Pakcord

#58 – a Muslim-Hindu Marriage Story

Meet Hina Husain, 32 year old living in Canada, here to tell us her life story, especially a major part of her life that involves marriage. Hina had a very nontraditional marriage, because she did not get married to a Pakistani man, or a Muslim man, as most Pakistani girls do. She married an Indian Hindu man, named Sai, who she met nearly 10 years ago. In the rest of this episode Hina tells us the story of how she met Sai, how they began dating and the relationship progressed, how her family reacted to her decisions, what it’s like to be in an inter-faith marriage and many other side topics along the way.

Disclaimer: This episode contains strong adult themes compared to the majority of our episodes, as well as strong language / swearing which has not been censored in order to preserve the story. Some of the content may be offensive from an Islamic or religious standpoint. Our intent by airing this episode is not to support or promote any actions taken by the characters in the story, though we do recognize their rights to make those choices safely, but to continue our goal of sharing as many Pakistani voices and stories from around the world as possible. Real voices, real stories.

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#57 – Dana Wang on Pakistan

We speak to someone not actually from Pakistan. She’s not of Pakistani descent either, yet she has built a connection to the country. Our guest is Dana Wang. Dana is a travel enthusiast, photographer, and food addict from Australia. She also studied Law and recently graduated and got her first full-time job in Sydney. She’s visited Pakistan twice and made several friends there. A lot of her posts and stories on Instagram are related to her experiences in Pakistan. We get to know Dana a little more as a person. We ask her questions including: how she got into traveling, what lead her to Pakistan, what was her favorite city in Pakistan, her favorite food, does she prefer tea or coffee, how much Urdu has she picked up so far, how does she budget for her travels, etc.

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#56 – The Foodie!

Meet Arifah, 22 year old from England. She’s here to talk to us about various things, but mostly about her most passionate subject: Food. She even wrote her dissertation on food!

Arifah was born in England, moved to Saudi Arabia at a young age, then Italy, and then back to England. Although she’s never lived in Pakistan, she says she has a ‘very desi family’, and is very well connected with her desi roots. Tune into this awesome, fun conversation and discover a wonderful person!

Quotes

"My mom brought us up Muslim separate from Pakistani culture. She taught us the things she loves of Islam and it was really empowering. She said, [with this knowledge] we would not feel the peer pressure of drinking when growing up. I found Islam empowering in those ways.⁣ ⁣ If people ever asked me, 'oh, you don't drink?' I would say, 'I never have and never will.' I've never been curious, and will never do it. And they have so many questions, it's funny! I find it sad that when I ask most people, 'why do you drink?' they often can't give an answer. The most they'll say is, 'I like to relax / it's a social thing' and I can say, well, I can socialize and relax without drinking. ⁣ ⁣ I grew up in Italy - there weren't many Pakistanis or Muslims. I've always grown up around goray, and all my friends have always been non-Muslim. A lot of my friends were people who didn't want to be drinking at such a young age, actually, and going to parties and stuff. And my friends would use me as an excuse, as empowering them to get out of peer pressure. So if someone asked them to go to a party, they'd say 'Oh no, Arifa can't go, so I won't go.'⁣ ⁣ In school, we'd see American movies and TV shows showing these crazy things happening when kids partied, and I think there was pressure to create these memories as teenagers. So the kids would have these parties, but they would be really lame in England, not the same as America. They felt the need to come up with these stories, and say like things like, 'George got so drunk or whatever and did this...' And I started noticing - it didn't seem like anyone really had that much fun. I'd rather just sit at home and eat good food. Or invite my friends around for a sleep over."

"I never cooked for me alone. Every single meal I cooked at Uni, I cooked for another person. I don't think there was ever a time I cooked just for myself - maybe breakfast when I had oats, but even that I would make for my flatmates.⁣ ⁣ "I think I just had that desire to show other people Pakistani culture, growing up in a western country... and i think food is a really easy way to share that, without it being political or heavy. This street food kabab is not my culture, it's not just your drunken takeout, it's actually this - a home made kabab, taste it. And everyone loves it. And I must have fed easily 200 people at Uni. It's just so nice.⁣ ⁣ I think it was more for me, because I grew up eating every single meal with my family. It was only us five in every country, and we would have every meal that we could, together everyday. And I needed that when I went out - my sister got married, my brother left, and I was at Uni, so I did it more for me. I had people around, we ate together, and it was so nice - we didn't need anything to tlak about, I'd just be like, "Here's food!" And the topics really come out of food, when you share food with someone - random topics and stories come out. It's so fun."

