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She loves me. She loves me not

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    She loves me. She loves me not

    My wife is not a Muslim. She has been to Pakistan over a dozen times to visit my family there.

    As a non-Muslim westerner, she has her opinions about Pakistanis – both positive and not so positives. These views are not necessarily her reflection on Pakistan as a country but more as “culture”. She is by training an anthropologist, so I take her views very seriously and assign a big weight to them.

    Some of the things that don’t impress her are:

    - lack of privacy, lack of personal space
    - Greater willingness to please others on the cost of self contentment – sometime extended at the cost of that at the expense of kids (e,g. parents will force kids to do certain things to please their elders, etc.). In other world, an individual revolves around society (it being completely opposite in the west).
    - Concept of age-based “Izaat” – i.e., respect of elders even when they are off the mark.

    Basically the same stuff that annoys me (and I am sure other too), annoys her too. These traits are very regional in essence.

    Now the things she finds quite impressive:

    - Loves the idea of prayer calls 5 times a day (she sees it as an opportunity for Mohallah Residents to get together and at least see one another to make stronger bonds to discuss issues that concern them). She would like to see inter-faith prayers (i.e., Shias Sunnis praying in the same mosques). She also likes praying in formation, anyone can stand anywhere in the line, regardless of one’s age, etc. Wishes to see it extended to women praying along side men.

    - Loves the idea of washing a dead body, wrapping it in a white sheet, digging a hole, and throwing it in. No huge mass and funeral and processions.

    - Loves weddings and all the celebrations that go along with them. She believes that it is OK to be extravagant once in one’s life. The bigger the better.

    - Loves extended family support system (but wouldn’t like for herself) she believes that it works well in that society.

    -and obviously the food.


    Last edited by Madhanee; Jun 1, 2005, 12:25 PM.

    #2
    Re: She loves me. She loves me not

    Good points Sheikh Saab..I've always believed people get driven nuts in Desi society because of excessive social contact..people not leaving you alone..

    While in Western Society people go nuts because of isolation.

    These are all broad based generalisations..obviously..the lack of inidviduality in Desi society rubs of in other ways you see people playing follow the leader quite blindly, as such if you impress the leader you get the respect of the rest without much protest..in Western society making the individual realise that they do not operate in a vaccum is a challenge but when achieved you earn a sense of respect .
    How can a man die better than facing fearful odds for the ashes of his fathers and the Temple of his Gods?

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      #3
      Re: She loves me. She loves me not

      Zakk, it is sometimes strange, because the things that bother me when I visit there don’t bother my wife at all. She has a much better knack to put things in perspective. When we go to Pakistan, my complaints are basically superficial, e.g., electricity shutdowns, water problems, stupid things like that. My boys and my wife on the other hand are not bothered by any of the inconveniences. My younger son’s favorite past time past summer was to throw water filled balloons from our rooftop on passersby’s. He managed to even get a few aunties in their new shalwar kameezes. Even when someone yelled back, he would enjoy getting them see upset. My poor old mother had to go out and apologize.

      I think sometimes we all have a tendency to waste our time on stupid little things instead of making the best out of a situation.

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        #4
        Re: She loves me. She loves me not

        Originally posted by Madhanee
        Some of the things that don’t impress her are:

        - lack of privacy, lack of personal space
        - Greater willingness to please others on the cost of self contentment – sometime extended at the cost of that at the expense of kids (e,g. parents will force kids to do certain things to please their elders, etc.). In other world, an individual revolves around society (it being completely opposite in the west).
        - Concept of age-based “Izaat” – i.e., respect of elders even when they are off the mark.
        The funny thing is that as a desi raised in westernised environments (an American compound and school in Saudi till I was 7, and the UK since then) the existence of the reverse of these things in the West dissappoints me.

        1) There is too much privacy and not enough openness in western society
        2) This is what most I find doesn't impress me the most - the feeling in Western society that the good of the individual supercedes that of society... I personally pasionately feel that what is good for an individual is subordinate to what is good for the society. In other words, the smallest social unit of importance in the west is the individual; in desi sciety, it is the family.
        3) The treatment of elders as equals rather than superiors is repugnant to me. Within reasonable bounds, elders should be allowed to feel that they are right as much as possible because of all that they've done in their lives to empower the generations below them.
        Muslims are so good at dividing that they can divide the atom. If you see two Muslims, probably they belong to 3 parties.
        Al-Ghazali

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          #5
          Re: She loves me. She loves me not

          Sheikh Saab: I agree with you .. I notice those same things as well ("load shedding", the pollution and dirt )..more recently the level it bothers me has lessened..whereas I used to remember people looking forward to the opening of KFC in Pakistan with the anticipation of a life changing event..when I visit Pakistan now I actively seek out a place where I can have a good kabuli palao and a cup of qehva (green tea).

          Although I should point out the difference between living in a South Asian society and living in South Asia ( they don't necessarily understand 420 jokes in South Asian diaspora society lol)

          Maddy: Moderation is the key..I know people so traumatised from living in the extreme fringes of both societies it's traumatised them for life..in the end the grass always looks greener on the other side..but one should remember every way of living has it's own heaven and hell.
          How can a man die better than facing fearful odds for the ashes of his fathers and the Temple of his Gods?

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            #6
            Re: She loves me. She loves me not

            Maddy, Did you learn how to ride camels in Saudi Arabia? Which compound are you talking about? Aramco in Dhaharan? Or Jubail?

