Shazia Mirza’s Weekend Column

My parents know about the lives their children lead, but don’t really understand what this entails. My dad rang the other day. He said, “I just watched a documentary on festivals – it’s full of rocks stars and Gypsies. You’re not going to one, are you?”

“Yes, I am,” I replied.

“Where are you staying?”

“In a tent.”

“Well, you’ll have to see the doctor when you get back – you can pick up all kinds of diseases living like that.”

I said, “It’s not Islamabad 1942.”

“It sounds worse,” he shouted. “Why do you have to live in a tent? Don’t they have hotels in that area?”

I tried to explain that everyone stays in a tent and it’s part of the fun.

“Everyone? I bet those rock stars don’t stay in tents.”

Mum shouts in the background: “You’ll never find a decent husband if you live in a tent.”

“It’s not a permanent arrangement,” I said, “just for three nights.”

“OK, but don’t tell people: we don’t want to lower your chances more.”

It’s 3pm and I’m having breakfast when Dad calls: “I expect you’re having lunch, but can you call back with your photographer friend’s number? We need her for your brother’s wedding.”

I call back at 9pm. Dad answers, “Everyone’s asleep. Can you call back during normal hours, when there’s no loud music in the background – 9am would be good? If you can’t do that, it’s time you moved back home.”

I had to set my alarm.