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#55 – Can you count in Urdu?

We speak to a number of Pakistani youngsters from Islamabad, Karachi, U.K., and U.A.E. to ask them : can you count to 100, in Urdu? Turns out, it’s not so easy, and as we collectively become more efficient with English, it seems we are losing the edge on our native tongues (Urdu, Punjabi, etc.) overall.

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#54 – Lockdown Madness!

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns across the world, we wanted to catch up with our Pakistani community on Discord and ask them how they’re doing. As you might have heard from previous episodes, we run a discord server which is basically a modern online chatroom service, that allows both text and voice chats. We speak to several people from various places, including UK, Canada, Dubai, Pakistan, and combined their thoughts to create this episode. We ask them questions about their work/school/sleep schedules, how their communities are responding, and what they’re doing to pass the time.

Want to join our discord server? Get your invite links here !

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#53 – Zamana

Guest: Aisha Khan, 19 year old from Toronto, Canada

Aisha is here to talk to us about poetry, among other things. Aisha is a published writer and last year she released a book called Zamana, under her pen name Anaa Gulzar. We talk to her about her inspiration, why poetry is important, what are the habits for creativity, is rap real music, and a dissection of one of her poems.

You can find her book Zamana via Amazon.

Follow Aisha on Instagram:

Here’s the synopsis of the book , on the back cover:

“Zamana is a collection of poetry about time and the world. It is a realization of self told through the prism of time, revealing the multiple facets of existence, love, and culture. It embraces south aisan language and identity through its creative and clever use of Urdu and English.

The words await and nothing is more patient than the world’s clock always ticking forward in the same way.”

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#52 – PSL 2020 Breakdown

Guests: Sarah Malik from U.S., Hamza Qureshi from U.K., Hassan Raza from U.K., and Hamza Farooq from U.S. All big Cricket fans!

This group discussion features 4 guests, with the topic being Cricket, especially with a focus on PSL 2020 which was suspended on March 17, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We discuss the progression of PSL, the T20 cricket format, the status of the Pakistani international cricket team and memorable moments of victory and disappointment from the eyes of hardcore Pakistani cricket fans.

At the time PSL was suspended, the order of teams by points looked like this:

Multan Sultans, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators, and Islamabad United.

The first semi final would be Multan Sultans vs Peshawar Zalmi, and the second semi final would be between Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars. Let’s hope that the matches can be resumed sometime in 2020!

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#51 – Desibility

Our guest is 24 year old Adil Ghani from London, UK. Adil is the older brother of our previous guest, Aqil Ghani. He is also disabled, and in this episode he walks us through his life story – being diagnosed with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy at age 3, not being able to walk since age 9, and going through other very difficult transitions in his life.

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PSA – Coronavirus

There is no shortage of information on the internet about COVID-19; in fact, it’s tough to avoid. Let’s talk about the Coronavirus from our angle, as a Pakistani community, and let’s talk mostly in Urdu. No guests in this episode, just Habib and you.

  • Status update from Habib and his life dealing with the Coronavirus situation in the U.S.
  • Should you be worried about this virus, and how much?
  • Are the measures being taken by the government effective?
  • Is this virus a ‘punishment’ from God to Chinese people – and other racist sentiments.
  • Is it safe to eat wild animals? Where did the virus come from?
  • What about the Pakistani students stuck in China at this time.

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#50 – I was a Coconut

“Coconut”: brown from the outside, white from the inside. Often used to describe desis living abroad who are not as near to or aware of desi culture, as they are to their local culture.

Today’s guest: Aqil Ghani, 18 years old British-Pakistani brought up in South-east London. 

Many of you might be wondering what is life like for youngsters who are born and raised abroad, have Pakistani parents, but are not surrounded by a Pakistani community. Aqil gives us some insight into that. He was born in England, grew up in Beckenham, which as he describes is ‘the whitest town in the whitest borough of London’. He had no Pakistani peers in most of his school life. Naturally, that situation for Aqil and many others can bring about an identity crisis. Aqil described, “I used to dislike being Pakistani but as I’ve learnt more about our history and culture, I think I’ve finally begun to accept who I am”.

During the first 30 minutes of this podcast, Aqil shares his life with us, with several personal stories thrown in. After that, Aqil shares with us some information about his older brother, Adil, who is physically disabled.

In our next episode, in fact, we will speak to Adil directly himself, to get his first-hand account of his life and disability.

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