A foreigner’s love for Pakistan

The first aspect of Pakistani culture I fell in love with was the food. There is nothing in this world that can come close to the comfort provided by haleem, nihari and a warm, buttery piece of naan. The spices and herbs used in Pakistani food are unique, authentic and jump-start the day refelecting Pakistan’s vibrant culture. Not to mention all sinuses are completely cleared when those green chillies hit the back of the throat.  You know what takes the cake? After hours of gruelling work I finally made my own batch of haleem and it was delicious. Moving onto the people; warm, hospitable, welcoming and dramatic in every sense. Pakistani aunties and uncles will make sure us young lads are fed, pampered and shown off like none other.
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by Gordan Sumanski

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My exposure to Pakistan was limited. I classified it as one of those countries that was created on religious concepts, was racist toward the rest of the world and wanted the Americans dead.

Call me ignorant, but with the way Pakistan is portrayed in the media, as a foreigner it is hard not to be deterred.

Then, by sheer luck and forged destiny, I met a Pakistani woman and fell truly, madly and deeply in love with her.

There was beauty resonating from deep within her and it came out in her dark, soulful eyes.

Little did I know, that in less than a few weeks, my entire life would change because I was not only falling in love with a person but I was embracing a culture, a lifestyle and above all I was going to embrace a country deemed one of the most dangerous in the world.

The first aspect of Pakistani culture I fell in love with was the food. There is nothing in this world that can come close to the comfort provided by haleem, nihari and a warm, buttery piece of naan.

The spices and herbs used in Pakistani food are unique, authentic and jump-start the day reflecting Pakistan’s vibrant culture. Not to mention all sinuses are completely cleared when those green chillies hit the back of the throat.

You know what takes the cake?

After hours of gruelling work I finally made my own batch of haleem and it was delicious.

Moving onto the people; warm, hospitable, welcoming and dramatic in every sense. Pakistani aunties and uncles will make sure us young lads are fed, pampered and shown off like none other.

Some of my best memories from last year are being fed huge amounts of biryani on Eid, dancing with a friend’s family at his dholki and always being the centre of attention.

I was told I did the bhangrha better than Pakistanis themselves. I feel like I belong, without even having to try.

Everything is said and done dramatically adding pizazz and flamboyance to language, clothing, conversation and events. Every “Ufffff” is elongated to maximise expression and every “hai Allah” is comical.

My personal favourite is “bussssssssssssss,” with a sizzling hiss at the end to fully convey the dramatic tone being used.

My future mother-in-law sent me a beautiful, blue kurta from Pakistan to wear at a wedding. PHOTO: GORDAN SUMANSKI

My future mother-in-law sent me a beautiful, blue kurta from Pakistan to wear at a wedding.

Loose and airy around the body, I feel like I am allowed to breathe and walk freely in it. It also has a regal feel, with stunning embroidery work, long, formal sleeves and truly reflects the comfort present in Pakistani culture. It is easier to sit on the ground, cross-legged in a shalwar kurta and personalise the experience of eating with hands, chattering with guests, shoulder to shoulder, enjoying the feeling of being communal and united. I also find digesting food a lot easier after having eaten while seated on the ground.

What shocked me most about Pakistan’s people were its women.

I was always under the impression that most Pakistani women succumb to marriages arranged by their parents, come out to Canada to get away from extremely conservative and patriarchal settings while the ones left behind live under a staunch code of dressing without the ability to truly enjoy themselves and the world they are living in.

On the flip side, I have come across intelligent, smart, ambitious, and sagacious, not to mention confident and beautiful women who believe in themselves and have utmost faith in their country despite all the crime that is committed against women there.

Pakistani women are entering all kinds of fields may it be journalism, politics or filmmaking.

They are curious and eager to bring a change into their country through education and reform. It is inspiring to meet and be in the company of these visionaries, my future wife included, who is charitable and generous toward her community in the most humbling of ways.

What I have learnt from this experience is that judgement cannot be passed on a country, religion, culture or group of people through biased exposure to news reports or because of the actions of a select few.

To attain the bigger picture you have to immerse yourself into their culture, like I have, and then form conclusions.

As far as I am concerned, I have no doubt that when I do visit Pakistan, which will be soon, I will go with an open mind sans fear.

I know I will be welcomed in the most hospitable fashion and I cannot wait to see the beautiful country with my own eyes rather than through documentaries, films, photographs and literature.

Follow Gordan on Twitter @GordanSumanski

A marketing analyst, international volunteer born in Serbia and currently living and working in Canada. He tweets @GordanSumanski

The source of Text, images and graphics etc. all are courtesy the Express Tribune Blogs

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. As an Indian v luv people of Pakistan coz they r our blood brothers.

  2. How do you meet with your life partner?

  3. Lo and behold …totalitarians come and own it all as usual ….btw..can you guys give us our name back afterall it was Herodotus who is credited with naming it after river Indus this the nomenclature Hind and/or Hindustan …we hereby give you your inheritence of Bharat ….thank you …as far as Sumanski goes ….thank you for highlighting the most hated religious national group in the world ….Pakistanis . What does not kill us ( I could count many factors including drones and taqfiris) only makes us stronger.

    • *@ Ahmad Imran, Thanx for visiting our WordPress free blog site.*

      *Since we were continuously getting complaints from our readers on the sluggish speed of the free site while reading contents there, therefore, we moved over to our independent domain/site. The URL is:-*

      *http://wondersofpakistan.com/ *

      *So all new posts are now being uploaded on this domain and no more on WordPrss free space.*

      *You are welcome to our brand new site with all the added attractions plus some new additions. I hope you will like it more as we feel its much more user-friendly than our previous format, which anyway being a free space had certain limitations on us.*

      *And now to your comment:*

      *Herodotus gave the Indus valley civilization, the area thats mostly the present Pakistan, the name of Indus after the river along the habitation that developed around it but it was more a nomenclature after the river and its inhabitants than for its religion. *

      *And your thesis is not valid at all that if Pakistans ancient name was India given to it by the Greek it should continue to be named as such. After all, the country like England has turned into Great Britain and also the United Kingdom. The country you are living now i.e. the United States is also as much a synthetic name as that of Pakistan. So dear Ahmad Imran, your theory of renaming Pakistan as India (the Indus called India by British seems frivolous and going against the facts of history).*

      *I do agree with you that the drones and Takfiris are making us stronger than ever before. *

      *Nayyar*

      http://wondersofpakistan.com/


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