and care surrounding me.
Being a boy is not an easy job in a society expecting you to be the saviour. This story will lead you through all the difficulties faced by a boy in a conservative Pakistani Pakhtoon society. We have to kill all our desires to fulfill what is expected of us. Sometimes in the process, we even loose our identities. It’s the final stage of life when you’re awarded the title of the best son or the best husband.