            I think certain things are part of our DNA, and it takes generations to have some of those traits get diluted. I see that in my own family. Some of my relatives who have lived in the US and in the UK with their kids born and raised there still are very Pakistani. They may speak with English accent, but are very Pakistani (at the same time, very English and very American as well). I think that’s a good thing, to be able to relate to both contrasting worlds. My wife’s ancestors immigrated from Greece turn of the last century, and she is still more Greek than Greeks in Greece, except that she speaks Greek with an American accent (I cant tell the difference – hence the joke, its all Greek to me). Similarly, the Indians who were brought to central America still managed to retain a lot of indianness. If we looked at physical ability across racial lines, it gets very interesting.

            Zakk Uncle. I agree, KFC sucks. There’s nothing like a good Pakistani meal, tandoori rooti, aalo keema, aachaar, piyaz and tamater with lemon squeezed on it, and some raitaa. And get me some cold water too. Thankyou.

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              #7
              Re: She loves me. She loves me not

              I agree with Maddy, of course there are plus points and negitives and it is largely a question of personal taste- I like the idea of cummunal living - this more community oriented-ness. Its all warmth inducing so long as you can get away from it when required. I do also believe western living to be kinda lonely. I am a social animal I like to be around poeple.

              What does bug me is how your business is everyone elses.
              rubber band rubber band rubber band rubber band rubber band

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                #8
                Re: She loves me. She loves me not

                Originally posted by Madhanee
                Maddy, Did you learn how to ride camels in Saudi Arabia? Which compound are you talking about? Aramco in Dhaharan? Or Jubail?

                I think certain things are part of our DNA, and it takes generations to have some of those traits get diluted. I see that in my own family. Some of my relatives who have lived in the US and in the UK with their kids born and raised there still are very Pakistani. They may speak with English accent, but are very Pakistani (at the same time, very English and very American as well).
                Sadly, I didn't learn to ride camels in Saudi. In fact, unfortunately and much to my shame and embarassment, I learned to incorrectly spell words such as "colour" and "organisation" and even worse, to talk in a silly accent like an American. It took me 4 years after I moved to England to re-learn how to speak and write correct English.

                Anyway, the traits that you talk of are the values which our community holds to distinguish itself from others - these get passed down. Of course, it's generally only possible to do this when living in the middle of a community of people similar to you, otherwise the assimilation instinct tends to kick in...
                Muslims are so good at dividing that they can divide the atom. If you see two Muslims, probably they belong to 3 parties.
                Al-Ghazali

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                  #9
                  Re: She loves me. She loves me not

                  Sheikh Saab just curious what kind of food do you eat at home? ( I'm afraid I'll be going for some chapli kebabs, kabuli palao and to wrap it up some perfectly made qehwa so you are sadly stuck only with an offer of cold water and for that too you'll have to book a flight to Britain)

                  Maddy: That must have been terrible..sounding like an American..
                  How can a man die better than facing fearful odds for the ashes of his fathers and the Temple of his Gods?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: She loves me. She loves me not

                    What's wrong with accepting some parts of the culture and rejecting others? I value my privacy but I like having family nearby. I don't feel the need to show respect for someone I detest just because she's old and bitter. I can be polite, but respect is exclusive to my parents and several close relatives, not the lady down the street or some great aunt's sister's daughter's cousin. I don't think parents have any right to threaten thier children's happiness to appease other family members or friends. Yes, children should be considerate to their parents, but ultimately, the decision lies with them, and parents should be able to accept it and love thier children regardless of whom they decide to marry or career path. nonetheless.

                    My bro got married this weekend, and on two days notice, 65 people were invited to the reception, and 65 showed up. Noone besides her immediate family showed up, no aunts, uncles or cousins. I understand it from their point of view too, that most non-desis don't operate on the last minute thing, and need at least a week's word in advance, however, I would be crushed and pretty pissed if my relatives didn't show up, however "busy" they were. On the other hand it's like...this is a one-tme thing, getting married, and why shouldn't you drop everything at the last minute if u can? Is that selfish to ask?? :halo:
                    The grass ain't always greener on the other side, it's green where you water it.

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                      #11
                      Re: She loves me. She loves me not

                      Your Bro getting married on two days' notice? First of all, Congratulations.

                      Did he do something he wasn't supposed to do?

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                        #12
                        Re: She loves me. She loves me not

                        Thanks

                        Well everyone knows that he was going to have his nikkah soon, but the plans weren't discussed or finalized til the day before. Originally it was going to be immediate family at home, and a small davat at home for other familySunday afternoon. Then, we decided to do it at a shaadi hall, and invited a LOT more people....
                        The grass ain't always greener on the other side, it's green where you water it.

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                          #13
                          Re: She loves me. She loves me not

                          my relatives take the age based "Izaat" to an extreme, it makes a difference if you are a couple months to a year older. they wont listen to me because i am one of the youngest in the family, but if someone slightly older says the same thing they will follow him/her like lemmings.

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                            #14
                            Re: She loves me. She loves me not

                            Madhanee, any woman who lives with you (even if she does not love you) deserves a Nobel Prize.

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                              #15
                              Re: She loves me. She loves me not

                              ^ Haha.

                              Wasay yeah Madhanee you do have a point. What my aunts and cousins loved when they went from here, were the weddings. They were in complete awe. And yeah the food!
                              "Today in heaven they opened up a new chest dedicated to charity. It's name ?"

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