If you just read the title and did a double-take it’s okay, I did too when I was asked this question. You see, a Culture is a beautifully confusing thing, traditions are fascinating and I think it would be kickass if we learned to embrace each others’ uniqueness and it is totally acceptable to ask some seriously hilariously WTF questions when you are learning about new cultures and traditions. I am from Pakistan so you can expect that at some point people thought I was from the Middle East (*coughs white people*) but also wondered if I was Indian, which was really my american friends who were terrible at geography and some other people who were well…just terrible.
Here are my favorite questions that I and my friends were asked. Prepare for some WTFs and please this doesn’t mean some won’t be legit
Does your dad wear a turban?
Yes and he also camps in the deserts with his pals alongside a huge winefall watching half-naked ladies bellydancing
You must know how to dance like Bollywood right?
Since we are born with a special bollywood gene chromosome that automatically gives others the right to assume we can “dance like Bollywood”. Sometimes we can also dance like Hollywood, can you?
Do your fathers and other men in your family choose your husbands for you?
Oh my dear Mr Anthony. This was asked by a very dear friend, Anthony who wanted to make sure my father won’t shoot him if he ever planned to marry me and asked my father
How can you speak English so well?
Umm dunno 200 years of colonial overlords, internet and an education probably. Surprise surprise
Do you people use camels or cars to travel?
Where in the Middle East is Pakistan located?
Smart question and the answer is, in South Asia, Middle East
You are from Pakistan? Where is your face veil?
One of the first things said to me in a first meet-up with a hiring manager. The meet-up went well
Why in the 21st century do you still go for arranged marriages, it is really like your parents choosing who you sleep with for the rest of your life?
So we can easily throw the blame on our parents for once in our lives. Why in the 21st century do you still not respect our choice
So you guys dont have sex before marriage? oh what if you find out there’s really no steam in the engine?
Well this is a good question but look sometimes you really don’t have any option of choosing your ride. Ahem
Can you cook me some Barayani?
First, it’s *Biryani* (a rice dish) and second, you should have stopped at can you cook…see just because I’m a south asian I would already know from the womb how to cook?
What kind of Asian are you?
Is this another way of asking that gloriously vague question “Tell me about yourself” or you’re really asking what KIND of Asian am I in which case I’m a happy asian. Is that all?
What language do you speak? Hindu or Pakistani?
I speak Muslim, but I can also speak Hindu, Christian, Jew and even atheist #LoveDiversity and for the 10000th time, Hindu is NOT a language
Why do you have such a funny accent?
Why don’t you pay my bills?
Do you know you people are so exotic-looking?!
Thank you very much. Some birds and animals are also “exotic-looking”, what’s your point?
Is Pakistan’s curry the same as India’s?
Yes and No and this particular question needs a whole new blog post to answer
Why don’t you guys stop living with your parents? Isnt it weird?
Not at all. You see a day comes when the roles are changed, our parents who once fed us and cared for us need the same from us so in our culture it is our duty to not leave them and care for them the same way
Does your dad have a muslim beard?
Oh he probably didn’t know beard styles had religions too. I guess he is a fan of the atheist beard, that is, he doesn’t have a beard
Who raised you? you are different, you don’t really act like other muslims
I was raised by people who taught me not to generalize and put a label on everybody else based on the beliefs of certain groups. If you saw me different then there are probably millions of other “different” muslims
I heard your men are allowed to have multiple wives, whoa cool, so can I like call it halal orgy?
I…I don’t even know what to say….that’s….so wrong….that’s not….goodbye