Note: I had great feedback from hundreds of people. Thanks for liking. I have edited and added few points that a lot of you thought should be a part of this. Happy reading!
Okay so I had been busy, like really busy. There was Ramadan, and then summer holidays. So I am just running, running around them, running after them, running for them. And then few things happened, one after the other. So compelling that I had to write about it and about what I felt.
Why I have specially mentioned Canada? Because Canadians are the most kind and friendly people I have ever met. They give you smiles, confidence, ways and rights. If you can’t be good here, then you can not be good any where. Why did I specifically mentioned Pakistanis? Because I am a proud Pakistani and I want my people to be known for their good manners and deeds. Everything starts from within!
1- Acknowledge The Good
Stepping in a mall, a store, a bank, you would definitely come across people who would open and hold doors for you, who would pull things out of your way even if it does not belong to them, who would watch out for your children as you put them back in your car, who would pick up after you in the cashier’s lane when your little one keeps throwing random stuff down and who would call you dirty-faced, crying toddler cute and “oh don’t worry about it”. Learn to say thank you, out loud. We are not entitled to it. I know how my own Pakistani people would react to a veiled woman entering a upscale store in Karachi with a crying toddler. So how these Canadians treat us with respect and dignity should not be taken for granted. They let us wear our veils, they let us pray in public, they let us in their workplaces, they let us have and exercise all our rights and more than we actually can imagine even in our own country. The least we can do is show our gratitude so they continue to do so.
2- Stop Touching
Okay I get it; back in Pakistan we used to shake hands and hug anyone we met and pat shoulders and those flying “muah” in the air and God knows what else and what more. I get it. But this is Canada. Culturally, traditionally, morally much advanced and yet everyone has and needs and wants his/her own space. And we teach our children about good and bad touch, which basically means any touch without their own permission. And still just this past weekend, I was with number 1, number 2 and number 3, and this woman passed by with her teenager and touched number 2’s hair and felt them and shook them, all while passing by in a Walmart isle, talking in the air how lovely these hair are. I mean seriously??? We gotta stop touching. Right now, like right now!
3- Mind That Karhaai
I am a foodie. And I am a Desi foodie. Which basically means I love Haleem and Biryani and Karhaai and Halwa puri and everything else. Which also means I know how much effort is out in, in preparing one such dish. Which also basically means that I am aware of the tempting aroma of our food. Which in reality might not be as tempting for that guy standing next to you in the library or the other woman at the school bus stop or any one else. Be aware of the smell that lives in our clothes. I know there is nothing much one can do about it but at least one can try a change of clothes before stepping out in the middle of frying that onion or perhaps a spray or two of a perfume for the more busy ones.
4- Stop Giving Free Advice
We are responsible for what we do, we are not responsible for what A, B or C is doing/does. And by ‘we’ I meant the people who live in the same household as mine, and that too the little people, not adults. Yes our values from back home, do give us the right to perhaps talk or guide even the adults in some cases, still we can not impose our likes and dislikes on anyone. Free advise comes naturally and effortlessly for us but remember we are in Canada now so try to control.
5- Stop Saying Bad Things About Pakistan
Oh God someone stop me please.
Okay I get it. Perhaps you worked very hard and did not visit any place in Pakistan except for Hyderabad where you lived and applied for immigration and landed in Canada. Or perhaps you got lucky and got married to a Canadian-Pakistani. Whatever the reason, now you are a Canadian, in Canada with a blue passport on the way or in your drawer. That does not in any way gives you the liberty to badmouth the land which actually provided you the opportunity to start in the first place. No other people, no Indians, Sri Lankans, Morrocans, Nigerians, Syrians, Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Dutch, Polish, English or any other ones ever say bad things about their own countries, not even the ones who fled from war zones.
I personally know people, which is usually a seven out of ten people, who perhaps have only seen Toronto after Karachi or Lahore and yet they have the audacity to tell me how corrupt Pakistanis are or how unsafe Lahore is or how dirty Karachi is. While they have lived their entire filthy lives in some unnamed neighbourhoods in Pakistan, but since now they are all ‘Goras’ so they can point out the garbage. I just have one thing to say that my Ammi used to say “Jo apni maa ka nahi, wuh kisi ka nahi” (One who does not love his mother, can not love any one else)
6- And Stop Saying Bad Things About Canada
No one forced you to migrate to Canada. You came out of your own free will. You have a world class lifestyle here that is hard to match even if you live a simple life. Air conditioning, heating, clean water, health care and education are provided to you as necessities and not luxuries, and that too of high standard. Yes you pay taxes, but trust me that one trip to the hospital in case of an emergency covers all those taxes. Yes you might not have a maid here and yes I also miss Pakistan but learn to be grateful for all the freedom, independence and respect Canada has given you.
7- Stop Being Judgemental
That girl wearing hijab coming out of the liquor store may not be there to get liquor. That girl with your neighbour’s son might not be his girlfriend but his colleague. Your new friend might not be a slut for hanging out in a club. And even all this that you assumed may be true, what matters more is not what he/she wears or does or goes to, but how he/she treats you and others. So the next time you are in a group of friends or just at the grocery store, try to judge less. You never know whats going on in somebody’s life. Also teach your kids the same. We live in a multicultural society and you and the children should be mentally and psychologically prepared to see very many different types of people who are just as normal as you and I.
8- Stop Littering
If you attended any school in Pakistan at all, you must have been taught “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. I wonder if we only kept it to text books. The Pakistani Consulate in Toronto is an example of what I mean. Why are we so so so dirty? Why can’t we at least keep our surroundings clean? Why can we not clean after ourselves in malls, parks, grocery stores? We live here, our children do and yet we never miss a single chance to mess things up, be it paper, kleenex, wipes, diapers or paan spits or even throwing garbage “in” the Niagara Falls (Personal accounts of friends)… SMH!