Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Possible World of Pakistan

Here’s a few random thoughts and observations from the last week:

One day when I was dropped off at the house there was a donkey cart outside delivering firewood.

In Karachi people were able to protest the Danish cartoons without destroying their own property or killing anyone. Al humdullah! Inshallah the Lahoris can follow their example on Friday’s upcoming strike.

Public libraries seem to be virtually non-existent as the books would most likely be stolen. I borrowed a few books from a friend who is a teacher at Lahore College. She warned me not to ever take the books out of the house because they have a habit of ending up in other people's bags.

Somehow you can watch a Britney Spears movie with Arabic subtitles on one of the stations here. When did she star in her own movie? And perhaps the more pressing question, why and who paid for it? This being aired to the tune of the call to prayer seems like something worthy of protest.

From the one case study I have observed, households with 22 children tend to lack discipline. If their parents don’t pay you for two weeks of tuition, just send the kids home for one day. They’ll put up the dough within 24 hours.

For students taking Ling510 (Semantics) this semester: I’m living in an alternate possible world where the following sentence is true:

Six people can easily fit on one motorbike.

The husband drives with one child sitting on his lap. Whichever child is a toddler sits on his or her brother and holds the handle bars. That’s three. An older child sits behind the father with her legs dangling off to the right, while the mother sits on the very back with her legs dangling off to the left. You see it’s not appropriate for ladies to sit on bikes properly as they are prone to “lose their virginity” by doing such things. No horseback riding, no bike riding. Preserve the family honor. The mother’s feet are about an inch above the ground in her side saddle stance, but somehow she still pulls off wearing open toed high heeled shoes. The shoes must be sparkly. To fit the sixth person on, the other or the oldest daughter hold a baby. Perhaps they can fit seven as each one could potentially hold a baby. A rule has been made that motorcycle helmets must be worn, so any law abiding motorcycle driver will wear a helmet. Yes, you got that, ONLY the driver wears a helmet. I’m not sure if I know of any company that makes infant motorcycle helmets anyway.

I was offered a ride on a bike the other day but I graciously declined the offering seeing as traffic lanes are not kept and there’s buses, cars, donkey carts, pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, rickshaws, and possibly stray cows all traveling along the same roads. Oh and sometimes horse and buggy as well. Add to it that it’s the opposite side of the road for me and I almost can’t handle it. I certainly couldn’t handle it riding side saddle on a motorcycle.

This sentence also seems to be true:

I am a famous supermodel.

Random people come up and ask to take pictures with me. Students write me fan mail (or love emails) and everyone is always asking for my number. My hairstyle is exciting no matter if I straighten it, braid it, let it go curly, or tie it in a knot. I took the precaution to dye it darker before coming here, but to no avail. People stop and stare at me wherever I go. In the streets. On the bus. Even when I'm in the car. Stopping at traffic lights in a nightmare. This is what it feels like to be followed by the paparazzi! I never want to be famous. It takes too much time and energy to try to divert attention from yourself. I just want to say, seriously, stop staring. I'm not a display in a museum and I don't consider the streets of Lahore as a catwalk where everyone can check me out. Where can I buy a burka?


Bill said...


Heather said...

Bill, haha what part are you laughing about?

centralasiangirl said...

and I thought I had it bad here...remind me to never go to a M country:-)!!! you might appreciate this verse or at least find humor in it...Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack.:-) ps 56:1

Anonymous said...

Oh no no no...ahahaha...
who told you that sitting "properly" on bike is "prohibbited" in Pakistan for ladies cause this way they ll lose their virginity..??????
well..its like..sitting "propoerly" on bikes is considered manly...and is not an "in" thing...
any ladies who sits like that is considered paindoo(not fashionable)
so who ever told you about losing the virginity thingy was so very wrong...