Episodes

#42 – “PAGAL”: Desis and Depression

We Pakistanis do not discuss depression enough!

Today we shed more light on a highly important and underrated topic in the desi community: depression and mental illness. Our guest: 32 year old Israa Nasir from New York City. Israa has worked directly with patients in a mental health clinic, and now works within health tech to make an impact in the world of healthcare.

Many folks mistakenly translate “mental illness” to “pagal” in Urdu (hence the title of the episode). We often do not have appropriate words for various concepts, and that is one reason why the topic as a whole is gravely misunderstood in our community.⁣

Why does the desi community dodge this discussion?

In Israa’s experience, there have been three common reasons for avoiding getting help for mental health:

  1. Hospitalization Stigma: “If I have depression, and need medication, I will end up in the hospital, or you will throw me in the crazy hospital.”
  2. Shaming through Religion: “You’re ungrateful to God – your imaan / faith is not strong enough hence you are depressed.”
  3. Secrecy: Brown culture is a very secretive culture – we are taught to maintain and hide ‘family secrets’ or even our own personal problems from others. This often prevents people from visiting counselors.
"It's also because you can't see it (mental illness) - it hasn't been part of our cultural consciousness for too long - it's very new. People still confuse mental illness and jinns. So it's a fairly new concept for many people. I think our depiction of it is also very intense and exaggerated. So if you watch dramas, like the most famous drama in recent times was Humsafar ... the mother in law becomes mentally ill, but the depiction they show of her is this... this WILD woman, you know? And mental illness doesn't look like that. Everyday mental illness looks like deep sadness, social anxiety, and feeling unworthy of love. Of course the psychotic disorders exist, but the depiction of mental health is always as if this person is copmletely out of their mind. So people are afraid, they don't want to be associated with it, they don't want to take medication that indicates they have it - they just want to hide it."
- Israa Nasir
Health Professional

Timeline of Discussion:

  • 0:49 – Introduction
  • 7:43 – Israa discusses her mental health background
  • 10:39 – Israa talks about the mental health clinic where she worked, and adds a desi context.
  • 17:04 – Israa discusses some common barriers or reasons why there is reluctance in the desi community to seek help for mental illnesses.
  • 19:46 – Does ‘imaan’ or faith have to do with mental illness? 24:42 – Common desi misconceptions of mental illness
  • 33:50 – How does speaking to a counselor actually help with mental illness?
  • 36:52 – Israa’s final note about depression & mental illness and what to do if you or your family member may be affected

Tune in with any of the apps below!

#41 – Sea View in Miami

24 year old Hamza Farooq from Miami is our guest today. Born and raised in the U.S., Hamza brings us a purely Pakistani American perspective.

Timestamps of Conversation
1:28 – Introduction
2:00 – Hamza discusses his time going to a Catholic high school
6:18 – Growing up in Miami, and the Pakistani demographics of the U.S.
10:03 – Hurricanes and weather related disasters in the U.S.
18:44 – Hamza’s connection to Pakistan
25:20 – Hamza shares the importance of knowing Urdu even when being born and raised abroad
28:00 – Issues with Pakistani American crowds in the U.S.
37:21 – Impact of 9/11 and gun violence

Listen:

#40 – Away from Home

Our guest for this episode is 22 year old Hassan Raza from England, U.K. (previously lived in Wales) Hassan moved to UK at the young age of 13. He passionately talks about his Pakistani background and adjusting to life in the UK while maintaining his love for the Motherland.

Timestamps of Conversation:
2:40 – Intro & adjusting to life in the U.K.
17:35 – Would you move back to Pakistan?
25:00 – Political Talk, why do people simply follow their parents when voting?
31:13 – Racism in the UK / US, and how racist are we?

#39 – Jinn Bhoot Stories Again!

Our goal with this is simple: to scare the poop out of you and out of ourselves. And laugh while we poop. Mostly just laugh!

Guests: Muskaan (Night Owls), Noshirwaan from Lahore

Topic: Jinns, Bhoots, Churails, Possessions, Pichal peris, you name it.

Time Recorded: 1 AM in Pakistan.

Reference:

The Chilling Exorcism of Anneliese Michel” on YouTube by Buzzfeed Multiplayer.

Nausherwan’s Doll Pic:

#38 – Bhang aur Hum

Let’s talk Cannabis with Sabina, our special guest from Michigan, U.S. Sabina works extensively to promote and market Cannabis based products, and teach their value and benefits to the community. Follow Sabina on Instagram at @drcannabina! .

Resources shared by Sabina for your research:

Instagram:

Sites:

#37 – Life in Paris

Welcome back! What is life like for Pakistanis in Paris? In his case, 23 year old Saad was born and raised there. Saad gives us his perspective and insight into French culture, especially valuable for Pakistanis and non-French westerners.

Since Paris does not have an extremely large Pakistani community similar to London, Saad is open to use this podcast as a way to meet others! If you are Pakistani living in Paris, contact us via email (hello@pakcord.com) or Instagram and we can definitely connect you with Saad!

#36 – Independence Day Trivia

In honor of August 14, 2019, we celebrate by bringing 6 guests on-board and playing Trivia! The questions are all about Pakistan and Pakistani culture.

New Guests

  • Awais – Karachi
  • Patch – Lahore
  • Ainy – Peshawar

Returning Guests

  • Hamza – U.K.
  • Marium – Karachi
  • Uswah – Lahore

#35 – Desi and I Know It

This episode’s special guest is 23-year old Faras Aamir (AKA Farosty) from Maryland USA, one of the founders of the popular Youtube entertainment channel – RwnlPwnl – which brought us awesome, hilarious parody songs like “Desi and I know it”, “Pissed Off”, “Have Some Gosht” and many others.

Faras’s other endeavors are a podcast called Strange Flavors which he runs with his friends/colleagues, and his own media brand called Alif Theory.

Check out RwnlPwnl: https://www.youtube.com/user/RwnlPwnl/
Strange Flavors Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/strangeflavors
Alif Theory: http://aliftheory.com/

In this episode, Faras talks about how his journey into the creative world started, his day to day life, and his perspectives on living in the U.S. as a Pakistani American, and much more. Credit to RwnlPwnl for these songs featured in this episode: “Desi and I know it” (Parody of Sexy and I know it) “Have Some Gosht” (Parody of Old Town Road) “Pissed Off” (Parody of Mask Off)

#34 – Burgers, Pizza, and Cricket

So Pakistan did not qualify for the Semi-Finals in 2019’s Cricket world Cup. What do they need to do next? We invite 4 cricket fanatics to this episode to discuss their thoughts and impressions on the Pakistani cricket team and the landscape of international cricket.

Guests:

  • Minahil – 22 from Islamabad
  • Hamza – 24 from U.K.
  • Hassan – 25 from U.A.E.
  • ‘Baraf’ – 21 from Karachi

#33 – The Case Against Rishta Aunties

Almost every single desi person will relate to the horrifying rishta process. I’ve been there myself. Getting asked by your parents and aunties about your plans to get married even when you’re still in school or perhaps just got your first job. This is especially troubling for desi girls as they often start getting proposals from a very young age, when they’re not ready for it.

Today we bring on 25 year old Zohra from California U.S. to talk about her encounters with various aunties, starting from when she was 15 years old all the way to now. Zohra was born and raised in the U.S. but has family in Pakistan and is well aware of the culture . Along with her expereinces she also shares her opinions on marriage and why she prefers to wait.