Though I was born in Karachi, Pakistan, people would never think I was. I have an American accent, speak Urdu like a preschooler, and can’t stand kameez shalwar and especially the infamous dupatta. My entire life, I’ve been around American people, and been exposed to the “American lifestyle”. I’ve been told about the “Pakistani lifestyle” but in all honesty, I have no idea what that is. And quite frankly, I’m not too fond of the “desi mentality”. So anyways, this will be a diary of my day to day life in an American University where I am studying International Relations and Psychology with a minor in Philosophy and Law; all to become an International Lawyer (definitely not a typical desi career). I know that many of you are wondering what does an American desi girl go through in an American University, and let me just tell you that we go through A LOT. We have to decide not just between what’s right and what’s wrong, but also what’s socially acceptable in the desi society as well as the American society. Trying to fit in has never been this hard, but it’s a journey and I hope to give everyone an insight on what we are exposed to, what we are thinking and what we do about it.
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|What About Me?|
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|By The Khan Owl|
Who am I? As humans, we ask this question about a million times. We go on a journey called life to try to figure out who we are, and what’s our purpose. This quest is hard enough, but what if one was to add in DESI and ISLAM things in it?! So now we are talking about who we are/what’s our purpose in terms of ourselves, our American and Desi culture, and Islam. As a young woman, is it my job to study and have a career? Perhaps to get married through an “arrangement” or even worse, Shaadi.com, and cook/clean/take care of my kids and my momma’s-boy-husband? Or is to pray and read the Quran and focus on the afterlife? I think my head is about to explode.
So we have to figure all this out while we are in college. Here, we are trying to have a social life (family, friends, and guys), trying to get 4.0 or close to it (because otherwise, we’d be a disgrace to our family), do research/internship/volunteer/have leadership positions in clubs (that’s what grad schools want), and have a job (extra money doesn’t hurt anybody). And NOW, it includes the who am I question. *sigh*
When ammi calls me (I don’t have time to call), the conversation goes as follows:
Me: Hey mom
Ammi: Salam bolo
Me: Sorry... okay, okay, asaykum (i guess that’s how it sounds when i say Assalumu-Alaikum really fast)
Ammi: Why do you sound tired?
Me: That’s because I am. I am living on three hours of sleep for the past three days
Ammi: Kyun? What have you been doing?
Me: Studying (there is more, but I know the best thing to say is “studying”)
Ammi: oh, okay... you better get that A. We are paying college tuition for a reason
Me: okay, okay, I will
Ammi: You sound stressed. Kyun?
Me: That’s because I am. I don’t know why
Ammi: Stress? Tum? What stress do you have? All you have to do is study and sleep. That’s it. Nothing else to worry about. Kaash I was your age and going to University here. You are so lucky
Me: Okay Mom. I got to go (not really... I just don’t want to discuss this any further and the conversation ends)
So you see? Many of our parents don’t understand that we have a lot of things on our mind, and trying to find a balance is very, very hard. We hear voices from all around us telling us what we should do or what we have to do, but what about what WE want to do?
We are humans too... We will make mistakes and we will disappoint sometimes. i just hope our parents can be okay with that.