A for America n Arranged Marriages

7 Jun

“Do you have a boyfriend in Pakistan”..asked Joel, the director of ABC 10News. I replied by saying “No, I am single as I took a sip of non alcoholic margarita joel ordered for me.

We were having dinner at a mexican restaurant with Joel’s family and  his two friends, Mike and Robin. Over the past few weeks I had been affiliated with ABC 10news and Joel took me over to his house to show what a suburban American life is like.

” I had a client from Pakistan who had an arranged marriage, how does that work in Pakistan…what happens if it dosent work”? Robin asked me who is in real estate business in San diego.

Even though I could never find the idea of arrange marriage comfortable, there was something in me which felt like defending it, so I replied by saying that its not bad as a lot of people think it is, its just like two friends getting their other two friends hooked up, in our case parents try to do it. If it doesnt work IT DOESNT WORK!!..as simple as that!!

“Did your parents try that”, she asked

“Yea” I replied

“And you said No”…hmmm, she acknowledged

“I remember you trying to hook up our daughter once Robin”,said Mike to his wife. “Parents try to do that all the time here too” added Sarah, Joel”s wife.

Sarah further added by saying that once somebody told her that in America marriage is like…”whats in it for me” but thats not the case in countries like India and Pakistan. Its more like whats in it for the family, “Me” is less important than the “Family”

“Well, would you be fine with an arrange marriage Madiha”, asked robin again. I think for Robin I was the case study through which she wanted to understand how things work in Pakistan.

I replied by saying that I wouldn’t shy away from the idea of arrange marriage if I find the right guy, after all thats how it works in Pakistan.

“But you would prefer a Love Marriage, right?” Joel asked quickly and I couldnt be frank enough, so I said “Ideally yes!!..I would like to know the person I am marrying”

After that for next 15 minutes we just talked about how love marriages work in Pakistan while Joel’s kids were busy playing games on cell phone.

“So, when does a girl introduces the guy to her parents and vice versa” Mike asked me. I said that mostly whenever they are sure they are going to marry each other, an official proposal is sent to the girls parents by guy’s family.

Mike looked at me with surprise and said ” Ahhh I met my daughter’s boyfriend I am not sure if they will ever marry”.

” Well mostly there is no concept of casual dating in Pakistan, if we are seeing someone we do have something running back of our mind that we will end up marrying that person”…but dosent happen like that all the time”…I added.

“So what do you guys talk about during dating…Marriage?” asked robin surprisingly. I couldn’t control so I laughed and said “NO” …. hehehe!!!

Funny America!!!


Meeting a Tribal

7 Jun

Have you ever met someone from the tribal areas of Pakistan? I am sure most of us haven’t, isn’t it ironic that we talk about tribal areas in Pakistan all time, blame them for being backward and fundamentalists for promoting extremism without actually having to know them. I don’t know about you guys but I used to be like this until I met T.

 T was one the journalist who was part of the USA-Pakistan Journalism Exchange Program with me. He works for development of radio station and belongs to Khyber agency of FATA region in Pakistan. He is light skinned and tall guy who looks nothing like a typical image I had of tribal people in Pakistan. He would crack jokes and make us laugh all the time. T can converse very well in English, not only that I found him to be one of the  most confident and relevant journalists amongst all of us.

Even though he had some annoying habits such as always coming late and questioning waitress about why isn’t Pepsi common in America like it is in Pakistan, but for most of it T opened my eyes about “Tribal Pakistan”.

At one of the de-briefing at Department of State T told everybody that he has pictures of people getting beheaded for only offering cup of tea or glass of water to FC. He further said that Drone Attacks take place in his areas and kill innocent people as Taliban would come to any house and ask for food and tea, locals can’t dare to refuse Taliban as they are strong.

T said he was happy that Bin Laden was not found in tribal area because for years his people were blamed for sheltering terrorism but the truth was something else. T claimed that tribals are not the only ones responsible for the present state we are in. T further added that tribals are not embraced in Pakistan; they are looked down upon and disgraced as fundamentalists.

T said “Nobody really cares about tribal Pakistan”

I wouldn’t talk for anybody but myself and I agree with T. Thanks for changing my perception 🙂