I'm not what you would call a deeply religious man, but whenever I hear my uneducated relatives or friends say things that make my blood boil, I thank the Almighty that my father spent so much on my education (despite not being a rich man himself). Of course he was a strict disciplinarian who expected me to top in every exam I took, even though I didn't do as well as he wanted me to in my college years.

It is because of illiteracy that among my relatives that there are many who make me wonder whether I should get my DNA compared to theirs to find out if they're truly related to me. I often wonder if they were switched by mistake in the hospitals they were born. I've often read of such things happening. In my case, of course, since I was born in my maternal grandfather's house, and there were no hospitals in the small town where I was born in 1944, I am the true son of my parents.

I was talking to a near relative today. I won't say who he is, but he has this habit of exaggerating a lot. In the past he's made many incredible claims, which is one reason his relatives don't take him seriously. I wonder how his poor wife has tolerated him all these years without losing her mind. Today he said he went into the room of a girl who later became a famous TV actress and she was naked at the time (apparently she'd just had sex with her boyfriend who had just left her house). I asked him why he didn't have sex with her, as no normal man would have been able to control himself in such a situation. I also told him that he was a fool for not doing it (I used the Urdu word ch....a). Of course, anyone could tell he was lying, as her parents were in the house and it was her brother who told him how to find her room.

I should have told him I'll mention his so-called exploits in the novel I plan to write (there are so many incredible incidents he's related). And I wish I had the guts to ask him for his DNA sample so I can verify if he really is closely related to me and his other relatives, or whether the hospital staff gave someone else's child instead of him to his mother.