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What is it about women in our society that leaves them haplessly dependent on the men in their life, even if those men continuously let them down? That’s what we’re left wondering about Rafia’s relationship with her (estranged) husband, Murtaza. He abandoned her and his three daughters and remarried for a son. He has not undertaken any economic responsibilities. He has never brought his daughters love, affection or any kind of encouragement over their academic achievements. He’s neither a husband nor a father to Rafia and their daughters. And yet some unseen tie that is inexplicable to us binds Rafia to him. It disturbs her to see any of her daughters disparaging him.

The good thing is that this bond may linger on for Rafia but her daughters, especially Kashaf, has no delusions about their father.

“I curse such love if you say this man loves us,” Kashaf exclaims when her mother says that Murtaza truly loves her, his eldest daughter and first-born.

“This man is only worthy of our hatred,” agrees the younger sister, Sidra, after they are asked to vacate their home.

This final nail on the coffin of their relationship occurs when Murtaza asks them to vacate his ancestral house when Rafia rejects Sajjad’s proposal for Kashaf. It’s a stipulation laid down by his elder brother: if Kashaf disagrees to marry Sajjad then he wants to liquidate the property for his share, even if that means pushing the four women to homelessness. For a minute Kashaf does contemplate marrying him to save their home or then leaving her studies for a job that will afford them a new home but things work out to their favour. They move to a new place, breaking perhaps the last bond between them and their father.

Quite a lot happens in this, the sixth episode of Zindagi Gulzar Hai. We realize that Asmara is certainly not the ideal girl for Zaroon and yet he may succumb to pressure, as he is open to referring her as his future wife.

“I won’t marry someone who can’t stitch a button onto a shirt,” he tells his sister and Zara reminds him that Asmara doesn’t know how to hold a needle, let alone stitch a button.

We’re also taken deeper into Zaroon’s relationship with his mother, when he accuses her of never having enough time for him.

“It’s always been your career or your society, never us,” he accuses. It’s this neglect and lack of maternal affection that leaves him sub-consciously wanting a wife who is the exact opposite of his mother. We know that Zaroon will eventually find himself attracted to Kashaf but one can’t help but wonder: does Kashaf have the warmth that this poor little rich boy is looking for?

Next episode: Although I had decided to avoid all promos of upcoming episodes, I saw and couldn’t help getting excited over the next, in which Zaroon challenges himself to catch Kashaf’s eye and woo her. Episode 7 won’t be one to miss!

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