Women Are Mitochondria – Because Of Them Survival Is Possible – And a Mother? Well … you can just imagine the power of a woman when she becomes a mother!
“She made broken look beautiful
and strong look invincible.
She walked with the Universe
on her shoulders and made it
look like a pair of wings.”
― Ariana Dancu
When we sat down with Naheed, we could not ignore her courteous smile.
She talks about her struggles that started from her childhood in a soothing voice. We could not figure out what made her think she could raise a big family at the age of 11 years. It probably took all her strength to raise a family of seven siblings, a mother and an ailing father in a turbulent time, but we couldn’t feel it in the calmness of her demeanour.
Her early childhood was spent in utter luxury, walking upon banknotes and playing with them. She would make a pile of money and watch it crumble before her, but at 10, she saw the money crumble for real. Her grandfather was a grand minister and her father was known as Abdul Wahid Seth throughout his life. She was 11 when her father was placed in a rehabilitation centre. The last textile mill they were left with was under court scrutiny and eventually, they lost that too. From a picturesque penthouse at a contemporary area in Karachi, they had to survive in a slum area. It all began there, her fight to survive and do things an 11 years old girl should never be doing.
Naheed is now 65 years old and has three daughters – all happily married and settled. She never thought she would have kids, maybe because she was too busy raising her sisters and an only brother. Naheed now lives in Karachi with her husband and three daughters. We got to the meet this resilient woman today.
I met my husband in Abu Dhabi, UAE where I worked in a house as a nanny to support my family back in Pakistan.
I was 27, he liked me and wanted to get married. I refused because my family was still dependent on me. He assured me he will support my family and only then I agreed to marry him.
I was in a flea market in Karachi where an Arab lady was buying some antiques; the shopkeeper was literally looting her. I knew a bit of English and I tried to ask the lady not to buy things from that shop as things are overly priced. She was a generous woman; she asked me if I can travel to Abu Dhabi with her as a nanny? I was looking for a better earning option; I visited her house the next morning in DHA and I said yes, because I had to take a chance.
It was in the 1970s, I was 21 years old, and it was a big deal for a girl to travel let alone getting a job in another country.
I want to change NOTHING about my childhood
I have no complaints from my parents; they were the best. They made me sadqa e jariya for them and because of that, I could up bring my children to make them saqda e jariya for me.
My father was jealous of his cousins, whom my grandmother loved dearly. He started taking refuge in alcohol. It was just a bad habit that took a toll on him and the rest of my family.Naheed
I earned Rs. 25 on my first job.
I was 11 years old, but then I realized I could earn money for my family. I got a job in Rehman Clinic – a small clinic for ladies. I used to do night shifts there while I did part-time work in the morning such as weaving women’s scarves and taking care of AIDS patients on an hourly basis.
I was 12 when I got a job in the hospital.
My mother was not well, somebody told me about this small clinic in Nazimabad, I saved money for a month and took my mother there. It was a small underdeveloped clinic, the lady doctor, Doctor Daulat was a very gentle lady. I was very young but I asked her if she needs any kind of help in the clinic as I was always looking for options to earn a little extra money; she asked me to come by the next day. I was there in the morning and started my training. I was paid Rs. 350 per month. It wasn’t enough, but it helped me make both ends meet for raising a family of 9. I never asked for a single penny from anyone and worked for 18 hours a day to provide food for my family’s plate.
Life is good.
It was all worth the struggle. My sisters and brother are happy now, married and contented. Everyone is happy, and it makes me happy. I have three daughters and I knew I have to ensure they get a good education that I could not get and afford. My oldest daughter did a Masters in IT and Islamic Studies, the middle one is a double graduate in Education and my youngest one is a Doctor of Pharmacy and is a working mother. I am so proud of each one of them, they and their kids are my most treasured possessions.
I and my husband live in this house but he has recently been diagnosed with Dementia. He is a very nice man; he helped me and stood true to his promise – I wish I could cure him, but the doctor says it can only be managed now, not cured. But I am happy with all that I have, I live in my own house peacefully Alhamdulillah so it was actually all worth it.
Any message for all the mothers on Mother’s Day?
I want to tell mothers that you are the strongest because you give birth to a human being. Women should think and decide from their brains and should never be dominated by their hearts.
I always tell my daughters to remove the word NO and IMPOSSIBLE from their lives, I did the same, and I achieved a lot I guess.Naheed
Naheed is an exemplary woman. Throughout the interview, she kept saying Alhamdulilah, to express gratitude for all life has given her. Her face glows when she smiles, she seems satisfied and contented with her life. Naheed is a true example that mothers can raise a family on their own, sometimes better than a man.