Once a Pakistani, always a Pakistani

امجد میانداد نے 'General Discussion' کی ذیل میں اس موضوع کا آغاز کیا، ‏جولائی 26, 2013

  1. امجد میانداد

    امجد میانداد محفلین


    By Saba Fatima Ali

    Over the past few months, all I have witnessed is my colleagues and friends in a constant struggle to settle abroad. For someone like me, who is not much of a traveller, the West was an enigma. I always used to imagine it as a flawless place, close enough to heaven, where nothing went wrong. Where life was as smooth as silk and as hassle free as a newly bought Porsche …. Well, there had to be a reason all those people wanted to run away and settle there.

    The mystery was solved last month when I went to Canada for a medical elective. The agenda on my mind was to discover the secrets of West being heaven.To my great disappointment, it was not PERFECT. Yes, I had indeed landed in a country which was way ahead of us in technology, infrastructure and everything I could name, but there was something amiss despite that all. I jotted down a list for all of those who are living under the perception that life is perfect in the West, based on my one month’s experience.

    The hits:
    l Nobody cares: When you are out there nobody cares if you are dressed in a mini skirt or carrying a giant bug tattoo. They will walk away without giving you a second look, even if you claim you can fly. Nobody judges, nobody stares and hence, you don’t feel like an overly scrutinised object of interest.I was impressed!

    l Everyone smiles: From the bus driver to the random man walking across the street, to the woman you just ran into an elevator; everyone smiles and wishes you a good day. There is not a single speck of arrogance lying on most of the people’s shoulders. For me, a month in a strange country, where I had never been before, and I already felt like one of their own. Definite plus!

    l All’s well: Bombs don’t blast, city doesn’t shut down and you don’t have to rush home just because the “conditions” got bad. It’s a safe haven where you can live in peace without the fear of dying at the hands of a brainwashed target killer. If nothing else, my paranoia of fireworks at a wedding had definitely resolved. Canada, I owe you one!

    l Say ‘no’ to corruption: One of the biggest highlights of my trip was when I dropped my bus pass. A piece of card worth 200 dollars, with no name on it. Usable for anyone who picked it. Considering my Pakistani mindset, I spent a day in agony convinced I would never find it. The next day, when I called the Lost and Found Office of the bus, I was told someone had picked my card and returned it to them. For someone who had just been robbed of an S3 before landing in Canada, this was surely heaven!

    l Rules are meant to be followed: I cherish those days when a car used to stop for me even if it saw me walking from miles away. As the rule said “Pedestrians First”, no one dared to break it. Out there, queues were meant to be stood in, dustbins were used for trash, and red light meant stop. For REAL. It was heartening to be part of a system where everything went smoothly just because each citizen played their part. A definite sixer!
    The misses:
    l Food and Muslim showers: It was an ordeal to look at delicious burgers being flipped right in front of your eyes, ignore it and quietly go to grab a veggie delight from the shop next door. Of all the things I missed Pakistan for, halal food and Muslim showers top the list.

    l Serenity or desertedness?: People might call it serenity, but for somebody who was born in the City of Lights, that place was a desert. Not a sound after the sunset, malls close early on weekends, no sound of cricket being played on the roads; it was, to me, a place devoid of life and joviality I was so used too. Call me irrational, but despite being surrounded by nature, I couldn’t help missing the pollution of the cars back home. For me, a definite miss!

    l Fast and furious: You wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, rush to work, work crazy all day, return home and go to sleep - that was my schedule for the month I worked there. Too busy and fast paced to spend time with my family, or even call my parents. Everyone on the roads seemed in a hurry to get some task accomplished. For a lazy person, like me, who loves to relax, unfold and stay close to family and the fast paced life was a miss-miss situation.

    l The desi culture: I started craving home as soon as Ramazan started in Canada. I missed sitting in front of the television with eyes fixed on the screen waiting for the Ruet e Hilal committee to make their final call. I missed the people rushing out on the streets to grab groceries at the mere sight of the moon. I missed the festivity in the air. I wanted to take the next flight and run back home. And so I did. As soon as I landed in Karachi, I was welcomed by the sound of azaan. And that’s when I knew, for a true desi like me, Pakistan was the place to be!

    l It’s not home: At the end the day, that place was not my home. At times, I felt that thing being ingrained into me unconsciously by people at work that I didn’t belong there and had come from a far off country. That I should live by the rules there if I wanted to adjust …. I couldn’t tag along with my Pakistani ways if I wanted a life in Canada. I had to be on my toes to match up to all those who were not better, but “different” than who I was. I was told I would fall on my face if I didn’t mould myself soon. This last message was by far for me the most difficult to take. As much as a safe haven it was, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to wipe out the Pakistani in me just yet. After all once a Pakistani, always a Pakistani :)

    آخری تدوین: ‏جولائی 26, 2013

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