He talks about Pakistan as if it’s a distant country with way too many problems and corrupt politicians. Pakistani politics, of which he knows nothing, is the favorite topic on which he can rant for hours. His core beliefs are based on two conjectures — Imran Khan and American-style education are the only two things that can salvage the country.
He thinks Indians, with no offence intended, are nothing like us, their despicable dress sense makes them look desperate while we with our fairer complexion and adaptability assimilate smoothly. Dissociation with Indians runs parallel to association with American culture, both of which are closely related to the protection of his identity — an American of Pakistani origin with American children of strictly American origin.
He can’t talk enough about the mouth-watering taste of the Pakistani food with all its masala and spices and overcooked tender meat. His eyes glimmer with the mention of chicken karahi, Karachi’s biryani and Anarkali’s fruit chart. Food is one thing he misses most about Pakistan. Then you see his plate of steamed veggies and mashed potatoes.
He starts every other sentence with a ‘yes’ and ends it with ‘but’. He begins with an assertion, comes to an excuse and concludes it with an apology. That’s before he starts talking again.
He can’t talk enough of the importance of retaining a connection with our Pakistani roots considering how hardly we get a chance to, call back home, watch Pakistani television or visit even every five years. The dress code at iftaris is strictly Eastern and there’s a huge Independence Day bash. Namaz is the solution to all his problems. His kids Shawn and Adam nod hysterically.
He insists on communicating with his kid in Urdu who never replies in the same language and carries a baffled expression on his little face looking at his parents like they belong to an African tribe talking gibberish. You can tell the little human is clueless. Till you meet next, there will be no more debates on ‘Pakistaniat’ (a term used quite frequently now)
He takes pride in the fact that his son outsmart all his Indian class mates without mentioning the Japanese kids whose helps he needs to pass the Algebra test and the after-school tuition that comes handy for sciences.
His educated uncles and family money will pop up randomly in conversations with hazy information. Ask him details and he will throw his BMW, chic apartment and Cartier watch at you. Then he starts cribbing about the increasing food cost and gas prices.
You can’t even escape the oh-so-familiar joke of how he is as much a part of Pakistan as anyone living there “after all we are running Pakistan with all the money we send from here…” Ha.Ha.Ha!