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a mother’s secret


Ayad Akhtar’s parents met in Pakistan in the early 1960s, when they were both medical students and “ridiculously attractive”, or so their friends say. Despite having a love marriage (against the wishes of his parents), theirs was difficult from the start.

“When I was 4 years old, I already knew that my father had ‘other women,’ as my mother used to call them,” Ayad wrote in her essay Modern Love.

But it wasn’t until years later, when Ayad was an adult, that his mother shared her own confession with him. Today, Ayad tells his story about how he saw his mother in a new light. Then we hear a little love story about a boy who recognizes his parents for the first time.

Ayad Akhtarwho received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2013, is the author of the novel “Homeland Elegies” and president of PEN America.

Hosted by: Ana Martin
Produced by: Hans Buetow, Julia Botero, Elyssa Dudley, and Vishakha Darbha
Edited by: Sarah Sarason
Executive producer: wendy dorr
Designed by: Dan Powell
Theme song: Dan Powell
original music: Marion Lozano
Essay written and read by: Ayad Akhtar
Little love story by: peyton-roberts
Founder, Modern Love: Daniel Jones
Editor, Modern Love Projects: miya reads

Special thanks: Mahima Chablani, Renan Borelli, Jeffrey Miranda, Julia Simon, Lisa Tobin, Sam Dolnick, Ryan Wegner, and Anna Diamond at Audm.

Thoughts? Email us at modernlovepodcast@nytimes.com.



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