'Conversations with Kanwal' highlights Pakistan's 'Chai Trolley Culture'

Published: April 22, 2019


Last week, we saw various industry insiders speak up on topics surrounding marriage. From actor Mehwish Hayat saying she is married to her work to model Zara Peerzada calling out the desi rishta process, local stars seem to have have taken it upon themselves to rectify the notion that women are unhappy if not wed and that it is okay to parade them before strangers in the hopes for marriage.

Likewise, Kanwal Ahmed of Soul Sisters Pakistan has also tried to create awareness about this issue through the latest episode of Conversations with Kanwal, titled Chai Trolley Culture.


This week’s guest Rahat begins by sharing how she was a very happy, “gal gappoo” (fat) kid. However, soon enough, she started noticing that she is treated differently. For example, she wasn’t chosen to play the lead role in a Cinderalla play at school, regardless of her apt dialogue delivery, because one of the teacher’s believed “itni moti Cinderalla nahi le sakte (we can’t have such a fat Cinderalla).”

Rahat then went on to share her experiences of arranged marriage. “They are not proposals; they are just coming to see you. Like when we go to the Sunday market, we look at the stuff and then decide whether or not we would like to buy it. About 40 families came to ‘see’ me! Imagine. Those were the people that killed me,” she said.


However, Rahat still managed to find some humour in this. She narrated an incident where she was once asked to lose some weight but she replied saying the guy lose some height because if women are expected to be tailor made, men should be too.

When asked how much these things hurt her, Rahat said she felt the worst for her parents. Then came a time when she asked her father to stop ‘showcasing’ her. “Are you out of your mind?” he had asked. To which she responded, “Think about it. I am expected to display myself in front of numerous families day in day out.”


Eventually, after getting sick and tired of this ‘system,’ she went about her life and focused on her work. During this time, she met her husband-to-be: Her van driver. Rahat explained that although she was taken aback by his marriage proposal, his ‘illiterate’ family was much more respectful than those women who were educated.

Soon enough, they got married. Rahat concluded by that, “Life goes on without a degree, you can survive wearing one set of clothes for a 100 days and having one meal a day, instead of two. But life cannot go on without respect.”

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Reader Comments (1)

  • Ahmed Ali
    Apr 22, 2019 - 8:10PM

    She is a brave lady – one of the few persons I have met who did not exhibit any inferiority complex and who are at peace with what they are ! I wish we had more honest and wise people like this lady. Respect !Recommend

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