Shazia Mirza: Diary of a disappointing daughter

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.