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After several repetitive and monotonous episodes, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay (HKKST) finally reached a fabulous climax in episode 18 where the real tale behind Mashal’s suicide and a lot more unfolded. This was by far one of the strongest episodes of HKKST in which all the actors, particularly Usman Mukhar, Mahira Khan, Kubra Khan and Kaif Ghazani impressed us in every frame.

Though we are still confused about different cups and sessions of chai — Mehreen was making tea for Mashal and then later, we saw Mashal instructing Shabbo to add powdered sleeping pills in Mehreen’s tea — it is now clear that Mashal clearly tried to kill Mehreen twice but unfortunately, in a twist of fate, she drank from the wrong cup. So, she didn’t commit suicide.

Read: Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay: The dragging storyline becomes fodder for memes & jokes

The crime for which Aswad was punishing Mehreen for the last 10 episodes never happened in the first place. In the previous episode we saw Mehreen sign the official maafi nama (apology letter) and consequently have a nervous breakdown where her own train of thought, in the form of Mashal’s illusion, urges her to commit suicide. Fortunately, she came to her own rescue as her subconscious shook her to her late father’s hallucination. This fateful outcome of Aswad’s constant torture led to the most enlightening chapter of this drama, where a toxic man realized that he is committing the same offensive act for which he had been torturing his wife.


Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay


The conversation between the psychiatrist (played by Nadia Hussain) and Aswad showed a case of domestic abuse through an abuser’s perspective; in that context one saw it as weak. The writer/director also missed out on a crucial scene of Mehreen’s chat with the psychiatrist that would have cemented her mental trauma. But despite its shortcomings, the episode made an attempt to break the mold in which domestic abuse is largely portrayed on TV and accepted by society, with images of bruised and battered women cowering from a threatening male figure.

The psychiatrist said that a healthy person can become unstable mentally and psychologically due to the misbehavior of a spouse, which isn’t limited to “gaali” and “hath uthana”. She also pointed out that Aswad is not ‘as helpless and pitiful’ as he behaves because he is an “educated adult” who could have gotten married to anyone if he wished to, rather than being forced into a relationship and then blame others for his actions. This is a clear indication of his flawed and entitled behavior, which has nothing to do with either of the women.


Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay


Aswad is shown to be a toxic man who in the beginning didn’t accept that he was interested in Mashal, never took a stand when he wanted to marry Mashal, put all the blame on his mother after Mashal’s death (though she was a party to the forced marriage), didn’t let Mehreen marry another guy because he believed she is guilty and didn’t deserve a chance at happiness, wounded her emotionally by constant rejections, disapprovals and accusations, and eventually forced her to apologize verbally as well as officially for a crime she never committed. And all along, he had never, for a second, trusted her word.

Earlier, we saw glimpses of his recurring guilt as well; he slapped himself or worried when Mehreen was searching for her inhaler. But he already checked almost all the boxes of toxic masculinity in the last 10 episodes. So, he is aware of his actions but he is too adamant to admit that he is also partly responsible for the sad turn of events. He admitted that his behavior with Mehreen is “bad” when questioned, but wasn’t the realization too late?

It is yet to be seen if Mehreen will forgive him or he will be able to forgive himself, but there are chances that he will become her savior in the end. Nonetheless, will he be forgiven by the audience is the bigger question? Holistically, the drama has shown that domestic abuse encompasses far more than the physical abuse. Emotional abuse, isolation, denial, intimidation, humiliation, manipulation and excessive monitoring are just some of the several ways that can be used to torture. And irrespective of any baggage, guilt or circumstances, all forms of abuse should be recognized and condemned.


Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay


The actions which are often neglected and lauded in the disguise of ‘mardana wajahat’ [male gallantry] are questioned here and it is time that we push the narrative forward by not glossing over it. This kind of psychological abuse may not leave a physical scar but it will take ages to heal up the emotional scars. Aswad has even shattered Mehreen’s defense mechanism — to not submit and be stubborn — that she had built over the years. The only hope for Aswad’s redemption is that he shows remorse, recognize his toxic streak, apologizes and spends the rest of his life helping Mehreen recuperate from the trauma.

Will it be enough to be forgiven? Not really. Do we want to see a happily ever after in this case? Not really! But Mehreen’s happiness should be central theme to mend their dysfunctional relationship rather than Aswad’s savior complex. And that is the only hope if we want the cycle of abuse to end.

Watch the recent episode of Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay here:



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