Shazia Mirza: Diary of a disappointing daughter

I am in Cyprus, performing my new show to an audience of expats, among them a big group of divorced women on a night out. I did a lot of material about my parents’ obsession with getting all of their five children married before they die. For them, it’s a big fat box that needs to be ticked. It has become a disease. My siblings and I call it The Herpes.

The divorced women in the audience came up to me afterwards in disbelief. “Are your parents really that obsessed? That is really sad.” One woman, originally from Essex, ended her sentence with, “But I know what Asian parents are like. Are you on the run?”

I said “No” – but in a way I am.

I haven’t seen my parents for two months, and there have been very few phone calls since I’ve been on the road abroad. Then, last week, I received a text message signed “Mum”, which I know was from my dad because my mum can’t text.

It said: “A psychic from Karachi is visiting a Manchester-based TV channel. You can talk to him on air about your problems. The man is in his 30s and has a very good reputation. Let me know when you have booked, so we can watch it.”

I don’t even talk to myself about my problems; I’m not going on TV and telling the world about them. Anyway, I don’t have any problems. I’m actually very happy. But to them, that is the problem.