I am Ahsan, an employee of a private firm and father to 3 pretty daughters. Their chirrup and innocuous pranks make my days on earth a constant joy. Most of the days, I return home only to hold court, entertain their petty problems and resolve them. They gather around me like song birds, each willing to fill me in on the day’s events, first.

In a society where pitying parents, for having a daughter is normal, I am raising 3. When my first daughter was born, relatives patted my back with a melancholic expression and told me to be patient. So naturally you can imagine the kind of sympathy I got on my third daughter’s birth. I always enjoy their stupid looks and fallacious ideas.

Yesterday, while “holding court”, I asked my eldest,

“What would you wish for, if a Genie could grant one wish of yours?”

“I would ask him to take me on a world tour!” She replied excitedly. I felt glad I hadn’t told her that by Genie, I meant myself. My salary certainly didn’t allow such expenses.

My second daughter piped in,

“I would ask him for all the books in the world and a library of my own.”

A library. I made a quick mental note that I’ll build them a shelf in a corner of their room. Surely that would count as one. Both my daughters were bright students and a library would help them more.

My youngest daughter didn’t look as eager to answer my question. She was deep into her thoughts. I nudged her and asked her what she would ask for. She hesitated, then brought her lips close to my ear and whispered, “I’ll ask him to make me a boy!”

“But why sweetheart?”

“So that daadi would love me and stop telling me that I am a burden. What is a burden daddy?”

Surely not my own mother! I did not have the strength to answer my baby’s question.


©2012. Habiba Danyal.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Word count:329

Linking up with Trifecta: Week Thirty-Six.

This week’s prompt is:

NORMAL (noun)

1: a : a normal line

    b : the portion of a normal line to a plane curve between the curve and the x- axis

2: one that is normal

3: a form or state regarded as the norm : standard


43 thoughts on “Burden.

  1. Beautifully written, though i really don’t get the fixation that some parents/families have with boys, we are a constant disappointment, well most of us are and our sisters really are the ones who actually do their utmost to please our parents.
    anyway, enjoyed the post. keep writing 🙂

  2. Awwww….this is so sad and melancholic…i know how some families consider girls as a burden. Alhamdullilah, we come from loving families that treat us as equal to boys. I think we are blessed and have a lot to be thankful for.

  3. Wonderful as usual habiba. Thanks God its only the dadi, atleast dad shields his daughter. This attitude is all because of our cultural boundries and distance from islam.
    In this era it doesnt matter whether its a boy or girl. I think girls are more loyal to their parents.
    As the famous saying ‘daughter is a daughter all her life but a son is son until he gets a wife’

  4. Brilliant piece… No one can express serious matters in such a lucid style within such stringent word limits 🙂

  5. I love your story. It is beautifully written. What a great father he is and what a terrible burden he and his daughter have for living in such circumstance.

  6. I absolutely love the different voice you bring to Trifecta, and I just wanted to let you know that we’re grateful you decided to add it in to the mix. I love your describing the girls as songbirds. I can absolutely see them chirping around the father the second he walks through the door. Great job with the prompt.

  7. Its such shame that even in the world of today we live in a society which view daughters as a burden and condemn them at every point of life. I seriously pity such people who have such limited and low mind set.

  8. It reminds me of the hadith that Holy Prophet (PBUH) said when a boy is born, then he brings one Noor (light) and when a girl is born, then she brings two Noors. We even fail to understand what our religion says.

  9. brilliantly put but u could’ve been a bit more ruthless with this topic.
    I hate this prejudice in our society. hate the people who keep such an opinion and pity their pathetic state of mind.

    1. True. I could have. But it was a little difficult playing it in the word limit i.e.333.The story then seems like an emotional outburst. But yes, your suggestion is valued.

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