The three familiar words that sting every right-brained Brown Kids ears and makes their parents jump for joy. If my parents could create a superhero it would definitely be the Doctor-Lawyer-Engineer hybrid multi-millionaire Pulitzer Prize-winning professional who saved children, represented them in court, and created bionic limbs for them too.

Doctor-lawyer-engineer. In the midst of vomiting their dreams out on us, we lost ourselves. I remember elaborate birthday parties, my mother would have all the kids in my family pass a microphone and say what they wanted to be when they grew up. I always wanted to say a Spice Girl, but mom always popped in right before it was my turn to whisper, “doctor” in my ear. And that’s how I was trained, so vehemently believing this lie that was shoved down my throat. “I want to be a doctor”. Yeah f*cking right. I fainted anytime I donated blood. I became a vegetarian after dissecting a frog. I couldn’t hang in no medical setting. Still, my mom managed to ignore my teacher’s applauses for my reading and writing skills and instead asked why I had mediocre science and math skills. She put me in accelerated magnet courses and so, my self-esteem dwindled. I became so mute in my desires that when she enrolled me in a “Medical Careers” oriented high school I didn’t object – what was the point? And it’s not like I was the only one. I could identify a fellow miserable Brown Kid with a set of Doctor-Lawyer-Engineer parents from a mile away.

Somehow, I lost myself. In this highly collective Afghan culture, where our parents struggles’ and tribulations automatically mean self-sacrificing our artistic dreams. I sat in AP science courses day-dreaming of revolutions I read about in my AP history courses, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell my mother that I would not be a Doctor-Lawyer-Engineer. “BUT WHAT SHOULD I TELL PEOPLE WHEN THEY ASK WHAT YOU DO? FACEBOOK POST?”

And what about the other kids, who do so well as graphic designers, or teachers, or makeup artists, or composers – what happens to all these Brown Kids? Well, if the collective Brown Parents consortium doesn’t understand or have knowledge of your sector, then your job is basically meaningless. Because how can a Brown Parent explain what #MUA success is, or try & articulate how SEO-friendly your website is bro?


I’m still far behind in my career goals, but I think they get the point now. Explaining what a “blog” is to my Brown parents is not in the picture yet, but I try every day, to make my desires known. I’m not really sure what may lie in the future for me, but I just wish they’d understand that throwing away their dreams does not mean I lack my own. I want them to know that there is something outside of Doctor-Lawyer-Engineer, (besides being an obedient house-wife) and I want my nieces and nephews to grow up in a culture where dissent and creativity, individualism and independence is celebrated, instead of glared over. So I am praying tonight, that all of our Brown parents see the results of our hard work, and get out of our ears with that medical field crap, or worrying about what “everyone else” will think.

As the saying goes, “Daaneta chup ko, Chai-eta shup ko”

“Shut ya mouf and drink ya chai”.



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10 Responses to Doctor-Lawyer-Engineer

  1. Des

    Dear Madinah, you write so well! It’s definitely your gift. We all have the words but having the sophistication of thought is a different matter. If you aren’t earning your living from your writing yet I have no doubt you will some day.Keep going, learn your craft, write from your heart and that acute mind and, even if you don’t make money from it, it’ll help your spirit soar. All the best and thank you for your thoughts.
    luv&peas&de ting with no name.
    (global citizen, currently in London, England, but hailing from India where many a bright young mind has been f****d by Doctor-Lawyer-Engineer….and my I add Accountant- syndrome)
    PS:’This Be The Verse’ by Philip Larkin


      Des!!!! Thank you so much for this comment and the encouragement! I’m glad you enjoy the blog. sending you love!

  2. Amalo

    Good for you!

  3. Aisha

    Absolutely love your blog.. Keep up the Good Work <3

  4. Shabnam

    LOL at the quote. how many times ive heard that

  5. Donya

    so….i just caught up on your blog and read all your recent posts… love them!

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