Monday, November 8, 2010


Asalam Alaikum,

Many people that I meet assume that I am Pakistani. There have been many times when we have gone somewhere(offices, visa renewal, wedding functions outside the family, shopping) when I have been mistaken for Pakistani. It is just assumed that I am, until I or Tariq says something.

Tariq says that many people just think I am Pathan(Pashto speaking tribe from Afghanistan and northern Pakistan). Pathans tend to have lighter skin, hair and eye color, so he says I look similar to them.

It can be useful, when we are shopping they don't give me a crazy inflated price for items(just a normally inflated price :-) so that we can bargain), and when we are out on the motor cycle, or walking around I don't get stared at(anymore than any other woman). I think part of it may be the area we live in, it is not a fancier side of the city where there are lots of foreigners. I also dress like everyone else, and skip the jeans and tees that I used to wear. I always wear shalwar kameez suits(with matching bangles of course:-), abaya, and dupatta, sometimes even a niqab.

Until the second I open my mouth to speak, I am just like everyone around me, and I kind of like it.


Umm Aaminah said...

Salaam sis. When I was in India, I would often play the bit of "demure wife" and stay behind my husband with my mouth shut until purchases were made. :-D It was just sooo much cheaper that way!

Same with me, if I kept my mouth shut people thought both my husband and I were from Kashmir because of my white skin and green eyes. It was really uncomfortable sometimes how much men stared; in India you just don't SEE people with lighter skin (where we were) so I stood out. Not fun.

Once we were really dressed up in some fancy clothes and took a horse and carriage ride. My husband masha'Allah had a very big beard and some women walking by cried, Ya Shaykh! lol Which he isn't but they just assumed because I was in all black with niqab and he had on a very nice white kameez and kufi. So funny masha'allah.

Anyway enjoy your time in Pakistan. I know it is difficult sometimes but it truly is a unique experience to be enjoyed when possible and optimistically tolerated at others!

Ma salaama....

Um Dayo said...

gawd, I miss shalwar kameez so much. I only have one that still fits me and is hijab appropriate, as all my suits I bought in India were short sleeved and don't fit anymore anyway. And my single appropriate one is too small now that I am pregnant. I actually bought a sewing machine with the intention of making my own (per your instructions) but have not gotten around to it/haven't bought any fabric I liked.

Ambaa said...

Do you plan to learn the local language? I think it would be fun to completely blend in that way!

Aishah said...

@ Aamba InshAllah! I have been married almost four years, and still can't make a complete sentence, I know lots of words, but can't put them together. I am trying, but I have always had trouble with languages. I took 4 years of Spanish in school, and can't remember anything other than a few bits and pieces.

I think though that even if I could speak the language, I would have a horrible accent!

Jennifer said...

Essalam Alaikum, We live in Northern Africa, a tribal sort of place, all of the people are from here and I'm the only Non Arab person. When we shop I don't talk aloud, until of course after we have made our purchases. They jack the prices WAY up when they hear English. Very annoying!