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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|By The Khan Owl|
As we arrive in college, parents’ worst nightmares soon become real. Yes, this includes desi parents as well. You may have taught your child all the good you possibly could, but your child is still a child. A child is going to see what’s out there and explore.
As a Muslim American Desi Young Adult, we know what’s “right” Islamically, we kind of know what’s “right” culturally, but we don’t really know what’s “right” for us. We don’t. This is why we have to explore to understand. I believe that the best way to learn is through experience. Though most desi parents won’t approve of this simply because many are close-minded and over-protective; no offense parents, but it’s true.
So anyways, one of my close friends went through this recently, and I’d like to shed some light on the topic of alcohol and drugs. Parents please note that this can easily be your child.
College party weekend
“Oh dear. All my friends together. Something is bound to happen. They will try to ignite my curiosities. FML.”
Soon after, all friends get together in a corner of some apartment building. Greeting some marijuana smokers. It’s windy. The weed gets lit up after several tries. Friends start passing it out around.
“I’m so scared. I can’t smoke it. It’s not right. I can’t... (someone puts it in her mouth). Damn it. Ugh, it smells so bad and tastes so gross but wait, I didn’t really inhale it. I already made a mistake. Okay let me try doing it three more times and see if I get the high...”
Nothing. She didn’t know what to feel at that point. She didn’t realize what had just happened. All her friends went back inside the dorm rooms and then there was a huge bottle of Vodka...
A friend hands her a half of a water bottle mixed with Diet Pepsi so it doesn’t taste as bad. Holding it in her hand she thinks: “What do I do? I know it’s wrong. It’s really wrong. It’s a freakin’ sin. But I wonder what it tastes like... I wonder what kind of drunk would I be if I was drunk. Would I be a depressed one? Happy one? Angry one? Horny one? Hmmm. No, no I can’t. I’ve always been a good kid. I’ve never done anything wrong. I can’t. I simply can’t have it. But I already committed a sin. Screw it.” She drinks, bitterly, almost the entire contents of the bottle given to her. Nothing happens perhaps.
It still doesn’t hit her what had happened until really late that night. She puts on her headphones and starts listening to the Quran and starts bawling. She keeps apologizing to God. She’s absolutely distraught. She never thought she would do something like this.
After that day, she’s been feeling guilty all the time. She sees alcohol or someone drunk or someone smoking anything, she thinks it’s her. She thinks she’s still doing bad. Going to the mosque is another issue. If a Khutbah is about drinking or drugs, she feels like she’s part of the problem. She’s one of the bad people.
As you guys can see clearly, she feels TERRIBLE about what happened. She didn’t realize how guilty she’d feel afterwards. Every action has consequences and unfortunately, this is hers. Her parents do not know, and how can they? They might freak out too. As if she doesn’t feel bad about it already.
I think parents need to realize that American Muslim college students are college students too. Sometimes we feel tempted too. We are curious too. We want to feel we belong too. If we slip up here and there, it’s okay. We aren’t bad kids. We are just kids. We are still trying to figure out who we are.